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Shopping better during lockdown

In March 2020, as the coronavirus crisis raged around the world and we in the West realised it was heading our way, the news was full of stories of panic-buying.


Shoppers, rightfully fearful of an impending lockdown, stripped shelves bare of the basics, including pasta, flour, eggs and, somewhat unexpectedly, toilet roll.


Stores began to run out of key items, imposing limits on how many of each product could be purchased and introducing dedicated shopping times for the elderly and vulnerable to get what they needed. Delivery slots were like hen’s teeth and, when they were available, shoppers found half their items were missing.


Supermarkets, once seen as the one-stop answer to all our shopping needs, were too big to adapt.


This was an opportunity for many independent, more agile and often overlooked retailers – the local dairy, the neighbourhood greengrocer, the corner shop – to come to the fore and renew links with local households.


We hope the majority of shoppers with retain their new habits; research by trade body Co-operatives UK found that 30 per cent of shoppers used local retailers more during lockdown, and 80 per cent of those plan on continuing to do so.


Here at the farm, we certainly felt the effects during lockdown, and, with butter, cheese, bread and yogurts on our list of products – as well as the organic milk we’re better known for – we were only too pleased to be in a position to help people get their basics.


While we lost 160 hospitality clients over this period, as cafes and restaurants closed their doors, we gained 680 new doorstep customers, delivering 64,396 pints of milk, 5,346 rolls of butter and 281kg of cheese.


But the love of local produce hasn’t just stemmed from availability; the ease with which Covid-19 spread around the world has brought the issue of international food miles and provenance to the fore. And, now people have tried new, local foods, they have found they prefer them.


There is no denying that local organic food is kinder on the environment, and other local foods have fewer road miles under their belts, but it can often mean the products are fresher and better value too. During lockdown, three million people tried a veg box from a local farm for the very first time, and, with the money going back into the local economy, as opposed to lining shareholders’ pockets, this can only be a good thing.


As lockdown is slowly lifted, and Britain’s supermarkets open their doors wider again, will we return to our old way of life, or will shopping locally become part of the ‘new normal’ we hear so much about?


Well, with 57 per cent of consumers telling Deloitte Digital they will be more likely to spend money at a shop that offers locally-produced goods once the lockdown has lifted, the signs are looking promising.


However, saying and doing are quite different and memories can be short. So far we are delighted that 96 per cent of the new doorstep customers that joined us throughout April, May and June are still with us – and we would like to say a huge thank you to all of our customers for supporting us throughout this time.


We are delighted to supply a wide range of products to local doorsteps, farm and corner shops across the Northern counties. Call us on 01325 466999 to find your local stockist or doorstep delivery provider.


Alternatively, head to our doorstep delivery page here.

Or for trade orders, check out our page here.


Caroline Bell

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