This years the Lincolnshire Show celebrated its 130th year. The show is about celebrating all the great things about Lincolnshire and one of those is food.
The showground dedicates a large area to locally produced food and one of the biggest companies there this year was Lincolnshire Co-operative. They are owned by their members in Lincolnshire and Newark and have been for over 150 years.
Sam Tuner the Food Marketing Manager for the Lincolnshire Co-op says that as a local retailer they are proud to support local producers, and because they are owned to dividend members they can have a long term aim.
The Lincolnshire Co-op support local farmers and producer from all over the county, but the one thing that they champion the most and is not well know is local meat. All of the fresh meat and meat products that are sold in stores around the county come from local farms. “Our stand out product is the meat. All of our own meat is born and reared in Lincolnshire,” she said.
Sam explained that the Lincolnshire Co-op have their own butchery and all of the fresh meat products they sell are butchered locally, “the burgers and sausages are award winning and are made in our own butchery. The meat has traveled short distance and the meat is our unsung hero of our local range.”
Said explained why they champion local meat producer. She said: “The Lincolnshire quality Beef, pork and lamb was set up many years ago after the BSE crisis. Lots of local farmers came together to try and say no and to keep their meat in the county.” Because farmers came together all the meat they sell is traceable back to Lincolnshire.
Encouraging their customers to buy local is important to the Lincolnshire Co-operative. They ensure that local products are stocked together in their stores. Sam said that people are naturally interested in local food and produce and in recent years they have seen a difference in customers shopping trends.
More customers do buy local and being a convenience store the retailer has noticed that people are more aware of the locally produced food that they sell.
In recent years the Lincolnshire Co-op have started to stock free from products. Although it has not necessarily come from a local demand, they have made a conscious effort to stock these items and gluten free and other free from items can be found in 11 stores across the county.
You can hear the full interview with the Lincolnshire Co-operatives Food Marketing Manage, Sam Tuner, below. I started off by asking her why the Lincolnshire Co-op is important to the county.