Dicksons products

Member Article

Local labels hit supermarket shelves: a column from Elena Dickson at Dicksons

The continued growth in public interest in local foods has brought increasing interest from the big food retailers. According to industry experts at a Chartered Institute of Marketing event, local food is set to move from a niche marketing opportunity to the mainstream of the supermarket shopping basket, which is great news for consumers and for local food producers like us.

Celebrity chefs and other food lovers have helped bring about a huge shift in public interest as to the provenance and quality of the food we eat and as a result our desire to buy local food is growing. Whilst visiting farmers’ markets and farm shops has become a popular pastime for many of us, the reality is that most of us rely upon the supermarkets for our regular shopping, be it down to convenience or budget.

Thankfully the major supermarkets have recognised our desire for locally produced foods and are making more space available on their shelves and in their chilled cabinets for locally produced, quality food products.

Whilst the buy local initiatives certainly support businesses such as ours- we are now stocked in all the major multiples and growth in our wholesale division is even beginning to challenge our retail division in volume– the move makes commercial sense for the supermarkets too. Market analysts forecast that the buy local sector will grow in value by 33% over the next five years, providing a perfect opportunity for the development of a new profitable category in the supermarket portfolio.

We are fortunate to have developed some strong relationships with the local buyers at the key retailers over recent years and continue to increase our product listings with them . Our pies, pastries, cooked meats, bacon, sausages and salad ranges can now be found across most of the multiples. The supermarkets recognise the strength of the Dicksons’ brand and the heritage that it has across the north east and seem as increasingly keen to work with us as we are with them.

This represents something of a shift in perception as we are now working hand in hand with the buying teams , examining our product offering to see how we can adapt it to meet their customers’ needs and how this can work for our business as well as theirs.

Supermarkets need no longer be feared by local food producers, but instead should be seen as potential business partners who can help local businesses to grow.

As a retailer first and foremost, the supermarket was once our enemy but the reality is that consumer buying habits are changing and whilst there is most certainly a place for Dicksons on the high street, indeed we are continuing to open new shops and invest in our existing shop portfolio, some of our product range is increasingly more suited to the supermarket shelves.

The supermarkets’ buy local initiatives could open doors for hundreds of food producers from across the region, which should be good news for everyone; consumers, producers and supermarkets alike.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Elena Dickson .

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