Independent retailers need to show customers that supermarket shopping is "last year's model" and demonstrate how they are beating the multiples on environmental issues, local sourcing and community involvement.
Speakers at a Friends of the Earth (FoE) sustainable food seminar in London last week stressed that local stores needed to communicate the advantages of buying local.
FoE food campaigner Sandra Bell said: "Local shops and market stalls are already ahead on issues like packaging and reducing car use. Local shops also have huge potential to offer genuinely local food."
ACS public affairs manager Shane Brennan added: "You need to spread the word about the things you do for the community."