- Website & Social
- Social Impact Declaration
- Social Impact Statements
HISBE stands for How It Should Be. We are a new type of supermarket, with a social enterprise model that serves the interests of people and communities.
Here are some of the ways that we’re different:
- HISBE runs on a social enterprise model that puts happiness before profits. Instead of maximising short-term profit, like big supermarkets, we pay and charge what’s fair. Employees get above the living wage, suppliers get a good deal and prices are set so customers pay a fair price for well-sourced goods.
- HISBE sells everyday food, but not the big brands. We prioritise local products and work with suppliers and wholesalers who care about health, sustainability and trading fairly. We compete with the big supermarkets by creating a happy shopping experience, charging fair prices and demonstrating our values in everything we do.
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Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders are asked to respond to a set of social impact questions, which are designed to help them think about the social impact they create, and to articulate this clearly and succinctly.
Updated September 2019
1) What social differences and changes have you aimed to create (or supported)?
Bad food has become the norm. Much of what's on the supermarket shelves is factory-farmed, mass-produced, highly-processed, poor quality food that's low on nutrition and full of artificial fats and sugars. It’s what most people buy, most of the time and in doing so they are unconsciously voting for more of the same.
Supermarkets have a responsibility for public health, yet they overprice good food and present it as premium. To us, good food shouldn't be a privilege and our vision is for a world where real, “good food” is an everyday normal thing. We want to enable more people to buy top quality food made by producers and suppliers who care about what they do and the impact it has on the world around them.
Mainstream supermarkets have a bad reputation for underpaying workers, exploiting suppliers, putting farmers out of business, overcharging for good food and destroying high streets. However, it doesn’t have to be this way: business can be a force for good and serve people and communities, as well as achieving financial success.
Our aim is to tip good food into the mainstream, by putting all the good stuff in one place and making it as accessible and affordable as we can. Our job is to take customers on a journey towards shopping consciously. We help them to make informed decisions, we show them the impact of their food choices and we nudge them towards making small changes in their shopping habits. We show them that their shopping power can transform the food industry.
That's why HISBE is a supermarket selling everyday food and not a health-food store, a vegetarian shop or an organic store.
HISBE’s impact creation is integral to our alternative business model. We seek to make a positive contribution to our suppliers, customers and staff, to the Brighton and Hove good food community and the local economy.
2) What actions have you taken to address the above social aims?
HISBE commits to paying suppliers what’s fair, so they can bring us their best. For every £1 customers spend, we give 67p to our suppliers – and on average we pay within 45 days (compared to 90 days for mainstream supermarkets). By paying suppliers fair prices and terms, showcasing their products and growing our business with them steadily, HISBE can have a transformational impact on suppliers, allowing them to provide local employment, to grow and to improve their own business practices.
HISBE makes good food more accessible and affordable for customers. We put the good brands and products in one place so it’s easy for people and make it cheaper by eroding the inflated prices and margins normally applied to good food. Our core target demographic is C1s and C2s (supervisory, office and skilled manual workers). We offer them hundreds of products loose by weight and keep our margins low on essential items. We give them a positive and happy shopping experience in an environment that fosters community spirit, friendship and belonging. We focus our staff on delivering great service, store presentation and product knowledge.
HISBE creates rewarding, fairly paid jobs for staff within the retail sector, as an alternative model to the devaluing employment practices of mainstream supermarkets. Our staff all have fair contracts with guaranteed hours and are paid above the Brighton & Hove Living Wage Foundation Living Wage. They receive annual wage increases in line with LWF recommendations. They also receive 20% off all their shopping and first refusal on any food that has to be wasted. The management style in store is based on values of trust, honesty and respect.
HISBE is embedded in the Brighton & Hove good food community. We support and collaborate with food projects and businesses that align with our values, such as the Community Food Kitchen, The Real Junkfood Project, Infinity Foods and Fareshare. We coach many local food entrepreneurs, to develop their products and branding, get “shelf-ready” for retail and grow their businesses. We also love to champion other independent food retailers, such as The Sussex Peasant, Harriet’s of Hove and Charlottes Cupboard.
HISBE delivers both economic value and social value to the local economy and we are a key contributor to the regeneration of our high street. Unlike mainstream supermarkets we spend 50p of every £1 we take in Sussex (they keep 5p in the local economy). We are prominent on the enterprise scene and use our influence to raise awareness for the sector and drive policy. We support other local social enterprises, like Team Domenica, The Big Lemon and Stoneham Bakehouse and we offer training to social entrepreneurs at all stages of their business journey.
3) What has changed and what benefits have been realised as a result of your actions?
Our pilot store has now been trading for over 5 years. We’ve turned over in excess of £6 million pounds, we’re serving up to 4,600 customers every week and the store is commercially viable. The store not only benefits the health and wellbeing of our customers, but also our 360 local and/or independent producers. We’ve created rewarding jobs paid above the Living Wage Foundation Living Wage for 17 employees.
We serve the local economy by prioritising local food suppliers and service providers and supporting local food entrepreneurs. We give 67 pence in every pound we take to our suppliers. And we take pride in bringing positive change to a rundown area and being a beacon for social enterprise in the city.
4) How do you and other people know your aims are being achieved? Or how will you know?
We have eight key impact areas and we measure our progress in each area. For example, one of the them is Local Food and our aim is to maximise the proportion of our offer that is local (made in Sussex).
We take great care in where we source our product and get as much from Sussex as we can. Our local produce now accounts for 44%. This has steadily increased year-on-year from when we opened in 2013.
In 2018 we bought goods from 115 local businesses, with spend ranging from over £70,000 to just £30, averaging just over £4000 per supplier and a total spend just under £500,000. From start-ups and people making fantastic food on their kitchen tables to established businesses employing up to 100 people.
In total last year we spent just over £1.6m - 58% (£940k) of which we kept within the local economy. A further 28% (£465k) was spent on goods from Co-operative and Organic wholesalers outside of Sussex. 68p of every pound through the tills at HISBE went directly back to suppliers.
The below questions are not mandatory, but Mark holders are encouraged to answer them where possible, to provide a fuller account of their social outcomes and the social value they create.
5) What social and environmental benefits have you created from internal operational policies and actions?
We have a zero-waste policy in store: no edible food is thrown away and we partner with Paper Round to ensure that nothing goes to landfill. Last year almost 15,000kg (71% of which was cardboard) was collected from store and dealt with responsibly.
We have a commitment to reduce plastic packaging. By buying goods loose from our dispensers, customers save 15,000 pieces of plastic packaging every month. We have many initiatives in store to help people reduce and avoid plastic – for example, we no-longer sell on-the-go bottled water. Instead, we offer people free refills when they bring their own bottles.