Tesco redefines "local"

Tesco, the life-ruling supermarket that increasingly builds anywhere and sells anything, does of course have the token trendy corporate social responsibility ethos plastered all over its promo materials.

One such outward aspect of these amazing new policies is that of regional sourcing. In an attempt to mass-outdo the various farmers' markets, organic box delivery schemes, growing stuff yourself and other such means to a virtuous end, they have a "localchoice" option for some products.

The concept behind it is of course potentially good for a few reasons, including that food from nearby is less likely to have required the needlessly high environmental costs, needed to be laced with preservatives just to last long enough to be sold in the UK, not to mention the typical abuse of cheap labour in other countries that supermarket megaliths appear to encourage.

Localchoice milk is one of the wider-known Tesco options. Because it clearly costs Tesco so much more, and their £2.5 billion+ profits are too minimal for any sort of investment in a better world to take place, the consumer is naturally expected to pay more for their litre of localchoice goodness as opposed to the normal cost of milk-from-random-places. Still, what price on the self-satisfaction of having bought produce from just down the road eh?

Except that's not what you're getting. Take, for example, a Tesco store in Hereford that sells localchoice milk. Take a guess where it comes from? Well, Hereford, or a nice near rural paradise one might assume. No, no, no - rather the milk that Hereford consumers pay a premium for to "support their local farming community" comes from Lincolnshire and Derbyshire - one hundred and fiftyish miles away from the superstore itself. Local?!

Well, maybe to some. Tesco's excuse for this misleadingness is that local "means different things to different people". Really? Guess it's true to some extent, but the Poorhouse has never, ever, come across anyone who went on a seven-hour round trip in their car in order to visit their "local" shop.

Sandra Bell, from Friends of the Earth, agrees, saying:

I think it's misleading. It's true that local may mean different things to different people but I think only Tesco would define local as 150 miles away. Our food is travelling further than ever before and supermarkets like Tesco are a major cause of that.


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