Forget the hype about global sourcing: food is still very much a local sourcing issue, according to supermarket executives speaking at the IGD global retail conference. Tesco's Paul House, commercial director of its Hungarian operation, said local sourcing was the preferred option wherever practicable ­ 95% of Tesco own label products, for instance, were sourced locally. House said that while non-food buying was global, when it came to food, retailers needed to build local scale to ensure they brokered the best deal from suppliers. "Despite all the international development going on, most suppliers still want to work at national levels." Carrefour marketer Michèle Kerrad said local purchases accounted for 85% of all its volumes ­ despite its attempts to negotiate global agreements with suppliers of brands and own label goods. But Gerard van Breen, senior vice-president of Ahold Global Sourcing, insisted it was top of the agenda for retailers and suppliers alike. He explained how Ahold had placed regional sourcing of products and global purchasing at the heart of its business strategy. While the evidence suggests few grocery products ­ particularly brands ­ are being sourced globally, P&G's John Molter claimed suppliers would not be able to resist the trend indefinitely. P&G has set up teams to work closely with global players such as Tesco. "Dealing with global retailers is a competitive advantage for us," he said, "But it is hard work." Nevertheless, Molter insisted that the effort was necessary because the balance of power was shifting towards retailers. "Unless suppliers are willing to evolve in all they do there will be some big sticks being used [by retailers]," Molter said. {{NEWS }}