LOCAL AND regional foods have a growing place on the nation‘s shopping lists, according to new research from IGD, the food and grocery think tank.

Unveiling the findings, chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch urged retailers to make greater efforts to meet demand for local food.

“70% of people in Britain want to buy local and regional food, and 49% – every second person – want to buy more than they do now.

“These needs are currently unmet, but there are significant opportunities to fill the gap.

“There is a huge opportunity for growth but suppliers and retailers need to work together if the sector is to reach its full potential.”

At the top of the list of local produce is vegetables and fruit, purchased by 61% and 45% respectively, IGD found.

Other products such as eggs, bread, milk, red meat, poultry, cakes and jams, honey and preserves also popular consumer choices. 

But the IGD says that potential demand is highest for cooked meats, cheese, chutneys and pickles, cooking sauces and chilled desserts.

And with community spirit a key driver, Mrs Denney-Finch urged local retailers to make the most of the trend, as well as supermarkets.

“There is clearly a role for specialist outlets, such as butchers, farmers‘ markets and farm shops.

“With only around one in four of local buyers currently using these outlets there is clearly room for further growth.

“These smaller outlets can learn from the supermarkets – if people want to buy local meat from their local butchers then why not make sure there are locally produced accompaniments as well?”