The Mystery Shopper's Question: "How much fresher is fresh produce when brought locally rather than imported?”
For answers, the Mystery Shopper first visited the retailer's website and, then, posed the question to local produce department personnel. Here are the Mystery Shopper's notes....
What the website says: Sourced Locally
When we say local, we mean local. We started our Sourced Locally initiative back in 2007, and couldn't be happier with its success. We started out simply selling locally grown asparagus, and now stock well over 2,400 different products from 140 suppliers across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex: everything from beer, bread and bacon to honey, haddock and heat logs.
Our customers are also increasingly buying local, with a 31% increase in Sourced Locally sales and a £12m turnover in the last financial year. This means that since the scheme launched, we’ve ploughed more than £25 million back into the regional economy and supported the creation of around 400 new jobs in the region. Our producers - We really care about our producers and suppliers. We work with them directly to make sure they are treated as equal partners, and that their businesses have a sustainable future.
How Sheffield in-store staff responded: From my experience and from all the stock we carry, local produce is generally fresher than imported, but that's my view.