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Last Updated: Friday, 29 October, 2004, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
Greens call for 'food revolution'
Fruit and vegetable stall
The Greens say they want to encourage consumer choice
Scotland's Green MSPs have launched a campaign against what they claim is "an explosion" of supermarket developments across the country.

The party wants a "food revolution" in the way that the country shops, with more emphasis on local traders.

It said the supermarket ingredients for a typical Sunday lunch may have travelled up to 24,000 miles before getting to the consumer's table.

The Greens insist local, small-scale, community-led shops are much better.

They have called on the Scottish Executive to tighten up planning laws and create wider powers of appeal, making it harder for supermarkets to build or expand.

The call came ahead of the Scottish Greens' annual conference in Dundee this weekend.

Mark Haskell
Supermarkets control what we buy and where we buy it - our campaign aims to bring power back to the consumer and the producer
Mark Ruskell
Scottish Green MSP
Clearer labelling, free school meals and less emphasis on brands are needed, according to the party.

The party has denied that a "buy local" appeal would hit developing countries anxious to sell their products.

The Scottish Greens' environment spokesman, Mark Ruskell, said a balance must be struck between the power of supermarkets, safeguarding farmers' income, the right of appeal for objectors to planning applications and consumer choice.

He said: "In recent years we have had one food scandal after another - BSE, foot-and-mouth, pesticides and toxins building up in the food chain, and an alarming rise in childhood obesity.

"Our system of producing and buying food isn't working for people or the environment, and it's in everyone's interest that it changes."

The MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife said: "Supermarkets control what we buy and where we buy it - our campaign aims to bring power back to the consumer and the producer."

Balance call

But retail groups have argued that consumers want a range of shops and that supermarkets already make efforts to source supplies locally.

Fiona Moriarty, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: "There's a place for supermarkets, we all like the convenience and the value that many supermarkets offer to us.

"But we also like to have something a little bit different, something unusual, and we tend to get that from our local baker, our local butcher, our local greengrocer.

"So really, it's up to us to make that choice and make that balance."



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