As the number of cases of Coronavirus accelerates in the UK and worried shoppers’ clear supermarket shelves of household staples, 68% of consumers in Yorkshire and the Humber say they now realise how important our domestic food supply is. That’s according to new research by Free Range Dairy Network, which shows that nearly two thirds (63%) of consumers in the region feel the crisis has made them more aware of the importance of supporting British farmers.
The study revealed that 51% of consumers in Yorkshire are concerned about the impact the pandemic will have on food security. As a result of this, 69% of those asked said they felt it is vital that we build strong local food networks to safeguard domestic food supplies.
Over half of shoppers in the region (56%) are currently buying food from local suppliers, following growing concern about food security due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Interestingly, 63% of Yorkshire Brits claimed that they will continue to buy local produce once the pandemic has died down, potentially fuelling a resurgence for regional food produce as part of the new normal.
When asked, 71% 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.
Carol Lever, director at Free Range Dairy Network, states: “Fears about the spread of Coronavirus have sharply focused everyone’s attention on the availability of food. 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.
Yorkshire based farmer, Andrew Ayrton, adds: “It’s really encouraging to see a shift in mindset of consumers, who are now showing their support towards local producers. The last couple of weeks’ have been tough for everyone. Businesses like offices and coffee shops who normally take our milk have closed but we remain dedicated to operating our farm to ensure we continue to supply Yorkshire and beyond with great tasting Pasture Promise free range milk. “