Sir: The three regional Co-operative societies in our area - East of England, Chelmsford Star and until recently Anglia (now part of Central) - are very supportive of the local economy and specifically local sourcing (‘Co-op pledges to take lead on local sourcing,’ 24 May, p8). Even small producers that only have the production capacity to supply one or two stores are considered for listing.
Chelmsford Star will only include Essex producers in their ‘Only Way is Local’ product sections. I understand the East of England local sourcing policy has created considerable benefits for the society since it was adopted some years ago. Just prior to its merger with Midland, the Anglia Society was planning to increase its locally sourced range by 9%. Tastes of Anglia continues to works closely with the regional buyers in sourcing new producers and products.
The six counties of East Anglia contain many stores that are run not by the regional societies mentioned above, but by The Co-operative Group. Tastes of Anglia would be very happy to work with the buyers concerned to assist in developing a local sourcing policy for their stores. I am sure other regional food groups would also be prepared to co-operate for stores in their respective areas. Local sourcing supports local jobs and enhances the local economy. It is a policy that is working for regional societies. There is no reason it cannot work for The Co-operative Group.
Robert H Gunn, executive officer, Tastes of Anglia