Last April we conducted a survey with Censuswide UK (April 2020) we found that:
- 75.40% of people hope that British farmers can continue to produce fresh milk and dairy in the current crisis.
- 74.10% believe it is vital that we build strong local food networks to safeguard domestic food supplies.
- 68.30% say the Coronavirus pandemic has made them realise how important our domestic food security is to them.
- 54% say they are more likely to buy local produce because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Reflecting on last year’s market research, is this still relevant for the consumer of today and the future?
Support for British dairy farmers
Due to the pandemic, consumers recognize wellbeing as a vital concern. As we move out of lockdown, research is showing that people will become more serious about decreasing the health risks connected to unhealthy eating. Superfoods can boost your mood, soothe anxiety, combat depression and support your mental health. Milk (whole milk) is a fantastic superfood option for people of all ages because it combines carbohydrate, fat and protein. Having milk will ensure that your body gets all the nine essential vitamins and minerals that are necessary for your health.
This combined with the redefining of ‘essential’ means that consumers will look for more products and services that have mental and emotional health benefits, including looking for more functional food and drink.
A great way to support traditional family dairy farms that commit to giving their cows the freedom to graze in fields and enjoy the taste of ‘proper milk’, is to look for the Pasture Promise logo on milk. Grazing is a great way to farm in harmony with nature and the Pasture Promise is the only logo on milk to give you a clear assurance it only comes from cows free to graze for a minimum of 180 days a year.
A glass of free range milk full of vitamins, calcium, protein, healthy fats, omegas, and iodine is good for you, ticking the health and wellbeing part, combined with how it’s produced, brings an all-round positive way to support free range dairy farmers in the UK.
We’re exploring QR codes on our new milk label, as we know more and more consumers want to know where their milk comes from and how has it been produced.
Strong local food networks
Research shows that consumers are looking for enhanced experiences and food that encourages healthy eating, so food becomes multisensory as well as functional. This offers consumers moments of comfort and support, and what better way than a great milk to go with your artisan coffee beans, or creamy unhomogenised milk in your porridge.
Supporting Free Range Dairy farmers, local bakeries, coffee shops and others is a way to strengthen local food networks that has sustained us through the pandemic.
Even Monopoly is looking at changing their community cards, and exploring the idea of shopping local as a way to gain a monetary boost and better reflect modern society.
To ensure a strong and sustainable local economy foundation people need to buy locally. Research shows that £10 spent with a local independent shop means up to an additional £50 goes back into the local economy.
This is because the local shop owners and businesses live locally too, so the money goes back into other local businesses and the community though local pubs, restaurants coffee shops, and as the money circulates it allows the community to thrive.
Small, local businesses are also the largest creator of jobs in the communities. We’ve seen this with Free Range Dairy farmers starting vending machines, as they become more popular, they take on local people to help with their expansion. Making for a better place to live and work which then creates a healthy economy for the community.
Our domestic food security
We are already seeing a new definition of what we consider essential. I remember when the word essential was used in relation to price but now there are the ‘New Essentials’ of wellbeing, health, environment, trust, food security. These essentials are the values more of us are looking for in the we buy food today. It is quality redefined according to Mintel,
“When it comes to value, pandemic-shocked consumers are seeking a return to what is essential,” states Mintel. “Consumers are now focused on minimal consumption and getting the best returns from their purchases.”
As consumers focus more on getting the best value for their money, being able to support local and support dairy farmers is all part of protecting our domestic food security. Buying from Free Range Dairy farmers to recreate your coffee experience at home for example is a great way to support locally produced food.
For 2021, food trends such as comfort and simplicity, due to the pandemic, and everyone looking for a sense of comfort and normalcy, can go a long way to support food produced, grown, and made in a sustainable way in the UK.
Our survey showed that people were starting to buy local. Now a year later, after lockdown and the growing number of people working from home, the growth in local shopping, Deloitte believes will continue beyond the pandemic.
This is a great way for consumers to really engage with local producers and gather a better understanding of how their milk, dairy and other food products were produced.
We’ve seen a rise in sales of Pasture Promise free range milk from vending machines in lockdown and a closer relationship with our food has to be positive. Better for the farmers, the animals, and the environment. You also know where the money goes when you buy more directly from local producers.
The trends we saw emerge last year are continuing into 2021 and beyond, and that has to be a good thing. It’s a way to offer farmers a better relationship with the people that consume their food. Consumers want to know how that food was produced, so supporting more greener practices can change how to produce our food at a time when we have growing concerns about climate change, biodiversity and the environment.
Having green credentials as a PR exercise is just not acceptable anymore. Consumers expect it as standard, and it’s not just sustainability and ethical business practices consumers care about, new government targets on greenhouse gas emissions, recycling and greener farming practices are also changing food production.
Meaning that as we move out of lockdown we expect so much more from our food experience and the people producing it, and as that’s joined with greener farming practices, then that’s a huge positive to take from this difficult year.