Large retailers have seen a £2bn growth in sales in March alone.
This has sidelined small producers, from loss of profits to loss of produce. For those who supply supermarkets, the burgeoning demand for their products has provided a staggering increase in revenue. However, producers who sell through independent shops, markets and speciality food outlets are suffering immensely.  With 95% of sales attributed to only nine retailers, the epidemic has inflamed an already existing revenue imbalance[1] between large retailers and small independent businesses.

As the nation struggles, small businesses have risen to the challenge of feeding the country. The resilience and creativity demonstrated in the food and drink community has been astounding. From switching gin production to hand sanitiser, to introducing deliveries of sought after fresh food and feeding vulnerable people, small businesses have proved their adaptability and importance in the community. Yet with an estimated 33% loss in revenue for small food and drink business, the drastic decrease in profits could prove irreversible.

Here at ShelfNow, we have stepped up to the enormous challenge to keep the nation fed, while simultaneously providing essential opportunities for small producers. As 20% of UK households ordered online grocery deliveries between February and March this year, rising from the standard 7%, large retailers have struggled to keep up with the demand. From implementing virtual queuing systems to limiting the number of items ordered, COVID has influenced the way we shop. As two-thirds of Brits admit that they are concerned with the safety of supermarkets, the demand for online shopping has never been higher. While we focus on connecting independent producers with buyers, we recognised the need to open up our platform to individual households. Combating the threats to independent producers, we provide households with the ability to purchase products at affordable prices by selling larger quantities.

We have seen a pivot in consumption trends, with the current research promoting a correlation between food and health, consumers have made a move towards prioritising healthy food and drink. As a result of COVID, 57% of shoppers have stated that they are more aware of their immunity and 72% have said that they will try to consume more nutritious foods in the future. Previous pandemics have led the way in showcasing a sustained consumption shift towards healthy and nutritious food. Post-SARS, China saw an increase in the consumption of healthy foods and supplements as well as hygiene and personal care items [2] . Evident since the beginning of the pandemic is this government-backed reevaluation of the nations’ lifestyle. From recommending daily exercise to enjoying a nutritious diet, the push towards accessing health and wellbeing at the individual level is clear [3] .

As Monday marked the beginning of the reopening of non-essential shops , the ability to adapt to consumer trends is paramount. At ShelfNow we have prioritised health-conscious artisanal products, from fresh-pressed juices to award-winning hummus and fair trade ethically sourced Medjool dates, so that you can provide your customers with immunity-boosting and sustainably sourced produce.


[1] https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/food-coronavirus-wake-food-system-uk-government-a9480811.html

[2] https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/covid-19/covid-19--impact-on-food---beverage-consumer-products-companies.html

[3] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41430-020-0634-3