The unromantic truth: supermarkets arent dying, and thats a good thing | Jay Rayner

Tesco et al are our only hope if we are to feed the nation sustainably. So we need a reckoning, not a revolution

For those minded to hate supermarkets and all their evil works, these have been sunlit days. With sales tanking at Sainsburys, Morrisons and Tesco, and the latter under investigation for overstating potential profits, some commentators have found the temptation to declare the end of big food retail just too hard to resist. We are apparently heading back to the days of Heartbeat and All Creatures Great and Small, when we all shopped locally, buying little and often from kindly shopkeepers who knew us by name.

Its an appealing fantasy. That, however, is all it is. Sure, there may have been some increase in purchases from independent shops, but its from a very low base. Shopping little and often is generally a lifestyle choice for the affluent middle classes. Many people on low incomes dont have that choice, or the time. And while it may be an appealing fantasy, it really isnt a desirable one. Supermarkets are not going away, and for that we should be grateful.

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