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Gauging the appetite for locally grown fruit and veg

Orchard Acre harvest

Back in December we sent out a survey on social media, canvassing residents across our region on their fruit and veg shopping habits and preferences. Our aim was to gauge the appetite for locally grown produce.

The survey was part of our wider project, funded through the Welsh Government Rural Development Programme 2014-2020*. We had a great response, so it’s taken us a while to sift through all the data. But we’ve collated everything now and here’s what we’ve learned…

Buying habits

The majority of respondents (94.5%) buy fresh fruit and veg at least once a week, mostly from the supermarket or a local independent shop (82.5%). Just over 10% either grow their own or buy from local markets, farm shops or direct from local growers, with an additional 4% choosing nationwide veg box schemes such as Riverford or Abel & Cole.

Most of our respondents prefer to shop for fruit and veg in person – 79.4%, with 18.3% ordering online and just 1.6% opting for click and collect. Price, convenience and choice are all important factors in deciding where to buy produce. But the biggest driver is quality (86.6%), followed by zero or sustainable packaging (82.4%), locally grown (80.6%), carbon footprint (77.5%) and freshness or long shelf/fridge life (73.2%).

Just under 50% of respondents said availability of organic fruit and veg was a deciding factor in where they shopped. But 25.4% said organic wasn’t important to them at all.

Other things that inform where respondents buy their fruit and veg include flavour (with a strong belief that locally grown tastes better), seasonal eating, knowing where food comes from and being able to buy in small amounts, to avoid waste. People also said they also like supporting local businesses.


When it comes to making locally grown fruit and veg a bigger part of their diet, availability is a key barrier for many respondents. People also want to be able to buy locally grown produce all year round – not just during the growing season, when many respondents already grow at least some of their own veg. Respondents also want to see more locally grown fruit, and to have a wider variety of veg available across the year.

Some people say the issue of availability was more to do with them not knowing where to find locally grown produce. And for these respondents, the good news is that we’ll be launching a new website shortly, with a directory of local growers all under one banner – Bannau Organics. So you’ll be able to enter your postcode and find your nearest producer, whether you want the convenience of a weekly veg box delivery or collection, or prefer to choose your own at a market stall.

Another barrier currently is how far people have to travel to source locally grown food. For some respondents, that’s because they rely on public transport, and carrying heavy bags is not ideal. For others it boils down to concerns over their carbon footprint. Almost half of our respondents said they’d be willing to travel 2-5 miles, with 27.8% preferring only up to 2 miles and 22.2% willing to stretch that to up to 10 miles.

For us, this underlines the importance of our central mission: to make local, regeneratively grown fruit and veg available in every community – with a region-wide network of local growers serving their local markets.

Our respondents

And finally, who answered our survey? Most of our respondents came from Monmouth, Abergavenny and Crickhowell (64.7%), with Chepstow, Usk and Brecon followed by Raglan, Pontypool, Talgarth and Hay-on-Wye. We had one response each from Magor, Llandovery, and Caldicott. Our respondents tended to be older, too, with almost 60% aged over 55. And while this suggests younger people are less concerned about local food, we think it’s more likely that they’re simply too busy to answer surveys – especially as this one was put out in the run-up to Christmas.

Next steps

The survey has revealed some interesting learnings: how committed many people are to local sourcing and supporting local businesses, how much they value quality fresh fruit and veg and seasonality – over price in many instances. And yet, at the same time, that organic status isn’t important to around a quarter of our respondents. We’ll continue to drill down into the findings over the coming months, and to find ways to reach younger people, because we know young families are key to growing the market for local produce.

In the meantime, thank you to everyone who took part: we really do appreciate you taking the time to complete the survey – and for the many useful comments and suggestions you sent us. And that leaves us with just one thing: as an incentive to complete the survey, we offered respondents the chance to win a veg box from one of our local growers, with the winner chosen at random from all entries. We’re delighted to announce that Angharad Underwood from Chepstow is our lucky winner, and she’ll be receiving her prize very soon.

* This support has been provided through the Co-operation and Supply Chain Development Scheme – CSCDS Innovative Approaches and Collaborative Growing.

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