Major Supermarket vs Shipston Shops

Does it costs more to shop locally? One of the aims of Transition Towns is to encourage people to shop locally, to support the local economy and use less petrol.
 In Shipston, it’s a known fact that many people drive 20 miles or more to shop in a big supermarket on the grounds that they save money. Two Transition Town members decided to investigate if this is so.
Jo Taylor drove to one of the major supermarkets in Stratford-upon-Avon to do her family weekly shop for two adults and two children. She made a shopping list after planning a weekly menu and taking into account items already in her cupboards and freezer. On a Thursday morning Jo drove to Stratford and spent 45 minutes in the Store. She kept to her list, buying 41 items including meat, fruit, vegetables, dairy products, pet food, cleaning materials, children’s snacks, staple groceries etc. Jo said “This was a stressful shopping experience - I spent a lot of time spent apologising to other shoppers and to members of staff who were also “shopping” on behalf of customers as the aisles in the store were so busy, although the checkout service was fast”. The cost was £61.23, and Jo spent a total of 1hr 35mins travelling from the centre of Shipston- a 20 mile round trip in the car.

The second volunteer, Helen Winnifrith, armed with the same shopping list, set off to compare the prices and shopping experience in local shops in Shipston. She said “The shopkeepers were helpful and understood that I didn’t actually want to buy all the products, but just to write down the prices. I visited both supermarkets and five independent traders. Including time to write down the prices, and allowing for paying in each shop, it took 50 minutes As usual, everyone was very friendly and helpful and I had time to chat to friends.”

Five items weren’t available, and were omitted rather than using substitutes. Prices varied across items, some cheaper in the big supermarket, some cheaper in Shipston. In some cases there were different package sizes, but cost/weight arithmetic allowed a proper comparison. Over the 41 items, the Shipston shop cost £2.75 more. Jo said, “When I take my petrol costs into account, it would actually have been cheaper and quicker to shop locally in Shipston.”

Jo and Helen realise this wasn’t a completely scientific comparison, but both tried to be impartial and were quite surprised at the result. All fruit and vegetables were cheaper in the Shipston greengrocer than in any supermarket, except for bananas, which were cheapest in one of the Shipston supermarkets. Helen said “We hope we may have done something to convince people that shopping locally can be the best value, as well as a more pleasant and less stressful experience.”

Helen Winnifrith 01608 661244

1 comment:

  1. I would add the following points:

    1. This is not a scientific survey. You set out with the objective of trying to say that the supermarket was not needed. You have failed to do so.

    2. I can tell you that for a typical family, the difference in a weekly shop is upwards of £20. £1000 might not be a lot to some of you but to many (especially those with families) it is. Why do we see so many Asda/tesco vans around the town where people have paid £5 to save the money. Even your own biassed article showed that it was £2+ cheaper. You say the cost of petrol increased that to more than shopping in Shipston....that's the point. Shipston people don't want to have to drive to Stratford.

    3. You say that 5 of the 41 items weren't available. Again, this was probably not a typical family basket. Somerfield doesn't even sell nappies and there are lots more things besides.

    4. I will again go back to families to reflect the experience of shopping in Shipston. Shipston has no parent/toddler spaces and only has 1 disabled space. To access shopping, you typically have to cross a busy A-road. If someone parks one of their 4x4 cars next to you, you can't get your children back in the car. Show me how you leave your trolly without losing sight of your children after you have put them in your car? Have you ever tried pushing a pushchair around Somerfield or Co-Op? And don't even get me started on how Shipston would be destroyed if there were a supermarket. There is already huge evidence to the contrary.

    I don't mind if people have different opinions to me. You are welcome to shop where you want. But to try to force a certain way of shopping down people's throats is terrible especially to those on restricted incomes. Please bear in mind that there are other people in this town who remain in Shipston because their families are here. We can't just leave this town as there will be nobody to take care of our parents. We didn't choose to be brought up here but we were. Please bear other people's needs in mind