Your food community needs you: shopping local during COVID-19

Riverside Market Traders

At Christmas time, I blogged about the importance of shopping and eating local in order to keep things moving in our local economy. Well bloody hell, we’re only just a couple of months into 2020 and could that message be hitting home any harder than it is right now!?

The Coronavirus outbreak has our whole country in lockdown. Though no sufficient measures have been announced to protect our independent food, drink and hospitality businesses, people are still being told to stay away from pubs, bars restaurants, and other busy gatherings in the interests of their health, and food festivals (my favourite!) are cancelled for the foreseeable. In both the short term and the long run, this will have a devastating impact on our local food economy.

Note: This article contains mentions for some of my freelance PR clients, but it is not a sponsored post. 

Right now, more than ever, even amidst all of this chaos, it’s important that we all do what we can to support local and independent when it comes to the food and drink we buy. And that’s because;

  1. Buying Welsh supports local families

What’s that saying? Every time you buy from an independent business, an actual person does a happy dance. Yes, it sounds cheesy – but it’s definitely true. Small Welsh food and drink businesses are owned by local people, with local families to feed, so simply by choosing to spend money with them over this difficult time, you could make a big difference to whether make it through the Coronavirus outbreak, into the rest of 2020. We’ll leave the happy dancing until next year.

  1. Buying local keeps the Welsh economy moving

All that panic buying at the big multi-national supermarkets is damaging our local economy. Research suggests that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business, 63p will stay in the local economy; this figure drops to 40p when compared to every £1 spent with a larger business.

  1. Buying Welsh is more sustainable

Buying food and drink that has been flown halfway around the world carries with it a heavy carbon footprint. In contrast, when you buy from local producers – from butchers and bakers, to chocolatiers and cheesemakers – it is far more likely that the majority of their ingredients have had a shorter field-to-fork journey.

So how can you keep buying local during the COVID-19 crisis?

1. CHECK YOUR LOCAL HIGH STREET:

Chances are, your local baker / butcher / grocer is doing everything they can to stay open as long as possible. Riverside Farmers’ Markets are hanging on whilst they can, but including distancing measures and a separate time slot especially for the at-risk and elderly. Meanwhile, we’ve been getting all of our bread from Pettigrew Bakery since things kicked off (it’s two minutes walk from my house) – they’re busy baking and keeping the shelves stocked every day.

2. SHOP ONLINE:

Can’t get out? Then shop from the comfort of your couch; many independent Welsh food businesses take online orders – from Coaltown Coffee in Ammanford all the way up to Halen Mon in Anglesey. If you’d prefer to shop from a variety of brands and businesses all at once, check out DiscoverDelicious.Wales.  It’s an online marketplace which is home to over 70 producers collectively offering more than 1,500 deliciously different food and drink products; these range from craft gins and beers to premium meat boxes, artisan cheese selections and handmade Welsh cakes.

3. ORDER A TAKEAWAY:

Whilst chain fast-food brands often use the same suppliers no matter where they’re based around the UK, independents and smaller mini-chains are usually much more interested in sourcing their meat, fish and veggies from local suppliers. With many local restaurants pivoting to offer home deliveries in the face of the Coronavirus lockdown, the options at the moment are practically endless. Find My Dine currently have a good list, and I’m hoping this will be regularly updated as more businesses join in. Food Cardiff are also compiling a handy Twitter thread.

Finally, there are also many local restaurants offering gift vouchers for sale, which can be redeemed when this whole shit storm blows over. Until then, I hope that this has been a helpful guide and that everyone is holding up ok. Stay safe x

A note for any small Welsh producers reading this post:

DiscoverDelicious.Wales is an online marketing platform and marketplace for independent Welsh food & drink. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, they are keen to hear from brands and small businesses not already listed on the site, who may be struggling during the lockdown. They are waiving all commission charges for all producers on the site –  meaning they can benefit from Discover Delicious’ marketing efforts completely free of charge. The site receives an average of 10,000 visits every month and listed producers benefit from heavyweight digital advertising, as well as access to a community of over 15,000 social followers & newsletter subscribers, and an average monthly social reach of over 100,000. To speak to Discover Delicious about getting a product listed on the website, please contact: hello@discoverdelicious.wales.

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