When the Covid-19 pandemic forced businesses to close and people to stay home, the way the UK obtained and consumed food changed drastically. As a consequence of Covid-19, the pressure on supermarkets has provided some evidence to indicate that shorter supply chains and home delivery are the future. The markets of online farmers diversify both what we eat and how we get it. This is why small-scale farmers have embraced digital technology during this pandemic as a way to directly sell products to their communities through direct-selling distribution systems.
New Ways With Food In The UK:
The growth of the farm retailer during the pandemic
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, consumer trust in farmers and farm retailers has significantly increased. While people initially rushed to the nearest supermarkets to stockpile food items, many of them turned to the new home delivery services introduced by farm retailers.
This blog post will look at some of the latest trends in the UK’s food market and highlight the reasons for the growth of farm retailers during the pandemic.
Increasing trust in farmers and farm retailers
EIT Food (the European Institute of Innovation and Technology) has recently released a new report based on a survey of 19,800 consumers from 18 different countries across Europe. This report aimed to measure consumer trust in the food system and food products. The results suggest that consumer trust has generally increased in all parts of the food sector.
However, it is important to ask who do consumers trust the most with regard to their food during the pandemic? It is certainly not the supermarkets, manufacturers, or the government.
Survey results suggest that most consumers have lost trust in government agencies and food manufacturers. People are developing strong trust in farmers during the pandemic. Out of all the players in the food industry, farmers have been able to gain the trust of 67 percent of the European consumers who participated in the survey.
In the view of the UK’s residents, 53 percent of participants expressed gratitude towards farmers and credited them for maintaining food supplies and access even during the pandemic. Many also believe that both farmers and farm retailers not only act in their interest, but also listen to their concerns, and provide them quality services.
Reduced dependency on supermarkets
Over the last two decades, eCommerce in the UK accounted for only 7 percent of total grocery sales before the pandemic. However, there was a 6% increase within eight weeks of the lockdown.
While supermarkets in most countries are benefiting from panic buying and an increase in online sales during the covid-19 pandemic, UK’s supermarket chains have been struggling to make a sizable profit. A study by Farm Retail Association (FRA) may help us understand why.
According to an FRA published report, 92% of farm retailers have reported a significant rise in their sales since the outbreak of the pandemic and consequent lockdown measures. They believe that the UK’s farm shops network has enjoyed a combined turnover exceeding £1.5 billion since the lockdown.
Food supply chain challenges
Farm retailers have been able to maintain constant supply and regularly replenish shelves despite panic buying. Their ability to adapt to changes during the crisis has helped them gain the public’s trust and emerge as reliable local food providers.
Unlike giant supermarkets, farm retailers have successfully responded to the public’s needs and provided relatively calmer environments. Most farm retailers have also successfully implemented SOPs and gradually developed reliable online ordering services that people trust.
While 79% of farm retailers introduced a click-and-collect service, 67% were able to provide home deliveries as well. Since the lockdown in march, farm retailers have been able to process more than 1.4 million home delivery orders, and these numbers are sufficient to explain their success.
Coronavirus cases are constantly rising, and the pandemic will not go anywhere anytime soon. With the lockdown measures in place, people have lost trust in manufacturers and the government. They are no longer relying on giant supermarkets either.
Consequently, there are many investment opportunities for the local small business owners and retailers in such difficult circumstances. It is ideal for them to invest in selling farm products online because of increasing trust in retailers and farmers.