Independents adapt for local communities

AS part of its wide-ranging support for small retailers and producers during the Covid-19 crisis, the Guild of Fine Food has been gathering and sharing ideas from across the UK’s independent food and drink retail community.

With many in the south west nimbly adapting their offerings, the Guild hopes these stories will inspire the sector and shine a spotlight on the small businesses that are stepping up to become part of the solution.

Among those providing a vital lifeline to people across the region, is Landrace Bakery in Bath, which is now taking orders via WhatsApp for delivery by bicycle within 1.25 miles, while also extending its range to include meat, vegetables and handmade pasta, along with its traditional sourdough bread.

Others include Darts Farm in Devon, which delivered Easter tuck boxes to Exeter Foodbank, containing  items such as hot cross buns, fruit and crisps, and Gloucester Services, which donated cheese, Easter eggs and other goodies to NHS staff and their families at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

While waving the flag for the agile independents going the extra mile to ensure that shoppers can get the provisions they need, the Guild of Fine Food has also created a dedicated Covid-19 online resource, offering tailored information, advice and tips for the fine food trade.

Open to all, the webpage features a live map of food and drink businesses that have stock available or need supplies, connecting producers, distributors and retailers, as well as suppliers of equipment and services.

The food industry can also sign up to receive the Guild of Fine Food’s new support bulletin via email, which will feature content specifically relevant to independent food retailers, the producers who supply them and the consumers who support them.

John Farrand, the Guild managing director, says: “We could all do with some positive news at the moment and the independent food scene is coming up with the goods in more ways than one. It fills me with pride to see how our members and the wider retail market have adapted their businesses overnight, in order to serve their customers more effectively and safely during this period. I encourage everyone to check out what their local delis, cheesemongers, butchers and bakers are doing and use the hashtag #supportlocal on social media to share their stories.”

Visit the Guild’s Covid-19 support website www.gff.co.uk/support