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: Buying local products helps to develop and sustain the communities in which we operate, and is often what our customers demand. We have run initiatives in several markets to boost our offer of local products. For example, this year we ran two regional supplier forum events in Hungary, sourcing and signing up new local suppliers.
Many of our markets have sold local products for some time because imports are more expensive. In Poland, we sell more than 9,700 regional products.
In other markets, there is increasing demand from customers for locally produced and sourced foods. In the UK, customers tell us that buying local foods is important to them for many reasons, including support for the local economy. Local lines are those produced and sold within a county or neighbouring county in England, or within the country in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
We have five dedicated regional buying offices across the UK. This year we increased sales of local products to £1 billion, from £850 million in 2009.
Tesco is the first UK retailer to launch a website dedicated to local foods, at www.tesco.com/local.
How Sheffield in-store staff responded: I think it is all fresh, often it depends on what happens to the produce later and how well it is kept in the store.