Why You Should Shop Local in Portugal


Having lived in Portugal for more than a year, buying local has never been this easy. While roaming the streets, pedestrians can encounter more than one Frutaria (fruit store) or a talho (butcher) in nearby locations. However, not everyone buys locally. The convenience of supermarkets and hypermarkets have paved the way for a new type of consumer - one that wants to buy everything he/she needs at once.

Reasons to Buy Local

People may forget the many benefits to buying local. So here are the top 10 reasons why you should consider buying Portugal grown products:
  1. From experience, Portuguese produce taste better. Thanks to Portuguese climate and farmers practices that don't require them to use chemicals to preserve locally consumed food. 
  2. They are better for the local economy. Why should you care? Well, you are likely living in Portugal because you like it. So investing in the local economy by buying local can improve the overall conditions of the space you live in. This could mean, the streets are going to be cleaner, the pavements are going to be taken care of and you might even have more green spaces like gardens and parks open. 
  3. As visitors, being in Portugal and eating Portuguese local foods makes the experience more authentic. 
  4. Portugal produces masses of potatoes, corn, grapes...etc. If people don’t consume local foodstuff, they’ll end up going to waste. Undoubtedly, this has a negative impact on the environment. 
  5. Less carbon emission because it travels a shorter distance. 
  6. Less packaging used when you buy local - which is better for the environment.
  7. The food will not be full of chemicals. Products that come from other parts of the world will have additives to prolong its shelf life.
  8. It won’t go bad as fast. International products get picked from the tree sooner than they should survive the trip. A lot of times, imported products will go bad in 2 or 3 days in the fridge.
  9. It most cases, it’s cheaper to buy local. 
  10. It’s fresh, especially meat. 

But how do you shop for local produce?

Buy bread from local bakeries, buy fruit from local Frutarias, meat products and eggs from a talho. But if you can’t buy local, buy Portuguese. You don’t have to give up a trip to Continente or Pingo Doce to buy local. Most of these stores carry Portuguese products. You should look for the Portuguese flag or the word produto nacional (national product). You just have to understand that big chains will not invest their money directly in your community because they’re stationed somewhere else.

Conclusion:

Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development have done a research on “An Assessment of the Economic Advantages of Shopping at Locally Owned Businesses” and they’ve concluded the following:
  • Buying locally creates jobs.
  • The money returns to the community.
  • Local business owners tend to invest in the future of the community including charitable donations
  • It makes the community feel unique.
  • When small businesses open and thrive, it creates more consumer options.
  • Reduces environmental impact because it needs less packaging and less transportation and there’s less waste.
  • National chain retailers cause money to leak in local communities because they send money where they’re headquartered.
  • Better customer service.
  • You save tax money because local business spend less on infrastructure
  • Promote entrepreneurship.
After Portugal joined the European Union, a lot of rural farmers struggled because there was the massive importation of European produce - that's when the German Lidl came to Portugal. So buying Portuguese products will help its people, the environment, our own health and might decrease poverty. So on your next shopping trip, try and shop for Portuguese products. And this doesn’t only apply to locals, but to tourists too. They’re delicious, they’ll live longer and they have fewer chemicals.

References

Why Buy Local? An Assessment of the Economic Advantage of Shopping at Locally Owned Businesses. (2010). Retrieved from http://community-wealth.org/content/why-buy-local-assessment-economic-advantage-shopping-locally-owned-businesses

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