Within the UK, the market for local food seems to be growing rapidly. This paper explores how the UK's leading food retailers are responding to the growing demand for local food and offers some reflections on their responses. The paper begins with a discussion of the various definitions of what constitutes local food and the empirical information for the paper is drawn from the corporate websites of the UK's top ten food retailers and from a simple observational survey conducted within their stores in Cheltenham and Gloucester. The findings reveal that despite the retailers' publicly reported corporate commitments to local food, they make limited attempts to promote locally sourced food within their stores. The paper concludes that unless the UK's major food retailers rethink and reconfigure their supply systems to accommodate small local producers, then the volume of genuinely local food within stores is unlikely to grow substantially.
Keywords: local food production, UK, leading retailers, sustainability, United Kingdom, food retailers, small producers, sustainable development