A survey conducted by the Guild of Fine Food has found that although indie food and drink producers and retailers are having contrasting experiences during the COVID-19 crisis, 95% believe they can survive it.
Of the 200-plus businesses surveyed, nearly half of the producers saw a loss of at least 26% during March, whereas 53% of retailers saw year-on-year sales rise at least 10% during the same period, with two in every three also gaining new customers.
Nearly two-thirds of businesses surveyed said they don’t intend to make any staff redundant, but 35% of the producers and 62% of retailers have or will furlough employees.
While it’s easy to focus on the more troubling, and perhaps anticipated, statistics to have come through, I’m greatly encouraged by the ongoing optimism and resilience of our industry
Of the producers surveyed, 63% reported that wholesalers have ceased ordering from them, while 54% have had their incoming supply lines affected. Just over a quarter (26%) have for the first time started delivery services.
“The key metric for me is that two in three retailers are seeing an increase in new customers,” says John Farrand, Guild of Fine Food MD. “While it’s easy to focus on the more troubling, and perhaps anticipated, statistics to have come through, I’m greatly encouraged by the ongoing optimism and resilience of our industry.
“As it’s widely reported that independent food shops are seeing healthy levels of trade from new shoppers, this should in turn give our producers a lift as they re-stock. What we all need to work on in the next couple of months is how to keep these new customers coming back, throughout the lockdown and beyond.”