With shopper interest in locally sourced products higher than ever and a with host of valuable benefits for retailers who stock local products, SLR unveils a new campaign urging the country’s local retailers to become Local Heroes.
Consumer interest in locally, regionally and nationally sourced products has arguably never been higher. New research commissioned by the Scottish Food & Drink Awards 2020 and carried out by Edinburgh-based 56 Degree Insight in November found that the majority of shoppers in Scotland (54%) are more likely to choose local products clearly labelled as Scottish and 56% actively seek out products with a clear provenance.
Scotland’s leading convenience retailers and supermarkets have been quick to latch on to this trend with many now employing full time local sourcing teams to unearth fantastic new home-grown products.
Sourcing locally brings a host of benefits to retailers including creating important points of difference from nearby competitors, generating customer loyalty, supporting the local economy and local jobs, and strengthening those vital bonds with the local community.
There are also significant environmental benefits to sourcing locally, not least of which is the significant reduction in ‘food miles’. Indeed, the 56 Degree Insight research found that a huge 57% of shoppers in Scotland choose local products specifically to minimise food miles.
“In recent years there has been much talk about the rising importance of provenance in the food and drink sector with consumers increasingly interested in where the products they consume come from”, says Duncan Stewart, Managing Partner of 56 Degree Insight. “We have identified three major consumer trends have driven the rising interest in provenance:
- Health and wellbeing awareness – consumers are increasingly aware of the impacts of what they eat and drink on their health and seek greater transparency in the ingredients they are consuming.
- Environment and social consciousness – with increased environmental awareness consumers seek products with fewer food miles. Locally sourced produce can also appeal as buying it can support economies and communities.
- Eroding trust in big brands – in a world where ‘fake news’ has eroded our trust in many areas, particularly in relation to big corporations and institutions, consumers are looking for brands that they feel they can trust. A clear and authentic ‘backstory’ on the provenance of products, where they come from, the people involved in the production and the broader values of the brand can build a trusting relationship with customers.”
With authenticity and transparency so important to today’s shoppers, particularly those in the younger generations, this ‘backstory’ is a hugely powerful tool that retailers can leverage to increase footfall, sales and profits.
Whether it’s craft beers or gins, meat from a local butcher or locally sourced bakery products, local retailers can add interest to their fixtures by stocking interesting, unusual, high quality products that can really help drive engagement with shoppers.
“Our survey also highlighted the appeal of products made in Scotland,” says Stewart. “When faced with a direct choice of two identical food items but one with a UK flag and labelled ‘100% British product’ and the other with a Scottish flag and labelled ‘100% Scottish product’, 56% of Scots would choose the product branded ‘Scottish’ whereas only 4% would choose the ‘British’ labelling (the remaining 39% were ambivalent, saying it would ‘make no difference’).”
Stewart believes that this growing demand for clear provenance raises several opportunities for local retailers. Simply communicating the fact that you stock locally sourced products with in-store POS, on social media and in the local press will drive sales. Going further and sharing the backstory of products you sell will also help increase engagement and interest which will convert into more footfall, more sales and more profits.
“Retailers should also look for opportunities to ‘tell the story’ of the brands they stock and their local roots, to really bring the products to life,” advises Stewart.
All of this is why SLR is launching its new Local Heroes campaign to encourage more retailers to seek out local suppliers and work with them.
Yes, it requires more time and effort than simply completing an online order form on your wholesaler’s website, but the rewards can be significant as we will highlight in the coming months.
For this campaign, SLR is also partnering with the new Scottish Retail Food & Drink Awards 2020, which aims to celebrate the very best of food and drink available in all Scottish retail outlets.
The aim of the new Awards is simple: to get more of Scotland’s fantastic food and drink onto more shelves in Scotland.
This is an exceptional opportunity for local retailers, and we would encourage all retailers to embrace it by stocking more Scottish products and making them a focus of your consumer communications.
SLR is proud to be the trade media partner of the Scottish Retail Food & Drink Awards, a unique new celebration of the very best Scottish food and drink available in retail outlets across Scotland. The aim of the Awards is to get more fantastic Scottish food and drink products onto more shelves in Scotland. Visit scottishretailfoodanddrinkawards.com.