Who Buys My Food? logoThe Norwich Business School's Who Buys My Food project gives farmers and small food and drink producers actionable insight derived from the analysis of retail (epos and loyalty card) data.

The project has been running for over 15 years and has assisted over 700 small food and drink businesses across the UK. It moved from the University of Kent to the University of East Anglia in September 2015.

It is led by Professor Andrew Fearne and supported by research associates and PhD students (Nadia Koerniawan and Konrad Maliszewski).

The Supplier Network is the forum through which we deliver free shopper insight and support (webinars and student projects) to small food and drink producers for the development of evidence-based decision-making.

Shopper insight

Free Tesco shopper insight is available to food and drink producers with an annual Tesco turnover below £1m. To obtain their shopper insight report, suppliers need to send us an email expressing interest. A customised shopper insight report is delivered within ten working days of the request being submitted. The report covers three areas – Key Performance Indicators, Shopper Profiles and Main Competitors. There is an option for the analysis to include store performance analysis.

Regular webinars are delivered by experts in a range of areas related to marketing and business planning and network members can benefit from a variety of student projects, in partnerships with academics in Norwich Business School.

If you are a small food and drink producer and wish to receive further information about our free shopper insight reports please contact us (who.buysmyfood@uea.ac.uk).

See a map of our network

This map shows the suppliers that are currently involved in the WBMF project. Scroll to zoom in and click to move around the map. As you move, you will see the supplier's company names, and you can click on their icon to find their websites. 

Didonet, S., Fearne, A. & Simmons, G. 2020. Determining the presence of a long-term/short-term dilemma for SMEs when adopting strategic orientation to improve performance, International Small Business Journal, Vol.38(2), pp 90-110.

Petrovici, D., Obal, M. Walton, B. & Fearne, A., 2019. The role of market knowledge type on product innovation performance, International Journal of Innovation Management, Vol.23, pp 1-33

Malagueno, R, Golgeci, I. & Fearne, A. 2019. Customer Categorization, Relational Justice and SME Performance in Supermarket Supply Chains, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Vol.24 (3), pp 417-429.

Huffaker, R. & Fearne, A. 2019. Reconstructing systematic persistent impacts of promotional marketing with empirical nonlinear dynamics, PLoS ONE, Vol.14(9), pp 1-28.

Malik, S., Fearne, A. & O’Hanley, J. 2019. The use of disaggregated demand information to improve forecasts and stock allocation during sales promotions: A simulation and optimisation study using supermarket loyalty card data, International Journal of Value Chain Management, Vol.10 (4), pp 339-357

Journal articles from our time at the University of Kent

Palmer, M. Simmons, G, Robinson, P & Fearne, A. 2015. Institutional work and the practice of power in industrial marketing: Insights from an industrial supplier workshop, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol.48, pp 214–225.

Donnelly, C., Simmons, G., Armstrong, G. & Fearne, A. 2015. Digital loyalty card ‘big data’ and small business marketing: Formal versus informal or complementary? International Small Business Journal, Vol. 33(4), pp 422–442

Hornibrook, S., May, C. & Fearne, A. 2015. Sustainable Development and the Consumer: Exploring the role of Carbon Labelling in Retail Supply Chains, Business Strategy and the Environment, Volume 24, Issue 4, pages 266–276.

Yamoah, F., Duffy, R., Petrovici, D. & Fearne, A. 2014. Towards a Framework for Understanding Fairtrade Purchase Intention in the Mainstream Environment of Supermarkets, Journal of Business Ethics, 10.1007/s10551-014-2509-9

Todd, S., Diggle, P.,White, P., Fearne, A. & Read, J. 2014. The spatiotemporal association of non-prescription retail sales with cases during the 2009 influenza pandemic in Great Britain, BMJ Open, Vol.4, Issue 4, DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-004869.

Yamoah, F. Fearne, A. & Duffy, R. 2014. Exploring Supermarket Loyalty Card Analysis To Identify Who Buys Fairtrade, The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, Vol. 24, Issue 3, pp328-346.

Cacciolatti, L. & Fearne, A. 2013. Marketing Intelligence in SMEs: Implications for Industry and Policy Makers. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol.31, No.1, pp4-26.

Duffy, R., Hornibrook. S., Fearne, A., Hutchison, K. & Read, A. 2012. Engaging suppliers in CRM: The Role of Justice in Buyer-Supplier Relationships, International Journal of Information Management, Vol.3, No.1, pp20-27.

Felgate, M., Fearne, A. Di Falco, S. and García Martinez, M. 2012. Using Supermarket Loyalty Card Data to Explore the Moderating Impact of Shopper Segments on Promotional Response, International Journal of Market Research, Vol. 54, Issue 2, pp. 221-240.

Donnelly, C. Simmonds, G., Armstrong, G. & Fearne, A. 2012. Small business marketing planning and retailer loyalty card marketing intelligence: Informal versus formal or complementary? Marketing Intelligence and Planning, Vol.30, Issue No. 5, pp515-534.

