Retail data firm Kantar reported a one third decline in the number of supermarket trips involving a visit to a deli, meat or fish counter in the 12 weeks to November 1.
The biggest factor in the demise of the supermarket counter is, according to Catherine Shuttleworth, of retail marketing agency Savvy, our hunger for speed and convenience. She said, “When it comes to fresh food, we want to shop conveniently.
We tend to buy meals for tonight, so we’re much more driven by short-term buying – and don’t always go to the supermarket but to smaller convenience stores that don’t have counters.”
Instead, as reported in the Daily Telegraph, local high streets thrived during April and May, and sales at some butchers were up as much as 50pc. Even now, sales remain higher than usual. In the past three months about 2m households visited an independent butcher, 100,000 more than this time last year. As retail analyst Andy Crossan of Kantar noted, “Many people have realised just how much they value their local retailers and are making a conscious effort to support them.
Farm Shops have also become vital to their local communities. It is clear that the public are keen to support local farmers as well as small independent businesses. Most farm shops have stepped up the range of locally sourced fresh produce for their community; some offering a free delivery service for those unable to make the journey.
There is clearly a growing need for more independent food outlets. Places for people to walk to as we are more aware of the health benefits, including our general wellbeing from getting out into green spaces for our daily exercise, and restoring our inner calm, as well as cutting down on food miles and pollution.
Plans for Ote Hall farm shop and restaurant will include an all embracing venue to shop local, enjoy tasty meals in a cosy and welcoming setting, as well as the opportunity to enjoy our very beautiful, historic and ancient farm.
Ote Hall Farms have always been managed to the highest standards, including the ecology, environment, flora and fauna, and improving our soils and woodlands. We also maintain the highest welfare standards for our grass fed Sussex beef cattle.
The so called ‘blue sky thinkers’, so regularly quoted by the press, media and farming press, who believe they are about to ‘revolutionise’ British farming and the countryside, by ‘educating’ farmers on how to manage our farms, are light years behind the curve.
With the exception of some notable industrial sized intensively farmed ‘production units’, the British countryside is in fact remarkable, and beautiful because of the farmers who have managed the land for generations, not in spite of them.
More worrying is the carnage we are now seeing, not just along the route of HS2, where ancient woodland is being felled to make way for this railway, which, due to fast changing working habits, will be underutilised by the time it is completed. Tragically we can also see the very same destruction happening on our door step.
How can it be right that developers about to build thousands of homes south of Haywards Heath are allowed to fell the wonderful ancient oak trees along Isaacs Lane? Surely there are preservation orders on these beautiful trees. Where are the preservation and conservation officers when you need them? How can this carnage have been allowed? Someone should be held accountable to the local community who are in utter despair, and weep as they drive by.
This is neither progress or acceptable, it is pure vandalism.
To read Carola’s columns in full, go to: www.carolagodmanirvine.com