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Buy and consume regionally - here's how!

Buy and consume regionally - Here's how!

The regional purchasing is your opportunity to consume healthily and sustainably in the long term. Nowadays, a lot of food is produced in distant countries using a lot of energy, water and pesticides and then exported to Germany. Yet tomatoes also grow locally. However, as regional tomatoes and globally produced tomatoes hardly differ visually, we consumers often focus on the cheaper price. However, by consuming regional produce, each of us has the opportunity to make our Make everyday life much more sustainable and at the same time promote his health and his environment.

In this article, I would like to explain what regional shopping means, the advantages, disadvantages and consequences and how regional consumption can be easily implemented in everyday life. Let's go!

  1. Definition
  2. Disadvantages
  3. Advantages
  4. Reasons
  5. Tips
  6. Closing words

Tip: I have written a separate article about seasonal shopping written, in case you miss this aspect a bit here.

What does shopping regionally mean?

Why shop regionally?

In principle, regional purchasing refers to the Purchase of goods that are produced and also consumed in the same region.

Genuine regionality refers to the entire value chain and not just individual intermediate steps. However, the term "region" is not legally protected, which is why many manufacturers unfortunately simply define it more broadly and use it on their product labels. For me personally, for example, food is considered regional if it was produced within a maximum radius of 50 kilometers. Products from Germany are therefore not automatically regional - the focus is much more on the exact region within Germany where it was produced.

Difference from a local purchase

Regional does not mean local. Admittedly, I assumed this for a long time. But in fact regional purchasing always refers to a large areain which the respective goods were produced. The term locality, on the other hand, is somewhat more precise and refers to a smaller geographical area - such as a specific city in a region.

However, as everyone has a different starting point when it comes to evaluating regionality or locality, opinions differ accordingly. Whether local or regional - both purchasing methods ultimately have very similar advantages.

Advantages & disadvantages of regional consumption

First of all, I would like to show you what is against and what speaks for the consumption of regional products. After all, there must be reasons why some people pay particular attention to it and others tend to resist it.

Disadvantages of regional purchasing

It's not so easy to find real problems here. Even if the disadvantages of consuming products from your region are limited, I don't want to withhold them from you:

  • One-time time commitment: The responsibility for regional purchasing lies in the hands of the consumer. At the beginning, it takes some research to learn how to consume regionally on a permanent basis. But with this article, you're already well on your way 🙂
  • Higher costs: Regional products are often somewhat more expensive. This is due to the organic production method, for example, but also because the products do not come from industrial mass production. Joint, regular orders from farms offer a good opportunity here save money sustainably.

Advantages of regional purchasing

It may be a little time-consuming for some people to always focus on regionality - but it doesn't always have to be. But the following benefits will motivate you even more:

  • Providers pay particular attention to quality: Regional producers are under economic pressure to provide high quality. After all, those who offer inferior products fall into disrepute regionally and may have to accept huge losses in sales.
  • Environmentally friendly production: Regional food production (e.g. in heated greenhouses) emits significantly fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Water consumption is also generally lower and there is no need to cut down forests for our own food.
  • Shorter transportation routes: A lot of food is transported to Germany by ocean-going vessels, trains, trucks and airplanes. This also emits additional greenhouse gases for our own eating habits. Regional purchasing reduces transport routes or even makes them completely superfluous in some cases.
  • Healthy food: Regional products are not automatically healthy - but they are more likely to be healthy. This is because most regional producers prefer a organic farming without the use of toxic chemicals. The short transportation routes also mean that the food loses less of its valuable nutrients.
  • Better taste: Those who opt for regional food also benefit from better taste. This is mainly due to the fact that fruit and vegetables ripen in the fields and the harvest does not come too early. This gives regional food a unique flavor.
  • Strengthening the regional economy: Buying locally automatically strengthens the economy in your own region. This creates jobs and increases opportunities for everyone in the area.

So why shop regionally?

Advantages and disadvantages of regional consumption

The advantages and disadvantages of regional shopping described above already give an idea of the extent to which the decision for or against predominantly regional consumption can have an impact on the environment, society and our own health.

By eating regional food in the future, for example, you can counteract the climate change as your diet contains less CO2-emissions. The problem of Water shortage on earth is decreasing, as goods produced in dry regions such as Spain or South Africa do not require above-average irrigation. The problem of World hunger is reduced because you only eat food that comes from your region. For example, there are no fish exports from countries in South East Asia, where many people mainly eat fish.

By favoring food that is produced sustainably and regionally throughout its entire value chain, you also avoid the Deforestation. For example, the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, which nowadays has to make way for soybean cultivation (mainly for animal feed) and palm oil plantations.

As you can see, conscious regional consumption can ensure that the Environmental problems of our time to solve. And I haven't even described them all yet. Also air pollution and Soil erosion are just one example. In addition to the ecological aspect, we don't want to forget that regional products are healthier and taste better and that the economy in your living space is strengthened.

