Given the notion among Whitehall's most cynical that local sourcing is "merely political correctness" from the multiples, it's not surprising that a clutch of high powered figures from the big four are again publicly pledging their wholehearted support for the concept. Indeed, as we suggested last month, next to GM foods, where the ferocity of debate (some of it, alas, still far too bellicose) shows no sign of softening, the buy local' issue remains a controversial topic. However, one of the smarter utterances has come from Sainsbury's assistant managing director Stuart Mitchell in calling for a fresh and more innovative approach as an essential requirement if local businesses are to survive in an increasingly competitive global market. Of course, as IGD research showed recently, due to a lack of agreed definition of local', it's difficult to estimate the market's size, other than to say it is "limited but growing". But, if the enthusiasm among our regional producers, and the five Taste groups in particular, were the only criteria for business success, then there would not be an issue. Trouble is, despite the many public pledges of support from the big chains, far too many local suppliers find it difficult to break into the hard-nosed world of high street retailing. Hence there is a lack of resources to allow them to continuously reinvest to keep in tune with the rapidly changing market. Encouragingly, anecdotal evidence, gleaned from a trawl around a string of regional food shows, suggests that the shopping public is showing a resurgence of interest in local produce as more enlightened suppliers strive to come up with something "locally special." So, given the multiples tell us that they always respond to customer demand, we can presumably expect more buying muscle to go into sourcing local produce. And, while we're at it, perhaps it's an issue to which the new Food Chain Centre could devote special attention? {{OPINION }}