The average person in the UK travels nearly 900 miles a year to shop for food*. This is an expense that isn’t often taken into account when travelling out of town to large shopping complexes and retail parks.
Food Miles are also a measure of the distance the produce is transported between production and consumption. The more miles the more greenhouse gases produced. The miles travelled by the items in the average shopping basket can be enough to travel twice around the planet.
However, just reducing the miles travelled by the produce and customer is not everything. It can be less environmentally friendly to grow tomatoes in Britain under glass than it is to import tomatoes from Spain.
It’s a complex issue, but you can be sure that keeping your own mileage down by shopping locally and supporting local businesses is better than travelling to out of town retail parks. Suma, one of the Natural Food Stores main suppliers, has been Ethical Consumer magazine’s Best Buy company for many years now. Their continued commitment to ethics has led Ethical Consumer magazine to describe Suma as “a real trailblazer within the co-operatives movement and beyond”. Suma are constantly working to ensure a continued commitment to ethics: within their own organisation and community and in all their partnerships with customers and suppliers and the products we supply.
* Ghost Town Britain ii: Death on the High Street, New Economics Foundation, 2003