Small business’ take on supermarkets with fresh food website

The platform hosts smaller food retailers, from cheesemongers to bakers, which can be searched for by region and food type.

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Independent food producers are taking on supermarkets with a new website that cuts out the middleman and allows people to access local food from anywhere in the UK. Local & Independent hosts smaller food retailers, from cheesemongers to bakers, which can be searched for by region and food type.

The site also provides information about the artisan farmers and foodmakers it promotes, and works like any other grocer, with a digital checkout and delivery operation.

Local & Independent was founded by Craig Allen, who wanted to give shoppers a more “sustainable” and “ethical” alternative to supermarkets, while also empowering local retailers with the chance to reach a wider market.

‘Showcasing provenance’ “Learning about where your food and drink comes from and the passion behind these products is extremely important to consumers,” said Mr Allen.

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“I want our partners to feel that they can use the Local & Independent platform to tell their stories and enable people to fall in love with what they are trying to achieve with their produce – it’s consumers getting the best on offer and at the same time supporting producers to enable them to stay in business and make a profit.”

So far, businesses on the platform include the Cornish Shellfish Co., Lyons Hill Farm in Dorset, Charlie’s Trout, from Wiltshire, and the Sussex-made Silly Moo Cider.

People are buying local more and more (Photo: Local & Independent) Mark Leatham, who with his son James operates Lyons Hill Farm, said to i: “Supermarkets cannot offer consumers the quality of meat that we produce.

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“So it’s not just about an alternative way to shop, but about helping people to deal with food growers directly, and showcasing provenance.”

Smaller businesses have traditionally been unable to compete with bigger chains, which have scale and marketing on their side. Local & Independent, said Mr Allen, will help connect consumers to traders, and increase demand.

Cornish shellfish and Sussex cider Andrew Knowles said people are increasingly getting behind independent grocers.

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He told i: “We sell to people locally and have become a little hub in Sussex, selling beef, lamb from a neighbourhood farm, and our cider.

“The site helps people discover the breadth of produce in Britain and anything that promotes good food is a great thing.”

Charlie Meyrick, who runs Charlie’s Trout on the Longford Estate in the West Country, said to i: “I think people’s buying patterns have changed in the pandemic and in lockdown – it’s one positive to come out of it.

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“People have realised that there’s a whole world of fresh food, and we no longer need to depend so much on supermarkets – there’s an over-reliance on big retail when there’s a plethora of artisan food out there.”

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