Local food is in!

Customers expect to find increasingly local food, produced near them, in their local stores. The availability of local food is an important value for many customers, since the production of local food and local companies will maintain the vitality of the area.

"Local competence and the efforts of entrepreneurs are valued. Local products are often considered to be authentic and traditional; there is a sense of loyalty and love for one's home region," says Katja Tapio from SOK Retail chain management.

The myth of all stores in a chain being similar lives strong. The chain operations bring efficiency and consistency to many things, but still, the product range always reflects our customer base. Work on the product range in S Group's grocery stores is carried out on two levels: the chain's product range is the responsibility of the assortment managers and procurement managers in S Group's retail chain management, and the cooperatives enrich the product range with local products and work to meet the needs of their customer base.

"A small store located in a city centre may focus on snacks and products offered for meeting the daily needs. In rural areas, stores may resemble the old-time general stores, which also sell soil and tools," says assortment manager Juha Nieminen of SOK Retail chain management.

"At best, the product range meets customers' all basic needs, feels right and is an extensive combination of the most sought-after and most economical products, as well as the best local products," Nieminen says.

Photo: Lari Lappalainen