At his workshop in Lewes last month, Rob Hopkins called the supermarkets “extractive industries” because they export wealth from the town. It can be estimated that Lewes people spend about £21 million pounds a year on food. (1)

Most of that, maybe £16 million, does still go to the supermarkets despite the growth of the Farmers’ Market and Food Market.




Rob (left) talked about the enormous potential of diverting even a tenth of those millions to local businesses. Think what a transformative effect even £2 million would have in terms of local jobs – and much of this money would again be spent locally.

Spending £10 in a local shop is worth £25 to the local economy because of local re-spending. And local food shops employ three times as many people for the same amount of turnover.

It is possible to obtain virtually all food needs in our local independent shops and markets. See Where to buy  And price need not be a barrier for many people – see Lewes Food Market’s price comparison

There must be enough people in Lewes who could make a substantial shift, and we have some lovely independent food shops and markets.

Totnes and some other towns have actually mapped their local economies to get exact figures to present to local government. More here…

(1) The figure is an estimate based on average weekly expenditure on food in the SE from 2010. More here…  Each household spends £56 per week on food. The number of households in Lewes Town is approximately 7,150. More here…  Combining these gives approximately £21 million spent on food by Lewes Town residents.

(2) The Office for National Statistics estimates that 79%, or £44.20, is spent in large supermarkets. More here…  79% of £21 million is £16.6 million. So this is an estimate obtained by applying national figures for households to a town of Lewes’ size.


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