Locally-produced food is often cheaper than produce sold in supermarkets, according to research carried out by Farmers Weekly.

In a shopping basket of nine items, six food items were more expensive in Tesco supermarket than farm shops.

Farmers Weekly bought meat and vegetables from farm shops in Essex and carried out a price check against Tesco this week (5 November).

On products including dry cure bacon, leeks and potatoes, Tesco was more expensive.

The biggest cost difference was topside beef, which was almost £10 cheaper in farm shops compared with Tesco.

Only broccoli, carrots and savoy cabbage were cheaper at the retailer.

At a time when consumers are being hit by the credit crunch and are looking at how to reduce their bills, the results should give farmers ammunition to encourage people to “buy local”.

Anthony Davison, founder of Bigbarn.co.uk, an online gateway to 7100 farm shops, said the agricultural industry needed to tell consumers that local food was often cheaper.

Farm retailers should also make it easier for the public to buy local food, Mr Davison told Farmers Weekly.

“It’s all down to persuading people they are getting a better deal and a better product,” he said.

“We have got so used to supermarkets saying they are cheaper, that we believe them.

“It’s actually a load of crap.”

How shopping baskets compare

Local broccoli

Farm shop £2.75

Tesco £1.69

Potatoes (Desiree)

Farm shop £0.55

Tesco £0.79

Onions

Farm shop £0.77

Tesco £0.88

Carrots

Farm shop £0.99

Tesco £0.78

Savoy cabbage

Farm shop £1.10

Tesco £0.76

Leeks

Farm shop £2.09

Tesco £2.48

Topside beef

Farm shop £15.00

Tesco £24.80

Finest leg of lamb

Farm shop £7.50

Tesco £8.48

Dry cure bacon

Farm shop £10.00

Tesco £12.42

To read more about local food and how the credit crunch is affecting sales, read our special report

“We must dispel the pricey shop grub myth”. Read FW editor Jane King’s blog