The Changing Face of Shopping & the New Eating In
Queues everywhere, social distancing, online and offline, the instant gratification of knowing you have what’s in the bag or in the online basket, GONE.
Do you travel to the local supermarket or order your food to be delivered by a grocery supplier, or is it a bit of both? Are you still ordering take away meals and are you even aware of who is open or closed? Or is this changing on a daily basis and you are a little lost? It would appear from our findings it is the latter.
With an increase in anxiety levels over wandering around a store to be met with paranoid looks and an air of dread, not to mention the certain virus we face in the ether it really is no wonder a lot of people are changing the way they shop. How will this shape the future of our buying trends? It is changing by the day as we try to ease into something that works for the reshaping of our household needs.
When Covid 19 surfaced and I suddenly found myself number 2567 in the online shopping queue I began to do a little research as to how I could get around this challenge. This involved exploring local food groups online, Covid 19 groups etc… and asking people on social channels. As the days passed the food suppliers who ordinarily supply the restaurant trade are beginning to shift across to domestic households. Donning their capes they are added to the list of “local heroes” feeding the nation! As the weeks passed more and more suppliers were adding to their general supply of fruit and veg boxes and becoming our new supermarkets. Personally, I shop with Premier Produce, recommended by a restaurateur.
Initially they were supplying fruit and veg boxes, but have now answered to customer demand and are supplying the cupboard items, tinned tomatoes, pasta, rice, dairy and the like. I was really quite impressed when my first order arrived, all boxed up neatly and looking like it had just been picked. When was the last time you saw a huge muddy potato like the one pictured here, and an onion the size of your head. When was the last time you saw all your produce with little or no packaging? What I am now keen to understand is the provenance trail of the produce. These are blog topics for another day, but there’s certainly something about this way of purchasing making me seriously reconsider my life choices and how I will shop post Covid 19. However will the trend change when we resume our new normal, will we go crawling back to our old ways. Will the supermarket giants buy us all back with hard to resist deals? Time will tell.
As a business our immediate response to the collapse of the hospitality industry as we knew it was to set up the Take Away Hub in order to support suppliers desperately trying to stay open in some way, shape or form. We have seen numbers grow weekly with over 62 regions and over 514 businesses registered across the UK.
Over the coming weeks our aim is to continue to support businesses through these ever changing times. You can register at nuUnlimited.com or follow us on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/thetakeawayhub/
Some 42% who say that the way they shop will fundamentally change as a result of Covid 19, and 26% say they will pay more for local products, 25% for trusted brands and 24% for ethical products. More than half (57%) say they’ll spend more on those that are supporting the community, while 63% are more likely to buy from those taking measures to fight the outbreak.
I was delighted to hear from Premier Produce Scotland Limited about the impact Covid 19 has had on their business.
Premier Produce have strived to provide restaurants, hotels, cafés, pubs, clubs, care homes and institutions with high quality fresh and prepared produce for the past nine years. We have twenty four employees who work some very unsocial hours in all weathers six days a week every week.
When the COVID 19 lockdown restrictions were implemented, 90% of our business disappeared overnight. For many businesses this may have been catastrophic and a terminal issue. However, in addition to having a moral and financial responsibility to our employees we were quick to realise the implications and impact this new way of life was going to have on the vulnerable and wider community.
We are proud to be doing our part in keeping people safe, providing them wholesome and healthy produce. Within a day we moved from a wholesale to a retail operation, building a basic online ordering facility, which we within days was replaced by an online shopping portal while increasing our product range to meet the needs of the home market.
There is a significant impact on profitability from delivering for instance 1 box of bananas to one location than 1kg of bananas to 18 locations, but, we decided to put profitability second and responsibility first.
Getting the message out to those who would benefit from our service has been the most challenging issue. We have used social media to it’s maximum and broadcast on the radio for a brief time.
We are committed to continue to be of service and are encouraged and delighted with the thanks, praise and encouragement we have received for those who have used our delivery service, with feedback like:-
“Your boxes are fantastic, we actually don’t know what we would have done without you over the last few weeks. The quality and freshness at the produce is fantastic! Deliveries always great too, thanks so much! “
We only want to do more.
I also managed to catch up with my local butchers Thomson Brothers Butchers to hear how their business has handled the challenges.
“There has been many changes in the business since the virus outbreak and lockdown. We have been extremely busy -especially with deliveries now as people are self isolating. We have had to put in many extra hours to accommodate all of our customers needs, some days we were doing 16 hour shifts to keep things going. It has since calmed down, however we are still quite busy and have lots of new customers
We now only have a maximum of 2 customers in the shop at any one time. It has also had a positive impact on our social media, we have lots more customers messaging us to place orders and for any queries. Our page views have also had a boost gaining approx 300 new page likes. Overall it has been quite challenging at times with how busy we have been particularly as a small family business – however we always manage to cope and we do the best we can to ensure customer satisfaction.”
Thank you to Premier Produce and Thomson Brothers Butchers for sharing their insights. We hope to be talking to more of our local heroes and will continue to champion them over the coming weeks and months, helping them to reshape the landscape post Covid-19.
By Sacha McKenzie
Creative Director nuUnlimited