New record set as local produce sales top £1m during East of England Co-op’s Sourced Locally Fortnight

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Customers get fully behind region’s producers going the extra mile to support communities during coronavirus crisis.

The East of England Co-op has notched up sales beating a £1million target for its latest Sourced Locally Fortnight – setting a new record for the annual campaign that celebrates the region’s producers.

Between 21 June-4 July, shoppers spent £10,000 more on local produce across stores in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex than they did during the retailer’s last Sourced Locally Fortnight in 2019, when sales exceeded £1million for the first time since the two-week initiative’s launch in 2007.

Last year’s campaign asking customers to consider swapping named-brand products for local alternatives had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on stores and producers.

Despite a totally pared back events calendar to promote the 2021 campaign, due to coronavirus restrictions, shoppers wholeheartedly threw their support behind the initiative that champions the journey from local field and farm to fork.

More than 100 East of England Co-op suppliers across the region saw their brands promoted throughout the fortnight, with thousands of products made available, ranging from fruit and vegetables, jams and chutneys, to meats, fish, pies, fruit juices and wines.

Roger Grosvenor, Joint Chief Executive at The East of England Co-op, said: “Once again, we have exceeded the £1million mark for our Sourced Locally Fortnight and we’re absolutely thrilled to have set a new record in 2021 after a year that has presented immense challenges for everyone – our passionate and hard-working local producers, our dedicated teams and our loyal customers. We couldn’t have achieved this fantastic result without the determination and commitment of colleagues across our co-op, so I’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to them for their continued hard work.

“We are immensely proud of our Sourced Locally Fortnight initiative, which has been celebrating the fantastic, fresh produce right here on our doorstep over the last 14 years, generating millions of pounds for East Anglia’s economy, helping to create and safeguard hundreds of jobs, and reducing food miles.

“This year, we have seen – more than ever – how crucial our local suppliers are; they have worked tirelessly around the clock to meet unprecedented levels of demand, helping to keep our shelves stocked and our customers’ baskets filled in extremely difficult circumstances.

“There is no doubt that the incredible support shown this year is a reflection, not only of customers’ increasing desire for local provenance, more choice and to support the region economically, but of the huge appreciation they have for our local producers.”

Sourced Locally Fortnight included a virtual event, the third episode of Your Co-op Live with ‘Sourced Locally Matters’, featuring talks from Sourced Locally producers, recipes and an interactive Q&A session.

During the campaign, The East of England Co-op launched its annual Sourced Locally Awards, celebrating outstanding food and drink producers with a coveted Producer of the Year accolade up for grabs, as well as the Store of the Year award, recognising those stores that have gone the extra mile to champion local produce.

To recognise those producers and store colleagues who have gone above and beyond for the region during the coronavirus crisis, the winner will be selected exclusively by communities themselves via customer votes only. Voting is still open at until 25 July.