Technology adoption and evidence-based decision making among SMEs: a pilot field experiment in convenience retailing, Who Buys My Food? Working Paper No.2019-1

Koerniawan, N., Fearne, A. & Santana, R. 2020. The Use and Abuse of Customised Market Intelligence by Small Food and Drink Producers, Who Buys My Food? Working Paper No.2020-1

Golgeci et al. 2020. Unlocking the Link between Relationship Duration and Product Failure in Retail Channels: The Role of Market Orientation and Brand Diffusion, Who Buys My Food? Working Paper No.2020-2

Maliszewski, K. & Fearne, A. 2019. Technology adoption and evidence-based decision making among SMEs: a pilot field experiment in convenience retailing, Who Buys My Food? Working Paper No.2019-1

Maliszewski, K. & Fearne, A. 2018. Availability in core stores: A case study of Lacka Foods and Tesco, Who Buys My Food? Working Paper No.2018-1

May, C. & Fearne, A. 2017. The rise and fall of carbon labelling: a case study of Tesco, Who Buys My Food? Working Paper No.2017-1

Malik, S. O’Hanley, J. & Fearne, A. 2016. Forecasting store-level demand using dis-aggregated supermarket loyalty card data, Who Buys My Food? Working Paper No.2016-1

Huffaker, R. & Fearne, A. 2015. Empirically testing for dynamic causality between promotions and sales in the UK beer sector, Who Buys My Food? Working Paper No.2015-1

“We needed to understand how demand was changing as a result [of] the pandemic and adapt our business accordingly. The web-application made it possible for us to access critical pieces of information when we needed it most (during the lockdown) and share it with the buyer with a level of detail that made it easier for us to make our case for launching a bigger bottle in the right stores at the right price, which was beneficial to Tesco as well as our business. The insights we gained from the WBMF project were invaluable - you guys absolutely rock and all the tools were super useful!”

Julia Kessler - Nix&Kix

“NBS has become such a valuable resource enabling us to punch above our weight as a small supplier. In this highly dynamic and fast moving market it is essential to have the data and insights you are providing, we can’t effectively plan and manage what we don’t know.”

David R. Rapkins - Cleone Foods

“Many thanks to you and your team, this is very interesting and hugely useful to our journey!”

 Mark Neville - The Good Whey Company

“Thank you for the work you’ve done and continue to do for the local suppliers. It is much appreciated and totally invaluable”. 

Stevie Sedgwick - Thistly Cross Cider

“It’s always great to get more understanding of the product performance”

Ola - Daffodil Foods

“I urge all Tesco Local suppliers to use Who Buys My Food. #businesscritcalinsight #investthetime”

Lisa Worthington via Twitter, Dorset Tea

“The webinars have been brilliant and it has been great to have such intelligent direction rather than feeling you're just bumbling along!"

Karen Boyd - Pizzado

In early 2018, the Who Buys My Food team partnered with The Retail Data Partnership (TRDP) in order to extend the reach of the project and to include more SMEs from the agri-food sector. Using years of expertise working with loyalty card data, we provide actionable insights to small independent retailers operating within the convenience grocery sector. Our aim is to help retailers tailor loyalty schemes to their unique needs and show them the value of  customer data generated through loyalty schemes. 

Shop Norfolk – pilot action research with independent retailers

Read an executive summary from the report from pilot action research project which involved launching a regional loyalty scheme with 10 independent retailers from across Norfolk.

Retails Data Partnership logoShop Norfolk logo



The University of East Anglia ‘Food for Thought’ Business Network is a collaboration between UEA and the regional agri-food industry, the largest sector in the Eastern region. An outcome driven, free to join business network, The Food for Thought Network seeks to exploit the potential synergies between academics (seeking to impact to their research), students (seeking ‘real world’ experience) and businesses (seeking practical solutions to sector-wide problems).

Building on existing research projects at UEA and burgeoning collaborations between key stakeholders across the Eastern region, the network is designed to deliver a number of pilot projects that will tackle key issues identified by stakeholders at all stages of the supply chain. It will demonstrate the benefits of business collaboration, information sharing and evidence-based decision-making. The network aims to provide the foundations for a programme of collaborative research that will provide a catalyst for change in the way businesses think, take decisions and work with their trading partners, in pursuit of sustainable growth and a more resilient agri-food sector.

UEA plays a key facilitating role within the ‘Food for Thought’ network; hosting meetings and network events and providing resources (staff, students and funding for pilot projects) to work with a group of core partner organisations, representing the interests of all stakeholders in the agri-food sector.

Quarterly network meetings are held to discuss key challenges and opportunities, prioritise pilot projects and identify key stakeholders, many of whom will be drawn from established networks held by the members of the partner group. The pilot projects vary in their focus but are designed to generate insights that will be of relevance beyond the project participants and that will be of potential benefit to the sector as a whole. The expectation is that some of these pilot projects will lead to further/deeper levels of engagement and collaboration, for which external funding will be sought.

If you work in the agri-food industry within East Anglia and would like to join the ‘Food For Thought’ Business network please contact Professor Andrew Fearne, a.fearne@uea.ac.uk/ and join our LinkedIn group.