Leader: Desire to be green is a big motivation

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For our parents and grandparents, they were an accepted part of daily life.

Making things for ourselves to wear and use, shopping at the local market and even catching the tram. In many ways, despite the rapid changes modern technology has brought about, life in the Lothians is moving back to the future.

Today, we report on how Haddington is to become a true market town again after almost a century as well as the explosion in popularity of traditional handicraft skills.

The desire to be “greener” or simply better connected to the world around us is a big motivation for so many of us today.

That trend was already well established before the horsemeat scandal of recent months, but the mis-selling of meat has undoubtedly added impetus to the movement.

Nearly two-thirds of us are now buying less processed meat as a result, according to a survey last month by the consumer watchdog Which?

Is it a passing phase or is there something deeper going on? The experience from previous food scares, such as BSE in beef and salmonella in eggs, suggests that over time most people will revert to their old habits.

Right now, most of us may be shunning frozen lasagne and beefburgers, but they will surely start to gradually drop into our shopping trolleys again. After all, eating horsemeat has done no particular harm to our health.

What might be different about this latest scandal, though, is that at its heart is a breakdown of trust between shoppers and the supermarkets. Our favourite high street stores will have to work hard to win that back.

In the meantime, there is an opportunity for independent butchers and other food suppliers to win back many of the customers they lost to the mass market convenience stores.

The distrust which the horsemeat scandal has created taps into that growing desire which many people feel to eat healthily and shop locally. We are forming new habits, many of us, right now which might well bring a long-term boost to our local independent 
traders.