Member News

Suffolk Beats the Nation in Supporting Local Producers

Suffolk Beats the Nation in Supporting Local Producers

The latest figures from YouGov show that Suffolk is better than Britain as a whole when it comes to supporting local producers, with an impressive 36% of respondents saying they had bought local produce in the last week. This compares to a national figure of only 25%, Norfolk came top in the region with 42%, followed by Essex at 28%.

The research, commissioned by the East of England Co-op, shows that whilst only 52% of Brits think it is important that they buy locally sourced produce* (down from 66% in 2015) a fantastic 59% of Suffolk respondents think it is important.

However, there is still much to do; only 29% of those in Suffolk would expect to buy local produce in a convenience store. The East of England Co-op is keen to highlight that it is a strong supporter of local producers, with over 2,000 locally sourced products available in their stores and a whopping £11 million having been ploughed back into the local economy last year.

To encourage more shoppers to buy local produce the East of England Co-op is running Sourced Locally Fortnight (30 May – 12 June 2016). The initiative highlights the benefits of buying local produce: bringing additional money into the local economy, creating and safe guarding local jobs, whilst reducing food miles and providing fresh and tasty produce from local farmers and suppliers.

Other figures from the research show that:

  • Eggs (67%), strawberries (64%) and potatoes (62%) top the list of products Suffolk respondents would be most likely to buy if a locally sourced alternative was available.
  • In Suffolk 9% stated that family influenced their opinion on whether it is important for Brits to buy locally sourced produce, compared to a national figure of 15% and 25% in Norfolk.
  • 38% of people in Suffolk would be most likely to buy asparagus if a locally sourced alternative was available and 51% tomatoes.

Roger Grosvenor, Joint Chief Executive at East of England Co-op, comments: “During Sourced Locally Fortnight we want to shine a spotlight on local farmers and producers across Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk, to encourage more shoppers to consciously buy local produce. A host of activities are planned to showcase the quality, provenance and great value of produce from East Anglia and we’d like to encourage everyone to #KeepItLocal.”

Alaistaire and Fiona Brice, owners of the Havensfield Eggs, Hoxne in Suffolk, are firm believers that ‘delicious eggs come from happy hens’. The rate at which their company’s free range eggs have grown in demand in East of England Co-op stores is proof enough that they are producing great local products people love.

Fiona comments: “We make it easy for our hens to follow their natural instincts and to jump, run and fly around to their hearts’ content. They have access to feed and water at all times with pop holes through to fields in which they range by day. We also let them listen to the radio! We keep it on all the time so there is always some background noise. This minimises any stress when we clean them out, feed them, or if there are any loud noises.”

For further details please visit

Article by Wherstead Park

The East of England Co-op is the largest independent retailer in East Anglia. It has over 200 branches across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. It runs a wide range of businesses, including food retail, funeral, travel, pharmacy, post offices, opticians and investment property.

The East of England Co-op has been serving communities since 1846, and is completely independent of the Co-operative Group. It is owned by over 200,000 members who shared a dividend of over £3 million in 2014.

Each year, the East of England Co-op invests at least £250,000 from its profits to support communities across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. In past years it has provided over £250,000 to support healthcare projects. It also makes £80,000 a year available to smaller community projects - its members can vote on which projects to support when they shop.

The East of England Co-op is also a leader in the retail of locally sourced food. In 2014 sales from its ‘Sourced Locally’ range reached £14.6 million. Its work with over 140 local producers has helped to generate over £34million for the regional economy since 2007.

For more information please see