The rise of the small supplier

For decades now we have relied on the convenience and availability of big food suppliers. What was not to love? Aisles of food with illuminated displays of meat and fresh produce, neatly packaged and sealed in plastic trays. It was the sheer abundance of choice that hooked us in. The ease of getting everything in one hit, with a bargain or two thrown in for good measure. It would be fair to say, we’ve become spoilt.

This retail giant of monstrous proportion killed the small supplier, dragging the high street with it. There was no longer a need to assign an entire day to simply filling your pantry; from traipsing the sawdust floor of the butchers to waiting patiently inline for your butter to be cut. Not only were these small suppliers time consuming, but costly too. In comparison to supermarkets, who through sheer volume alone, were able to undercut competitors; sometimes at the expense of the very production source filling their shelves.’

A conscious consumer

However, in recent years, we as a community have begun to ask, “where is our food coming from?”. Is it locally sourced? Is it fresh? Is it seasonal? Has the producer been paid fairly? The rise of technology has given us the option to completely sidestep supermarkets, instead using our smart phones to order locally sourced produce in just a few swift steps. The tides are slowly turning on supermarkets, and it’s not in their favour. There is little appeal in navigating your way around huge carparks with rickety trolley wheels, or queuing for the pleasure of having your weeks shop catapulted at you as its rung through the tills. We’ve even been subjected to taking up part time roles, scanning our own food as fleets of tills and workers have been replaced by self-scanners. This was introduced on the back of a promise it would be quicker and more convenient; but if you’ve ever used one, you’ll know otherwise.

A small supplier packing a heavy weight punch

Small producers have found their window and its proving enticing for conscious consumers. With easy to navigate sites, a consumer can now know where their produce is coming from, what’s in season now, and all is delivered to your door. Small suppliers are offering weekly boxes of seasonal produce that change week from week, with recipes ideas and tips. This adds a personal touch for consumers and makes each box feel unique, something often missing from the big food suppliers. Most importantly the gap in pricing from supermarkets and small chain is closing. Technology led availability means the small supplier is no longer paying expensive rates for shop space. Instead driving produce and services via websites and apps, readily available at our fingertips.

The question remains, how can our communities support local producers?

Latis strives to build sustainable communities that support these small suppliers. By empowering communities with tech led resources and integrated high streets designed for modern living, we can help foster relationships between farmers and consumers. In turn this delivers fresher, healthier food, with both environmental, economic and community benefits.

Here is a small selection of Latis’ favourite small suppliers:

H G Walter — An independent family run butchers, with a commitment to predominantly source from small farms rearing free-range native breeds. Offer fresh meat, vegetables and even fresh pasta from La Tua.

The Cornish Fish Monger — A family business that supports local fishermen, with a commitment to sustainable fishing.

Marks Cheese Counter — A mobile cheese service that serves Gloucester & Herefordshire, but also delivers cheese across the UK through their website too. Marks Cheese Counter also stocks local cheeses and seasonal blocks, which are only available for a short time – give them a look!