Shopping local with Warner’s Budgens

PUBLISHED: 12:58 17 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:51 24 June 2019

Guy Warner of Warner's Budgens (c) Antony Thompson/TWM

Guy Warner of Warner's Budgens (c) Antony Thompson/TWM

© Thousand Word Media

By pitting local produce amongst mainstream brands, Warner’s Budgens has helped change the way we shop

A decade ago, the notion of popping a locally-made sausage roll and punnet of locally-grown strawberries into your shopping trolley, alongside your usual brand of teabags, tomato ketchup and toothpaste, was almost unheard of.

That was before supermarkets such as Warner's Budgens started to shake up the way we do our shopping. When the first Warner's Budgens opened in Broadway in 2006, it was the vision of store owner, Guy Warner, to bring local, Cotswold products to the attention of everyday shoppers.

"For too many years, local produce had lingered on the periphery of people's mainstream shopping," says Guy. "Amazing local produce was generally only available in delis, farmers' markets and garden centres, going under the radar of the weekly shop."

But, with the opening of Warner's Budgens Broadway, and then stores in Moreton-in-Marsh, Bidford-on-Avon and Winchcombe, a number of local producers were suddenly given a new route to market.

Hogan’s Cider is a familiar face at Warner’s BudgensHogan’s Cider is a familiar face at Warner’s Budgens

In those early days Guy spent hours seeking out good quality, reliable, local producers who were creating something that would appeal to Warner's Budgens customers. Over the last ten or so years, Warner's Budgens has built up a range of over 700 locally-produced items from over 40 local suppliers. And it has been a life-changing journey for many of those involved.

Familiar faces at Warner's Budgens - the likes of Cotswold Farmer, Cotswold Pudding Co, Hogan's Cider, Fatherson Bakery - were once small cottage industries, found predominantly at a farmers' market or deli shop. Sitting on the shelves next to big name brands at Warner's Budgens has given them a whole new lease of life, and a whole new customer base.

"We were one of the first to get on the bandwagon, banging the drum for Cotswold producers," says Guy. "It's been a great privilege to play our part in helping to make local produce more visible to everyday shoppers."

While Warner's Budgens may have been one of the first off the starting block with regards to the local produce movement, other major retail outlets have now also taken up the baton, meaning that local produce has truly gone mainstream in terms of availability.

Godsells Cheese is a familiar face at Warner’s Budgens (c) Antony Thompson/TWMGodsells Cheese is a familiar face at Warner’s Budgens (c) Antony Thompson/TWM

"This is testimony to how the pubic have embraced local foods," says Guy. "It's such an exciting, vibrant time for Cotswold producers. Their produce is being stocked in more and more mainstream outlets, which is firing up visibility."

There are certainly lots of local success stories all around the Cotswolds, with plenty more to follow. As the sector continues to grow, Guy is looking forward to welcoming a raft of new and exciting producers who are looking for that first leg up onto the retail ladder.

"Warner's Budgens has been championing local produce for the last decade and we're looking forward to continuing into the next decade," says Guy. "We love being at the heart of local foods in the Cotswolds."

Locally-owned company Warner's Budgens have six stores in the area - Bidford-upon-Avon, Broadway, Moreton-in-Marsh, Quedgeley, Tewkesbury and Winchcombe. Visit the website here.

Latest from the Cotswold Life