Society and regional strategies 5 min
Ici.C.Local, a system to serve regional food policies and strategies
Created by INRAE and the Grabels municipal council, Ici.C.Local is a participatory system which enables the simple labelling in food shops of local short-circuit products that comply with certain sustainability criteria. Protected by a brand name registered by INRA, this system is now entering a new stage, that of its deployment through the creation of a collective structure that will support local partners regarding its implementation.
Published on 25 October 2018
The French are preoccupied by the food they eat and want to make their views heard. Local communities are becoming committed to implementing regional food policies and are seeking to federate their efforts. Companies may play the local card but their strategies are sometimes unconvincing. What could be better than a system that has grown from grass roots and proved its worth in both restoring consumer confidence and fostering cooperation between different sectors and regions?
A new tool for actors in local food chains
Ici.C.Local is a participatory system for the labelling of local products that comply with certain sustainability criteria; it can be applied to different types of food distribution structures. Created by INRAE and the municipal council of Grabels (34) in the context of an open-air market, Ici.C.Local is nevertheless much more than a marketing tool. In each region, a committee of consumers, producers, artisans, retailers and representatives from local government decides what it means by "local" and "sustainable" and manages the implementation and control of product labelling. This provides an opportunity to improve knowledge of local areas and learn from each other without initial divisions but under a collective approach for the future!
Taking account of all professionals in the food industry and supporting existing quality approaches
Ici.C.Local does not only place value on the producers involved in local supply circuits who comply with certain sustainability criteria but also on the know-how of artisans who exploit local and sustainable raw materials and the commitment of retailers who favour local suppliers. It is not a certification brand that is contrary to existing quality approaches but a tool that also raises the profile of them among consumers, through discussion, events and communication triggered by its introduction into different regions.
Deployment at a national level to include new partners
Currently used in several markets in Hérault (34), Saint-Affrique (12) and Garéoult (83), Ici.C.Local is being coordinated at a national level by a structure that currently has charitable status. Its aim is to support local partners in implementing Ici.C.Local by providing training and communication kits and organising exchanges of experiences between different regions. Another goal is to discuss with interested parties the adaptation of this tool in other distribution systems: specialised retailers, institutional catering, branded stores offering a range of local products, etc.
A tool monitored by INRAE
So as to enable its deployment under rigorous conditions, Ici.C.Local is now a brand that has been registered jointly by INRAE and Grabels municipal council. To guarantee the values associated with the tool (transparency, cooperation, participation), INRAE has set up an observatory to evaluate (with the actors concerned) the effects of this system in a context of sustainability. The challenge is to verify the structural effects observed at the scale of the pilot market: restoration of trust in food, changes to dietary behaviour, revitalisation of town centres, increases in customer loyalty, improved cooperation between producers and retailers and contributions to the development of local food policies, etc.
If you are interested in this tool for your town, your shop or your region, join us now!
Go to the Ici.C.Local website (in French)
A tool based on a colour code
A simple colour code enables the differentiation of local products that comply with locally defined sustainability criteria and whose sale implies a reduced number of intermediaries. For processed products, an addition "je transforme" (I process) label is affixed and helps to indicate products that come from local sustainable raw materials and are also processed locally.
The story of Ici.C.Local started in 2008. Grabels municipal council decided to create a market to revitalise its town centre, and asked for help from INRAE (UMR Innovation). Faced with the mistrust of certain consumers regarding the source of the products on sale, the councillor responsible for the market had the idea of the stalls using special price tags that would provide more information. INRAE saw an opportunity for the collective development of an innovative system that could provide information and a guarantee, support apprenticeships and enable the cooperation and involvement of local actors alongside those already committed to sustainable development.