Sherborne is great without you

Sherborne Market v. Tesco

Inspired by Channel 4’s Dispatches Programme this week on the cost of fruit and vegetables in Tesco compared to local markets, we decided to do a little bit of research with our very own favourite local market stall which you’ll find at The Conduit market parade in Sherborne every Thursday and Saturday.

It’s a family business and they get up at crack of dawn to buy all the produce they need from the wholesale market. They are there in all weathers with a smiley welcome. Everything is clearly labelled with the country of origin (which wasn’t the case on Tesco’s website) and where possible their produce is always English.  There’s virtually no packaging and you’re putting your hard-earned cash straight into a small business owner’s hand.  That feels good.

To whet your appetite look at the gorgeous selection they had on offer this morning…

Sherborne Market Stall

We chose 31 items where we were able to get a like-for-like comparison at Tesco – taking quality and size into consideration.  All the comparisons are based on loose products (you’ll find packaged equivalents WAY more expensive in the supermarkets).  Here’s the results (bearing in mind that Dispatches said most supermarkets treat bananas in the same way they do milk… as a loss leader):

Tesco v. Sherborne Market Prices


See the evidential prices at Tesco here: Tesco Fruit and Veg Prices 24 Jan

So… what to make of all those figures?

On balance we think it is incredible that a small family business with limited buying power can actually match Tesco’s prices at all.  The fact the market trader’s prices were lower on 50% of the items and that they manage to source so much from the UK, is a real testament to their commitment.

Add to that… What price do you put on supporting a local business?  Is it worth driving from Sherborne to a supermarket to (perhaps) save a few pence a kilo on one or two items you need? What about the cost of your time and fuel? What about the joy of seeing a wonderfully presented produce stall and the pleasure of talking to the trader about the products?

Also, it just feels GOOD to give your money to a business owner rather than to a corporation – don’t you think?

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