Plaid Candidate calls for local loyalty call: a Cymru Card

Supermarkets and other stores in Wales are being urged to reward customers with a loyalty bonus for buying local produce. Plaid’s Candidate in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr has written to stores in the constituency suggesting that a ‘Cymru Card’ would boost the local economy.

Jonathan Edwards is urging stores to consider a Cymru Card scheme, which could be linked to existing supermarket loyalty card schemes, for example Tesco and the Cooperative, on the one hand, or ‘shop local’ cards in different towns. Alternative schemes would be explored with those supermarket groups who do not have a loyalty card scheme, such as Morrisons and Asda.
He said:

“A number of large supermarkets offer loyalty points schemes. There are already promotions in place to acknowledge customers who support environmentally friendly or Fairtrade products. Our suggestion is for a similar system to encourage customers to buy locally produced goods, as well as Welsh produce overall. Tying these loyalty schemes in with a local angle, offering specific incentives for buying local will ensure that even when shopping in larger stores people can do their bit for local businesses.

“This would be an excellent way of boosting the local economy by encouraging customers to support Welsh farmers and food producers. A Welsh produce loyalty scheme would have a number of benefits. It would encourage healthier eating, cut down on food miles, and give local businesses such as farmers and food producers a much needed boost, especially during the present economic difficulties. It will also assure people that they are getting the excellent quality produce that is on offer in Wales.”

Plaid in government in Wales has already taken action to encourage people to buy Welsh produce. Plaid Minister Elin Jones AM, whose government responsibilities include food and farming, launched the Local Sourcing Action Plan* last year which aims to get more local consumption of locally produced food.

Elin Jones AM said:

“It’s good to see original ideas to support Welsh produce. This local initiative could be just the thing to support local food and drink. I’ll be interested to watch this develop further”

Plaid Cymru candidate Jonathan Edwards saw no reason why Wales should not have its own scheme:

“In Ireland there is the Shamrock scheme where shoppers can earn bonus supermarket loyalty points for buying home-grown goods. The Scots are looking to develop a similar proposal. The Welsh scheme we are proposing would provide a huge boost for Welsh food producers and the industry as a whole.

“We are encouraging supermarkets, grocers and producers to work together to explore the creation of our own scheme in Wales. I know that this scheme would be very welcomed in Carmarthenshire with a host of local businesses able to ensure their excellent products are promoted effectively.”

Nodiadau / Notes:

Last year, Elin Jones launched the *Local Sourcing Action Plan which aims to get more local consumption of locally produced food – whether it’s through public sector contracts, supermarkets or restaurants.

She is also developing policy around Community Food Growing – again, looking at more innovative ways of increasing the amount of food locally produced and consumed.

5 Responses to “Plaid Candidate calls for local loyalty call: a Cymru Card” [latest first]

  1. Good to see some innovative thinking by Plaid in support of the local economy.
    Please can you explain in simpler fashion how a loyalty card in a supermarket will benefit food producers? These loyalty cards are usually designed to benefit the supermarket not the producer. How are loyalty points going to be redeemed by the customer and what for?

  2. Chris

    Many thanks for your comment. The aim clearly is to redress the balance between the retailer and the producer. I am often amazed when I go to other countries such as France and visit their super markets to see them stocked with local produce. You are right to ask what’s the incentive for the retailer as essentially a card of this sort will undermine their business model which runs down revenue made by local food producers. However buying local is increasingly a consumer choice and for the supermarkets a card of this sort could actually increase consumer flow. As you are well aware from our discussions I am no fan of the current business models of supermarkets – they operate essentially as economic black holes that such the wealth out of our communities. However, I am not anti supermarket if they act to the strengthen economic linkage within our communities, they could act at agents that circulate money in our communities helping regeneration.

  3. I take your points Jonathan but I am still not clear how the card benefits the local producer? For example, if I grow potatoes locally and the crop is wholesaled to a local retailer where does the card fit in?
    Similarly, I don’t quite understand how the system works for the shopper. Do I get extra points on my Tesco or Coop Dividend card for local produce? If I take a Cymru card and show it to a local retailer how does it work?
    Sorry I may be missing the point here but ‘loyalty card’ scheme benefits needs to be explained in ‘noddy’ terms before people are going to bother carrying yet another bit of plastic around with them. Also retailers are not going to stock local produce unless there is a demand for it and loyalty cards are not ‘demand generating’ tools – price, quality and marketing campaigns are.
    This is in danger of being just another gimmick rather than a serious effort to regenerate the Welsh economy by restructuring the financial system.

  4. http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/smart-consumer/want-to-be-a-green-shopper-then-make-sure-to-buy-irish-1907492.html

    Here’s a link to an article on the Irish scheme. they have been doing this sort of thing since the 70s. Im quite relaxed about how it would actually work in Wales. A Cymru card could be linked to current superstore loyalty cards – you wouldn’t have to have an extra bit of plastic.

    In terms of local producers the benefit obviously is that the scheme would generate consumer demand as has happened in Ireland.

    Its no coincidence that major global food companies have located their produciton facilities in Ireland in order to qualify as Irish based companies. The decline of welsh food manufactguring particularly in the dairy sector is something we have to address if we are to have added value for the food we produce.

    with regards your final point, i fully agree.

  5. Dear Mr Edwards

    The loyality card can go much further than you have previously commented.

    I have been researching a low cost business, which would help community groups and clubs right across Wales and Britain. It is based firstly, on getting on board various local businesses to give discount on goods purchased with a card.

    Secondly, this card is given to various local groups/clubs and sold for £10. £5 is to be kept by the group/club as funds raised and the other £5 covers costs and organising the business behind the scenes.

    There is a company called Peel2Save operating in the UK at present, but as this could benefit all groups/clubs in Wales, I thought I would bring it to your attention.

    Please let me know if it is something Plaid is interested in seeing the country benefitting from.

    Regards
    Christine Taylor

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