Supermarkets have started to embrace the notion of local food, with all of the big four multiples having made pledges to work with more local producers to meet what they say is growing demand for products with lower food miles.

This trend has yet to filter its way through to the independent c-store sector, however, with the majority of respondents saying that demand for local produce is minimal.

Only 8% of c-stores say they source food locally at the moment, according to our poll. The most popular locally sourced products stocked are eggs, fruit, veg and meat, although items such as cheese and bread are being sourced on a smaller scale.

The main barrier to local sourcing is customer demand, according to store owners. Only 17% of stores believe their customers want to buy products from their local area, with many saying that it was up to larger supermarkets to work with local suppliers.

"There are only a couple of products that we could buy locally, such as milk and cheese, the rest of the products we sell are items such as chocolate bars, tobacco and crisps, which obviously don't count," says one retailer.

"It doesn't seem to be worth looking around for local products when this is the case," he adds.

Independents are more positive about their ability to buy locally, with a third saying that finding a local producer would not be difficult if they felt there was sufficient customer demand.

"We don't stock local products but I don't think it would be too difficult to find some thanks to the internet," says one retailer. However, two thirds still say that it poses a problem.

"We get our products from the cash and carry, and we don't know where they get them from," says one.

"We haven't the time to go searching around for local products and there is also no guarantee that we could get a consistent supply of local food even if we found a supplier near us."

Consumers are likely to see more local products in c-stores in the future, however, with a quarter of respondents saying they intend to either increase their local offering or begin selling local food for the first time.