The way we shop is changing rapidly, with most of us venturing out to buy groceries only when absolutely necessary and increasingly relying on home delivery. However with supermarket delivery slots completely booked up for weeks, consumers are looking elsewhere for their food and drink, and small, local producers and retailers are benefitting.
Anthony Davison from Community Interest Company BigBarn – a website and marketplace that helps people find and buy ‘good, safe, accountable,’ locally-sourced food and drink direct – sees this period as an opportunity for local shops and producers to secure the loyalty of new customers even past lockdown.
“A difficulty in sourcing certain items has led people to shop in a different way, seeking out smaller producers and retailers,” says Davison. “Whilst a desire to stay at home and avoid the big supermarkets has prompted a huge surge in online sales as well as an upsurge in box scheme sales, doorstop milk deliveries and other services that mean people don’t need to leave their homes to shop.”
Our 8,700 local food producers and retailers are experiencing a big surge in new customers and doing everything they can to supply them with better and fresher food at great prices in the hope that they can win them as long-term customers
BigBarn has experienced a massive 200% rise in visitors each day since the pandemic began. “We have seen a huge increase in the number of people finding and buying fresh local food through our local food map. Our 8,700 local food producers and retailers are experiencing a big surge in new customers and doing everything they can to supply them with better and fresher food at great prices in the hope that they can win them as long-term customers.
“Many of our local food outlets are using our online ordering system to set up hubs and local delivery, even encouraging customers to grow food to be collected and added to the hub. As more people get involved the better and more viable the delivery system becomes with many able to provide better and cheaper food than the supermarkets!”
Davison believes the crisis has encouraged people to think before they buy and consider the best ways to source food from a variety of retailers. “They are realizing that shopping local doesn’t have to mean countless trips to different stores, instead they can do it online with free delivery from local and reliable small producers or retailers that specialize in the food they are offering or producing and really care hugely about customer service. It’s fantastic.”