As we pass through a month of social distancing, most of us are still adapting to changes in daily routines.
Positive and negatives of us keeping our distance are widely documented, as we try to come together whilst staying apart. How we communicate moved to mostly online platforms, of which there’s a wide range of choice (hello Zoom!).
The utilisation of these platforms varies significantly, of course, based on what you’re looking to achieve. You could even argue the opportunity to be socially active (or inability to avoid it all) has never been greater.
Food, however, has remained a constant market requirement. In terms of our consumption habits I’d say little has changed; what has changed is where we eat, how we acquire our food, and potentially where we acquire it from.
In our house during social distancing, where we acquire food from has been the biggest change.
Throughout ‘lockdown’, delivery slots from grocery stores have been hard to come by. Our parents, who are ‘at risk’ from the pandemic, weren’t initially prioritised for slots, so taking slots ourselves didn’t feel right. We then began venturing out multiple times a week for shopping, often only finding half of what we needed. Sometimes we had to travel to multiple shops at a time. Ultimately, this wasn’t a viable solution.
There is, of course, a broader point here; global supply chains are being widely affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Countries across the world are having challenges picking crops due to social distancing and processing plants are being shut down. At the same time, farmers are having to throw away 1000s of litres of milk, as demand from cafes and restaurants reduces to almost zero.
Add to this the increase in transport costs due to huge reductions in flights by global airlines, you can see why supply chains are challenged. As demand continues, there is the risk of food shortages and higher prices at the till.
In the spirit of collective responsibility, what can we – the consumers – do to support vulnerable relatives, take the pressure off supply chains, and eat well?
We can shop locally.
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve begun shopping from multiple sources; local producers delivering to your door. There’s a wider variety available now, from dairy, meat and veg, to takeaway meals, cakes, gelato and delicatessen items.
With the wide range of choice available for delivery across Oxfordshire, we should do what we can to embrace it.
The adventure we’ve been on exploring local producers and providers has been a fantastic experience. Maybe this could, once the challenging time has passed, create a big shift in how we shop and who we shop with.
I genuinely hope it will.
For providers, please do get in touch if you would like to be added to the Bitten database of local producers, caterers, events & groups.
A nod to my husband, Andrew Thorndyke, who co-authored this.