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17 September, 2021

Time to super-charge our local economy

THE average family of 4 will spend $187 each week on their groceries according to a recent Canstar Blue survey of more than 2600 households across Australia.

By Peter McCullagh

Householders in Queensland are comfortable buying generic branded groceries, with more than a quarter (29%) of shoppers in the Sunshine State happy to buy supermarket home brands rather than big brands, and half (50%) believe supermarket private labels are good quality, according to their latest survey.

With more than 60,000 households in the Cairns, Douglas and Cassowary Coast region that amounts to a sizeable turnover each week.

For those who may need a calculator, like myself, we spend on average over $11 million each week on groceries. Food, fresh vegetables, meat, seafood, cleaning products and so on.

As a locally owned business we believe in local and support local. You would have seen many stories in our weekly edition about local businesses doing amazing things. We are not afraid to throw our support behind locally owned family run businesses providing exceptional value and service to our locals.

If you shop at one of the big two multinational grocery outlets, just take the time to calculate the amount you may spend each week on meat, bread and fruit and vegetables.

Consider the simple math. If you spend on average on these three groups $50, if everyone in the Cairns region spent that same amount at local butchers, bakers and green grocers or independent grocery stores (IGA), that would equate to $3 million per week being spent with local businesses.

The flow on effect would be more than $21 million per week. This is based upon the principle that each dollar spent locally is respent locally 7 times.

This super-charging of the local economy would drive employment opportunities for locals, increase the economy of scale and purchasing ability of local business to compete against multinationals and most of all we will not be settling for second best in quality, we will have comparable quality if not better-quality meats and vegetables.

Living local and supporting local is not hard. Take the time to shop around, check out a local butcher shop, check out several, choose the one that best suits you and then buy your mince, steak, chops or roast from them.

If we reallocate where we spend, not increase what we spend, but make a conscious decision to spend it truly locally, the net result could be almost $1 billion in the local economy in the next 12 months.

Competition is important. Having the economy dominated by two multinational supermarkets is not healthy. The good news is in north we have a strong independent grocery network (IGA) as well as hundreds of great locally owned specialty stores.


Peter McCullagh


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