Friday, 2 March 2012

Life without The Big Four

On 2 March 2011, following the second application for permission to build a Sainsburys megastore at Ashton Gate was approved by Bristol City Council, I vowed never to darken the door of any of the Big Four (Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda and Morrisons) again.  Although there had been no conflict of interest in my campaigning, the arguments revolving round the scale of the development, I finally decided that I no longer wished to support businesses who I believe exercise a detrimental effect not only on our high streets but on our way of life.  One year on and I am pleased to report that, with one exception (when helping my daughter to stock her cleaning cupboard in Glasgow) I have succeeded in my resolve.

Does this mean that I no longer frequent any supermarket?  No, I'm afraid not, but I have switched my loyalty to those whose ethos is more acceptable to me and where I try to restrict my purchases to items I can't easily find/afford elsewhere.  Every couple of months I place an internet order with Waitrose and in between times I pop in and out of our local Co-op and Aldi.   

So where do I buy most of my food?  Well, I'm fortunate enough to live within walking distance of two thriving high streets.  My meat comes from a butcher, my vegetables from an organic box scheme, my milk is delivered by a milkman, my bread comes from one of three bakers, my coffee is bought and ground in the deli where I also refill my cleaning product bottles.  A weekly market keeps me in fish, local cheeses and speciality sausages.

There have been compromises and a way to go before I'm happy with where all my food comes from, but I'm satisfied that I'm heading in the right direction.

To read Henry Porter's damning indictment of supermarkets in last week's Observer click here.

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