Innovation That Matters

Brighton grocer sticks to local products


The supermarket business is about as mature as an industry can get. Giant chains with centuries-worth of collective management knowledge compete fiercely in hundreds of markets for margins amounting to just pence on the pound. Even so, entrepreneurs have succeeded in nibbling away at mega chains. From online grocery ordering to gourmet and ethnic food stores, entrepreneurs can still find plenty of opportunities to disrupt the long-established grocery-chain paradigm. And the consuming public will thank them for it. The crowds that gather at farmers’ markets provide proof that consumers welcome changes in how they buy groceries. UK grocer Sussex and the City is one of the latest disrupters. The store sells staples such as jams, nuts and biscuits, along with beer and wine. The point of difference: all the wares are produced within 50 miles of Sussex and the City’s location in Brighton. Thus customers aren’t simply stocking their pantry shelves, they’re demonstrating some healthy local pride, and getting guaranteed freshly delivered foods in the process. Equally important, Sussex and the City’s customers help support small-scale local food producers. (For much more on the comeback of all things local, check out’s still made here briefing.) It’s important to note that the store’s founder, Duncan Innes, did his homework. Before launching the business, he managed a local Japanese restaurant, a role that acquainted him with quality suppliers in the area. But the concept could be easily replicated just about anywhere. Local food producers have flourished throughout the industrialized world thanks to the popularity of farmers’ markets. Many have won devoted followings. And those same eager buyers would likely welcome a year-round store selling their favourite local foods. (Related: Order online from local shops.) Spotted by: Clare Griffiths



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