Your buying power can make the difference

Your buying power can make the difference
SPAR’s UHT milk is local, sustainably packaged and of the highest quality

4 ways you can keep our grass greener

Food security is a global issue and South Africa is no different.  Agriculture has been hit hard in recent years for various reasons, resulting in major job losses that have affected many rural communities. And, it’s not getting any better. According to a series of Essential Food Pricing Monitoring reports issued by the Competition Commission, the number of farmers in SA has continued to decline, with a further drop since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Dairy farmers alone have dropped by more than two-thirds in the last 14 years, from 3899 in January 2007 to 1053 in January 2021.

Paul Mindry, SPAR Brand Group House Brand Manager believes that as a country, we are never short of innovation and if industry and the individual pull together, collectively we can make a difference.  “Job creation is an imperative for South Africa and by making a few small changes and some smarter choices in how we purchase agricultural-based products, we can contribute to this vital pre-requisite for a thriving economy and a better life for all,” she says.

Paul adds that the SPAR GROUP is committed to South Africa and have deliberately chosen to support local by sourcing all their UHT (long-life) milk from a South African supplier who not only sources their milk locally, they also invest in the farms at a ground-level by encouraging the reduction of carbon footprints and independently auditing the management, wellbeing of staff, welfare of animals and the environment. “We pride ourselves on building long-standing relationships with our local suppliers and this 26-year relationship was originally only sealed with a handshake.”

Buying locally-produced products does however mean that the product may cost the consumer slightly more. In fact, according to the Market Intelligence Report (August 2021) imported UHT milk is bought at a cheaper rate than the ones produced locally in South Africa. “In the case of UHT milk, locally-sourced UHT may cost the consumer a Rand or two more per box, however the result of buying the cheaper, imported brand can have devastating long-term effects on the industry and even, the economy,” Paul explains.

So, what can you do? Paul says that as the end-users in this value chain, you have the final say and showcases four things that you can do to support our local farmers in 2022:

1. Buy from retailers who support local: Do your research. Rather than randomly stopping at any shops on the way home, make a conscious choice about where you invest by choosing a retailer who supports local farmers.

2. Read your labels: Is the product imported? Actively seek out local produce when you’re in your local store – everyone carries imported goods but, make sure you choose local whenever possible. All dairy products, for example, are required to say on the back of the box where they are from.

3. Buy straight from the farm: While convenience is valuable (and a necessity!) look for unique opportunities during the year to go out of your way to support local dairy farms directly. Think meandering, farm-markets, small-scale, home-industry – there’s something richly valuable about buying directly from the source.

4. Spread the word & educate: We all have a sphere of influence and can start a movement. Make a stand and shout about it. Buy Local and keep OUR grass greener!

“Not only is SPAR throwing ourselves behind the local dairy industry, we are also making sure it is done with a keen focus on sustainability – the cartons we use to package our UHT milk is made from recyclable materials. And, whilst promoting local and ensuring sustainability, we never let go of our number one priority; quality. All SPAR’s UHT milk is local, sustainably packaged and of the highest quality,” Paul concludes.