Supplementary memorandum submitted by
Mr Ian Merton, Trading Director, Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd
In response to the query raised by Mrs Shepard
at the evidence session on 27 February regarding consumer interest
in local food and the number and proportion of our customer that
raise the topic of local food with us through surveys and other
means, I can confirm that we measure, through our independently
researched Customer Satisfaction Monitor and also our Food Integrity
Tracker, the importance of buying locally sourced food. We also
monitor customer concerns through our Customer Careline and also
through letters received via our stores at our Business Centre.
On average we receive 7,000 calls and letters a week on a huge
range of issues from car parking at stores, to special offers
and food safety issues. Stores tend to receive inquiries regarding
the stocking of local products directly which are then forwarded
to the relevant buyer to investigate.
Our Customer Satisfaction Monitor tells us that
customers are interested in purchasing local foods but they are
unlikely to compromise on quality, appearance, cost or product
availability. Local foods need to be able to compete in the current
market place with the range of products already on offer. Although
I cannot provide exact figures there are a number of important
factors which rank above locally made food including value for
money and special offers. Local sourcing is important particularly
in the fresh food categoryespecially as an incentive for
providing local employment, the theory that it is "fresher"
and has travelled fewer miles.
From our Food Integrity Tracker information,
food safety is the number one concern for customers and locally
made food appears in the top 10 concernsthis arose during
the foot and mouth outbreak last year. Other issues appearing
in the top 10 concerns for customers in addition to food safety
and local sourcing are labelling issues and sugar, salt and fat
content in foods.
8 March 2002