Consumers concerned over UK food security
As the number of cases of coronavirus accelerates in the UK and panic-buying continues, research has revealed a new appreciation among consumers, with 75 percent of shoppers believing it is vital we build strong local food networks.
According to a survey conducted by the Free Range Dairy Network, 68 percent of consumers have said they now realise how important the domestic food supply is, while 63 percent feel the COVID-19 crisis has made them more aware of the importance of supporting British farmers.
The study also identifies that 57 percent of Brits are concerned about the impact the pandemic will have on food security. As a result of this, 75 percent of those asked said they felt it is vital that we build strong local food networks to safeguard domestic food supplies.
More than half of UK shoppers are currently buying food from local suppliers, the research revealed. This trend follows growing concern over food security due to the pandemic. Interestingly, 63 percent of Brits claimed that they will continue to buy local produce once the pandemic is over, potentially fuelling a resurgence for regional food produce as part of the new normal.
When asked, 75 percent of those surveyed expressed gratitude towards the UK’s farming industry, claiming that they are relieved that British farmers can continue to produce fresh milk and dairy in light of the current crisis and are now more aware of the importance local produce plays in keeping the nation healthy.
“Fears about the spread of coronavirus have sharply focused everyone’s attention on the availability of food,” Carol Lever, director at Free Range Dairy Network stated. “Panic buying has highlighted the frailties of our modern supply chain and we can no longer afford to be complacent about how and where our food is produced.
“As supermarkets are overwhelmed with a rush to buy, people have been forced to hunt for food from small, local outlets. Farmers and local suppliers are rising to the challenge. Farmers have been under the spotlight in recent months, as questions arise about climate change and cows, with some even suggesting we no longer need British farmers. But responses to our survey highlight how people are now putting food security at the top of the agenda and are grateful for the work farmers are doing to keep the nation fed.”