Consumers Buying British As Supermarkets Take On More Local Suppliers

A significant number of UK consumers now believe that the food and drink they buy should reflect their heritage and be produced locally

Consumers Buying British As Supermarkets Take On More Local Suppliers

Small businesses who produce authentic British goods are seeing as surge in popularity as consumers are becoming more conscious of supporting local suppliers.

According to the Buying British in 2017 report from GS1 UK, which surveyed its 31,000 members, the proportion of businesses with turnover of £500,000 or less rose from 58% to 78% in 2016, suggesting consumers are turning towards smaller businesses.

When broken down by sector, the apparel industry reported the strongest growth with 21% of these fast-growing businesses coming from this industry, as British consumers become more socially-conscious about foreign sweatshops.

Food and groceries was the second highest preforming sector, accounting for 12% of new GS1 members and 20% of its UK total.

As sales of local craft beer continues to grow, this is reflected by a surge in the number of breweries per capita, with this figure now standing at 1,700 – compared to 140 in 1970. The number of gin distilleries has also grown – doubling over the last six years to hit sales of £1bn.

When asked about where and how they sell their products, 71% of respondents said they sell through their own websites, followed by online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay (67%), wholesale distribution channels (35%) and other retail stores (26%).

When it comes to being stocked by big supermarket chains, Tesco (market share 28.1%) gave the most opportunities to new GS1 joiners over the last five years (33%), while Waitrose – with only 5.3% of the market share – was responsible for the second highest proportion of opportunities at 18%

Gary Lynch, CEO at GS1 UK said

“Buying British is back in vogue. And it’s the smaller companies that are driving this trend. Brits love an underdog story and this affinity to the unlikely hero isn’t limited to the sporting arena, with shoppers being just as likely to back the small guy at the checkout. GS1 data shows consumers are becoming more domestically focussed when it comes to their spending habits.

“Heritage, provenance and traceability are no longer nice-to-haves but increasingly important factors that can make the difference between where consumers choose to spend their money. While there will always be some products and services we’re happy to go to major multinationals for, supporting the local start-up is back on the agenda.”

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