Retailers told to think local

Insight expert highlights the benefits to c-stores of using local suppliers

Anne-Laure Farrar emphasised the value of stocking Scottish produce.
Anne-Laure Farrar emphasised the value of stocking Scottish produce.

SCOTTISH c-store retailers are being advised to focus on local suppliers as the channel is forecast to become increasingly important.

Research from IGD shows that convenience is one of only three channels expected to grow in market share by 2027, along with discount and online.

And insights provider The Knowledge Bank says retailers can enhance the shopper experience and boost profits by stocking Scottish produce.

Anne-Laure Farrar, the organisation’s UK market insight manager, said: “Focusing on local suppliers is a great way for convenience stores to differentiate themselves.

“It has several benefits, including supporting the local economy, reducing food miles and securing fresher products.

“Furthermore, our research shows 89% of shoppers in Scotland want to spend more of their money on food and drink produced in Scotland, looking to packaging and POS signage to identify these.”

Farrar pointed out that both the pandemic and the war in Ukraine had highlighted the UK’s reliance on products from around the world.

She said that fact had led to a trickle-down effect on the entire sector, from packaging and fuel to consumer-ready goods, adding: “Focusing on product lines sourced closer to home ensures a more resilient supply chain.”

The expert also drew attention to the success of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation Go Local initiative across the country.

Farrar said: “It is helping to change attitudes towards what can be bought in these shops while also financially benefiting convenience store owners.”

She acknowledged that space constraints and low profit margins could make it difficult for convenience stores to offer fresh products.

But she said: “To improve shoppers’ perception of convenience, we need to consider out-of-the-box options such as bundles, meals for one or frozen options. The latter also has the advantage of avoiding waste.”