What’s your view on where your food comes from? Are you a ‘don’t care as long as it’s there’ kind of person or a ‘provenance purist’? Maybe you put value before values? Or you’re the ficklest of customers and simply go where the deal is?
One more thing that Covid-19 is responsible for is making us all think a bit more carefully about our shopping habits. And that’s largely because we haven’t been able to do what we normally do.
I’ve always been interested in both where food comes from and how it gets from A to B. Growing up on a farm, it goes with the territory. From field to fork as they say.
Unlike other parts of the consumer economy, we are all consumers of food. So what drives our shopping habits and how our buying decisions are influenced is really important. But when did you last think about food resilience when you took something off the shelf and popped it into your basket?
The chances are you didn’t pre Covid – but you might now. Because we’ve been shocked out of the standard supermarket sleepwalk shop, we are paying attention. We’ve probably all not been able to get hold of things recently because of that spike in buying behaviour when the virus took hold. Many of us have therefore asked why we couldn’t get what we wanted and will that happen again. For the first time since WW2 and rationing, customers have had to accept getting what’s there and available, not what they want.
I welcome the scrutiny. It’s important to understand how food supply chains work.
In reality, of course, that knee-jerk spike was sudden and short-lived and according to research from Kantar due to most people buying one or two extra items rather than the wholesale panic buying reported in some of the more reactionary press. Our impressive logistics capability and supply chain systems quickly ironed out the blip and, social distancing impositions aside, customers were soon back in the shops and getting nearly everything they wanted again.
What’s my point here? It’s this:
- Knowing and remembering where our food comes from is important – it’s not good to lose touch
- Logistics and supply chains are resilient because we have some of the best in the world – we have switched-on professionals and many fantastic businesses operating in this overlooked and under-rated sector
- The next time you clap for carers, spare a moment for the logistics supply chain workers too – they are likewise helping the nation to function
And above all else, recognise that, post Brexit, we need to invest in our logistics sector and businesses even more. Trade and our ability to conduct it competitively will determine our economic health in the decades ahead.
So when it comes to government and public support for our logistics sector, yes, I do want some more please…
Ben Copithorne is a director at Camargue