Fortunately, a clear trend is emerging in our society. More and more people in Germany want to know where their food comes from before they buy it.₁

Tips for regional shopping

Tips for regional shopping

So how can each of us shop regionally as easily and sustainably as possible in our everyday lives? Of course, everyone asks themselves this question once it is clear what the benefits of this shopping behavior are. I have listed a few tips for you here.

Shopping at the weekly market

The great thing about weekly markets is that they can be found in almost every town and in many villages. A particularly large number of regional suppliers sell their food there - usually even unpackaged. So if you bring your own basket, rucksack or Fruit and vegetable bags with you, you can even still use your Zero Waste Lifestyle to push ahead. We simply go to the weekly market once a week to buy all the food we need for the meals we have planned for the next few days.

Tip: Remember that there are, of course, many supra-regional suppliers who also sell products that cannot be regional anywhere in Germany.

Solidarity Farming (SoLaWi)

In SoLaWi, a group of consumers always cooperates with a food producer. If you belong to a community-supported agriculture group, you can influence production and regularly receive healthy, regional and organically produced food. In return, you pay the farmer the costs of production and, together with your consumer group, give him a purchase guarantee for his production

Buy directly from the farmer

Of course, everyone also has the opportunity to buy food directly from the producer. The mostly organic farms are of course particularly pleased about this, as their own commitment can also be economically lucrative. With a sustainable search engine you can simply look for a farm shop near you and ask whether the farmer regularly delivers the food to your home.

To make transport to your home even more sustainable, you can form a community with neighbors, for example, in which you order groceries once a week. This way, the trip is used in a much more environmentally friendly way.

Prefer food that grows in Germany

Avoid or reduce the consumption of foods that cannot be grown in Germany without energy-intensive facilities. Bananas, coffee, chocolate or avocados are never regional - unless you live in warmer climes such as Brazil, Colombia or Indonesia.

Of course, this doesn't mean that you have to give up delicious chocolate forever and ever. But it is important to understand that it cannot be regional and to be more conscious of your own consumption.

Look for organic products

Products with the organic seal give you an important indication of regionally produced goods. However, organic does not automatically mean that the food was produced regionally. Ideally, your shopping basket should contain goods that are produced both regionally and organically.

Shop regionally online

On the Internet you can for example Marktschwä to buy regional, fair and organically produced food and to get to know the producers personally. Suppliers post their weekly offers there and you can order online, pay and collect from one of the local Marktschwärmereien. In this way, the producer sells regional products directly to the end consumer. Ultimately, you are also supporting the businesses that produce their food ecologically and fairly in your area.

Use seal as a safeguard

The trend is towards regional food. Of course, manufacturers and retailers have also recognized this. For their own profits, unprotected terms such as "from the region", "from here" or "local" are therefore unjustifiably printed on food labels that have traveled hundreds or even thousands of kilometers. For long-term regional shopping, you should simply keep this in mind and pay attention to the trustworthy product seals to be on the safe side.

A well-known seal for regionality is, for example, the Regional window. It provides information about the place of production and the origin of the agricultural ingredients used. Unfortunately, it only looks at the regional aspect of a product - and not whether it was produced organically. Nevertheless, it speeds up the search.

The sticker with the squirrel from on products or the front doors of stores will show you not only food retailers, but also clothes and booksellers who offer regional goods.

Shopping regionally at the supermarket

Some of the supermarkets classic supermarkets - for example Tegut, Rewe and Edeka - deliberately advertise regional products. In fact, you can find them more easily here than in discount stores like Aldi or Lidl.

Also in the supermarket you should again look at the Regionality seal pay attention. If a particular food product has several ingredients, it may be labeled as regional even though only part of the product was produced regionally. Here it is necessary to look more closely.

Notice: The plastic free shopping of regional products is achieved here by sharing unnecessary plastic packaging a little more difficult, of course. But it is not impossible.

Shopping regionally? It's not difficult!

Shop regionally at the weekly market

If this is your first time buying local, you might be a little worried about the effort involved. But in fact, it's only the switch to regional consumption that requires a little effort on your part. Once you have internalized the tips and tricks, everything works almost by itself.

Do you have any questions, tips or your own experiences with regional shopping that you would like to share? Then please leave me a comment below this post.

Stay sustainable,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS: It's not just regionality that increases the chances of truly sustainable food. After all, if the majority of it ends up in the garbage can, it is far from being sustainable. So read the article about the Reduction of food waste inspire you with tips & tricks.

₁ YouGov Deutschland GmbH (2018): Food & Health 2018. [02.09.2019].

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

3 thoughts on “Regional einkaufen und konsumieren – So geht’s!”

  1. Hello Christoph, do you already know - the new search engine for regional products? Marcus and I have created the site in our spare time and are live since this summer. Maybe interesting for you and your readers? Many greetings Lothar

  2. nice detailed article. At smaller markets you have the opportunity to meet the farmer and producer of trust from the region directly. But of course you can never be sure where some products come from.

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