A Suffolk success story

Farm shops and local food businesses have flourished in an area of Suffolk after Tesco was denied entry to the market.

A report by Caroline Cranbrook of the Campaign for Rural England (CRPE), who has monitored towns and villages in East Suffolk for eight years, says that the number of local and regional food suppliers has risen from 300 to 370 with a wider range of local products being sold.

She said the fact that Tesco was denied planning permission for a store in Saxmundham back in 1997 by Suffolk Coastal Council had paid dividends for local food producers and small retailers.

Meat businesses that have flourished include Lane Country Foods, which sells sausages, bacon and salami in local shops, and Bramfield Meats, a meat cutting plant, which sources its meat from 50 farms in Suffolk and sells in farmers' markets and shops.

Local food tourism is taking off, the countryside is well-managed and serving the community and local stores are keeping towns and villages alive and people in touch with each other, claimed the report.

Tom Oliver, CPRE's Head of Rural Policy said: "This report is backed by eight years of real evidence. It is a striking success story for local foods. It shows that there is a viable alternative to the supermarkets."