19 March 2020, 15:05 PM
  • Lisa Smith, owner of Ginger Bakers, Plumgarths, Kendal, Cumbria exclusively shares her experience with Speciality Food
Covid-19: producer perspective

The impact of Covid-19
There has been a very sudden drop off in sales, we supply the hospitality industry and the knock-on effect is enormous and very real. This firstly affects our employees, the psychological impact of the first couple of weeks of this crisis has been huge. Employees are unsure of both their work and home situations as we are waiting for further Government clarification on available support packages. As an employer I am responsible for my staff’s wellbeing at work, much of my time in the last few days has been spent looking for HR and insurance guidance to help them. The crisis and indeed the information around it is moving so fast that it’s begun to feel quite paralysing, especially while I wait for further information and clarification. It’s difficult to do any future planning when the focus is on the present and survival.

The importance of diversification
Diversification is an absolute must! We are a small nimble business, so change is relatively easy. We have already increased our offering to include smaller home sized packs. We are offering free delivery on all of our products. We are talking with other small producers about doing home deliveries jointly.

Selling online
We have an online offering already and we have seen an increase in sales in the last week. A positive to take away from this is that we have been forced to focus on our online sales, this is something we may have put off. Hopefully this sales channel will stay buoyant once we are out the other side and we begin to focus on the future.

Marketing to customers at home
Social media has a huge part to play, it is free for us to utilise and is powerful. We can get inside people’s homes we are increasing this activity. The message has changed slightly for now with an emphasis on how we can support each other, there is definitely a more passionate and upbeat tone to ours output and to that of other businesses.

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