Tesco seeks permission to offer allotments to cash-strapped consumers
LONDON - Tesco has stepped up its commitment to environmental issues by announcing plans to create allotments for recession-hit customers who want to grow their own vegetables.
The supermarket giant has applied for planning permission for the 30 allotments on land next to its Southport store in Lancashire which, if granted, will see the sites rented out from next spring.
The retailer has also started selling chickens, hens and chicken coops for shoppers interested in embarking upon a more wholesome lifestyle.
Commentators say the move, which comes as waiting lists for allotments continue to grow, is designed to help consumers embrace self-sufficiency during the credit crunch, but will do no harm to Tesco's green credentials.
The store recently trialled a service allowing customers to discard unwanted packaging from products they had just bought at recycling points in-store, while the country's leading supermarkets have come together in vastly reducing their use of plastic carrier bags.
Earlier this month it was reported that UK supermarkets and customers had halved the number of carrier bags handed out with the number used falling by 346m in May 2009 compared to May 2006.
Supermarkets are increasingly looking to help consumers as the recession progresses. In March Asda launched its own channel on YouTube designed to help shoppers save money and share living-on-a-budget tips.
In evidence to support such initiatives, a survey by Lightspeed this month reported that 69% of 1005 customers surveyed said they planned to continue cutting back on organic, Fairtrade and eco-friendly food after the recession ends.
Organic food sales in 2008 slowed to 1.7% after a decade of sustained growth, according to the Soil Association Organic Market Report 2009.
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