Britain's second-largest supermarket chain has boosted revenue by
£160 million after doubling sales of locally produced foods. Asda began
selling local goods two years ago. Now, the Leeds-based company offers
900 items ranging from sausages and eggs to fruit and vegetables.
Customers are prepared to pay more for foods produced closer to
their homes, said Karen Todd, Asda's head of local sourcing."People
feel a great affinity with the place in which they live and want to do
their bit to support local business," Todd said in an interview with
Bloomberg.com. "Food is a distinctive part of Britain's culture.
Customers just can't get enough of local products."
There is a growing international movement to ban or discourage the use of plastic bags because of their environmental effects. Although plastic bags didn't come into widespread use until the early 1980s, environmental groups estimate that 500 billion to 1 trillion of the bags are now used worldwide every year. Critics of the bags say they use up natural resources, consume energy to manufacture, create litter, choke marine life and add to landfill waste.
Countries that have banned or taken action to discourage the use of plastic bags include Australia, Bangladesh, Ireland, Italy, South Africa and Taiwan. Mumbai, India, also has banned the bags, and action is beginning to stir in the United States.
In the UK, the Co-op plans to launch degradable plastic bags for its bread. The new bread bags should degrade within four years, compared to the 100-year plus life of a traditional polythene bag. The Co-op has also brought in biodegradable bags for shoppers to pack their purchases in, according to newspaper reports.
The British Retail Consortium has welcomed the conclusions of a Government-commissioned report on farm pricing. The research, commissioned by Defra and carried out by London Economics, was designed to investigate the farm share of final retail food prices.
Kevin Hawkins, BRC Director General, said: "The London Economics report proves what we have always known, that falls in farm-gate price are passed on to consumers at retail level just as quickly as increases in farm prices. The report also shows that there is no significant relationship between the strength of the UK supermarket sector in UK food retailing and the difference between prices paid to farmers and the price the consumer pays."