Coronavirus has affected us all in different ways, and the food industry is probably one of the hardest hit with empty supermarket shelves and food shortages being a common concern.
There are many worrying and conflicting Covid-19 reports which seem to change every single day with different advice and recommendations, and for many of us, it can a really daunting experience, but particularly for those who are involved in the food industry.
Of course, this is an anxious time for everyone. Still, farmers are particularly vulnerable with their food retailers often having to be closed for several months, causing real concern about how they can cope and survive financially during this pandemic.
However, the pandemic has brought several major consumer concerns to a head with growing concerns over the environmental impact of pre-COVID food production practices, as well as import and supermarket waste – localised supply chains have proven themselves far more reliable than the supermarket who was reliant on importing food from abroad.
So, it is sincerely hoped by many that the new trends of food buying in the UK continue as many local food retailers have been able to offer their communities an excellent food service when the lockdown was implemented.
This included local farm shops that worked long and difficult hours to provide where the supermarkets couldn’t by offering home delivery services – and this wasn’t just for food but also medical supplies from pharmacists when they were out delivering the veg box.
Farm cafes began running local produce takeaways services and by generally doing what they can to help keep the local food producers stay afloat.
Local initiatives also included box schemes and online fresh farm produce – a sort of online farmers’ market, which saw new customers attracted to their healthy, seasonal options.
So successful were these new initiatives that in just two months over 500 British veg box providers had between 160-6,700 new customers and were delivering 3.5 million boxes of fresh farm produce to their customers’ homes – more than double what their figures used to be.
What all this shows is that perhaps the typical consumer doesn’t have to rely so much on the supermarkets going forward – maybe they don’t really need or want tasteless Spanish strawberries when they can get their own juicy local strawbs delivered to their very own door…
Proud to be British…
Many customers had already started to develop a conscience about how and where their food was coming from, and so the opportunity to seek out their small, local independent businesses came just at the right time.
Many people love the idea of shopping locally for seasonal, fresh, and sustainable produce – and with the development of online marketplaces, this is even easier to continue.
Covid-19 has meant that many farms were short of workers – however, the number of volunteers has shot up recently with many people using the closure of gyms as a good reason to help out at the farm and stay fit!
It’s crucial for the UK food supply chain in the UK to be supported by its population and for its future survival for this new shopping, trends to continue, and not to just be a fad.
By buying locally sourced produce, the UK community is protecting not only its farming communities but also their wildlife for future generations.
So, next time you fancy a bacon butty, think British…