Farm Shops – More Reasons To Shop

26/10/2021 | 0 comments

Editorial written by Edward Berry, of the Flying Fork
As the multiples suffered empty shelves some farm shops experienced a substantial  increase in demand, and without the logjam of regional depots and multi-channel international supply chains, had supply to fulfil this.
Some farm shops effectively converted their shop floors to accommodate social distancing, and others changed to delivery processes to accommodate demand. With space available  from their now closed  cafes, this was used by many to create dedicated packing systems and collection hubs.
Many consumers discovered farms shops are not as expensive as imagined and enjoyed a pleasurable shopping experience. Further, local people often avoid them not because of price, but because supermarkets are convenient and easier to access on the way home from work. But as people consider their options post COVID-19, and some employers allow their employees to work from home as and when, it may be that sourcing local food will potentially become habitual for many people.
A change in attitude among shoppers could last beyond the pandemic, with sourcing food locally becoming the new normal. This of course raises the question of how the benefits that emerged for the local food economy during this period can be maintained into
the future. Looking at a fight back from the multiples, all promotions and advertising
are set firmly at price alone.
Farm shops have neither the margin to compete, nor the communication channels to access to such a wide audience.  Messages of local employment, low food miles and above all quality and taste must win over simple pricing.
Shortages today appear to have evolved from a number of areas –  Covid issues – change of career, illness, furlough etc., Brexit – shortage of workforce, borders and increased paperwork, driver shortages – a mix of all of the previous reasons.
Add shipping challenges – container ships waiting to dock and unload and throw in the well reported Suez canal block and you have a perfect storm.
This gives a clear reason to expect shortages of imported goods.
Next add driver shortages in this country and you have reasons for empty shelves in supermarkets.
So to the rescue, yet again, comes the local shop, with its regional supply, flexibility to fill shelves on a rotational basis and accept that not everything needs to be available all the time.


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