Most Estonian residents buy food in bigger stores - survey

Grossi toidukauplus Koerus enne avamist. DMITRI KOTJUH, JÄRVA TEATAJA/SCANPIX


The main type of retailer that residents of Estonia buy their food from is an outlet with three or more checkout lanes, where 82 percent go to shop for groceries, it appears from a survey commissioned by the Ministry of Argiculture.

Only two in ten respondents go to smaller stores and the share of such residents is declining. Farmers' markets, wholesale outlets and other places for the purchase of foodstuffs are not of major significance for consumers, the ministry said on Monday.

It also appears from the survey that nearly a quarter of residents prefer to shop for groceries every day and half do it at least four times a week.

"If we look at the concentration of retail trade, increasing popularity of private label products and people's big interest in buying food in large stores, more and more questions arise over what the relationships between producers, processing companies and the retail sector will become like in the entire supply chain," Minister of Agriculture Helir-Valdor Seeder said.

The minister said it was causing concern that with private label products goods were becoming increasingly anonymous. "It's often not even possible to identify the actual producer or country of origin. It is namely because of this that in our new rural development plan we are planning to support short supply chains -- in order for Estonian consumers to have better possibilities to buy food of domestic origin," Seeder said.

More than half of the respondents in the survey would buy more goods made by local farmers and producers if such goods were more conveniently available. One-third would be ready to pay up to 10 percent more for that.

The survey was taken by pollster TNS Emor.