|‘Keep Trade Local’ says the FSB as Wigan faces up to horsemeat scandal
School tests prompt Federation to launch Keep Trade Local campaign for 2013 and call for snapshots of high streets
Following news that meals in some Wigan schools have been tested for horsemeat, the FSB is urging consumers to put their faith in local butchers and other independent retailers.
The FSB is today (Friday, 15 February 2013) launching its Keep Trade Local campaign for 2013 to highlight the important role local high streets play in communities across the UK, emphasising the value of good customer service and quality provided by small shops.
Across the UK, some FSB member butchers shops have reported a dramatic increase in sales following the discovery of horsemeat in food products. Regulations, including the Animal Passport scheme, ensure that butchers know where the meat they are buying comes from and how the animal has been raised. In addition, the Food Standards Agency and environmental health officials can sample products from any butchers shop on demand.
Economically, research indicates that more of the money spent locally stays local. According to New Economics Foundation, £1 spent with a local supplier is worth £1.76 to the area’s economy, and just 36 pence if spent outside the area.
The recession has hit UK high streets hard. Figures from the British Independent Retailers Association show that, in 2011, 12,669 independent businesses closed their doors. Further, the Meat Trades Journal reports that 15,000 butchers have stopped trading since the mid-1980s.
However, many high streets and towns have introduced innovative ways to encourage people to shop locally and to keep their high streets buoyant.
The FSB is encouraging local businesses and shoppers to share pictures of their local high streets through its Twitter, Facebook and Google+ pages. The pictures will be hosted via a tumblr page at fsbhq.tumblr.com
John Allan, Chairman of FSB Merseyside, West Cheshire and Wigan and National Vice Chairman, said: “We have argued time and time again that independent shops provide the best quality and customer service and the horsemeat scandal serves to emphasise the importance of this.
“There are cities, towns and villages across the country that have embraced this idea and they have high streets filled with independent shops to show it. In other areas it is a much different picture. We want to highlight both of these scenarios and encourage people to get in touch with their images.
“Your local butcher, fishmonger and other small shops genuinely care about you and your custom, and reflect this in what they offer and how they behave, sourcing directly from local farmers, processing meat on site and preparing it to customers’ requirements. It is so important that you show you care for them too by supporting them.
“Smaller retailers are still struggling to survive in the face of a range of issues, from parking restrictions hitting footfall to spiralling rent and rates and aggressive competition from supermarkets. The message to consumers is clear: use them or lose them.”