It was a chance meeting between Cornwall Food & Drink's MD Ruth Huxley and CEO of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Kim Conchie, that revealed both were keen to support and build the Cornish economy by banging the drum for the important local supply chain. And so the Choose Cornish campaign was born.
Back in 2012, the effect of five years of recession and a number of poor summers was taking its toll on Cornish businesses. In particular, there was a suggestion that they were letting their local sourcing credentials slip. Slipping into the habit of buying from the cheapest online supplier or getting everything from a major national wholesaler is very easy when time costs money and overstretched ends have to meet. And customers aren’t really bothered where you get your supplies or services from, are they? Surely all they want is the best price?
Or maybe they won’t notice if you let them think you’re still using a local supplier and just switch for a while to ease yourself over the worst? And so on. But what of the risk to that hard-won, flagship local supply chain? A supply chain where Cornish businesses have created joint savings and unique products by working together. One business’s waste product becoming another’s raw material. Levels of care and service that no faceless online supplier or bog-standard wholesaler could ever hope to match. And so on.
Originally intended as a B2B campaign, it soon became obvious that Choose Cornish had loads of mileage with consumer spending too. Importantly though, both Ruth and Kim were keen that the campaign shouldn’t be just another ‘buy local’ scheme, wrapped in a worthy cloak, preaching mainly to the converted. The Choose Cornish mantra is all about how easy it is to make small changes and how every one of those small changes can contribute to massive collective impact. How all sorts of other mutual benefits arise once businesses get the collaborative habit. And it’s about our responsibility to each other, here in this peripheral location sticking out into the Atlantic.
We’ve also tried to test the theories ourselves. Is it really more expensive and time consuming to buy from a local supplier? What are the incidental benefits or drawbacks that could be overlooked? And how do we reward those who really do go the extra mile?
Read the blog, to find out about the different elements of the campaign, including the Choose Cornish Awards and this year’s new Public Sector initiative. Keep up to date with Choose Cornish on Twitter and Facebook too.
“We all have choices about what we buy and where we buy it from; that’s why we’ve called it ‘Choose Cornish’. We want to encourage people to make an active decision to do just that. Very small changes by people or businesses individually can make a massive collective impact. For example, if everybody who lives in Cornwall spent just an extra 50p of their weekly grocery budget on local produce from a local supplier, it would deliver well over £10 million into Cornwall’s economy in a year.”
Ruth Huxley. Director, Cornwall Food & Drink