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‘Lockdown’ shopping could be here for good as meat deliveries boom

Rob Morton, owner of Morton�s Family Farm, based in Skeyton. Picture: Morton's

Rob Morton, owner of Morton�s Family Farm, based in Skeyton. Picture: Morton's

Archant

‘Lockdown’ patterns of buying food could be here to stay even after the pandemic is over, a north Norfolk meat farmer has said.

Rob Morton, owner of Morton�s Family Farm, based in Skeyton. Picture: Morton'sRob Morton, owner of Morton�s Family Farm, based in Skeyton. Picture: Morton's

Rob Morton, a third-generation farmer who runs Morton’s Family Farm at Skeyton, said deliveries of meat had boomed since the lockdown started.

Mr Morton, whose farm has specialised in free-range poultry and grass fed meats in 1998, said there were a couple of reasons to believe the online shopping trend would continue.

He said: “People will still be a bit nervous to go out to eat at restaurants. A lot of people want to take comfort in knowing where their food is coming from and who is handling it and right now, that means as few people as possible.

“Additionally, with UK staycations set to become hugely popular until travel is deemed safe, online ordering allows farmers to potentially sell to tourists renting out holiday homes in the UK.”

Rob Morton, owner of Morton�s Family Farm, based in Skeyton. Picture: Morton'sRob Morton, owner of Morton�s Family Farm, based in Skeyton. Picture: Morton's

Mr Morton said few sectors had been shaken up by the pandemic as dramatically as the food industry.

He said: “In the past couple of months, we’ve seen drastic changes to consumer behaviour when it comes to how they eat, from no longer dining out at pubs and restaurants, panic buying at the supermarkets, and the rise of fresh meat and veg boxes delivered, contactless, straight to your door.”

He said ordering directly from farmers helped take pressure off the national food chain, which was “vulnerable at the best of times”.

Mr Morton said: “Throw a global pandemic into the mix and the food chain can very easily breakdown.

Food service, even prior to lockdown, was feeling the pressure and many restaurants, pubs, cafes noticed huge drops in business.

“Huge operations such as McDonald’s closing their doors had a huge impact on farmers across the country and almost overnight the entire food service and catering industries had gone, leaving farmers with a huge amount of produce and a relatively short shelf life, so they have adapted and have been forced to find new avenues in which to sell.”

He added: “If there are less people in the food chain, there is a smaller chance of it breaking down. A smaller food chain means less people handling your food and less issues overall.”


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