"I would caution against any temptation towards token action. Fine words
are not enough." Speaking yesterday [Monday] to an audience of food manufacturers,
retailers and the press, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales urged food retailers
and processors to commit themselves to a long-term policy in favour of local

Well known as an advocate of sustainable farming and best practices in food
production, Prince Charles yesterday helped launch a guide to local sourcing
which aims to help small rural producers of food and drink establish mutually
beneficial relationships with multiple retailers. While some retailers are seizing
the initiative and responding to consumer demand for locally sourced products,
most of the impetus remains with suppliers.

Produced by the Institute of Grocery Distribution and Business in
the Community
, the guide contains case studies of effective partnerships
forged between small producers and large buyers, for example A.P. Jess’
black face lamb and Booker, or speciality cheesemaker Anstey’s of
with Waitrose. Contributors offer advice to producers and
retailers and demonstrate how all parties in the food chain can benefit.

The Prince of Wales referred to the "considerable pressure on retailers
and food processors to ‘do something’" and reminded onlookers that in many
cases there was no quick fix. Business policy will need changing – and while
this is never quick or easy, the scale and success of the major multiples means
they should play a particular role.

Need to protect national food supply

Referring obliquely to the ongoing war on terrorism, the Prince of Wales expressed
the opinion that, now more than ever, the UK must retain its ability to grow
its own food. "All too many people think that we can survive by relying
totally on the world market. But we must learn the lessons of history […].
To sacrifice long-term security through short-term convenience would be utter

Over 10,000 copies of the guide, which is sponsored by Sainsbury’s, HSBC
and the National Farmers’ Union, are being distributed.

If you would like a copy of the guide, please send an email to localsourcing@igd.com