03 August 2020, 08:00 AM
  • For specialist retailers, food boxes present a novel way to get your products in front of consumers
Food boxes offer new opportunities for indies

With food boxes soaring in popularity, supermarket chain Morrisons has taken the opportunity to launch a Yorkshire Box packed with classic products from the county ahead of Yorkshire Day.

The box will include staples such as Yorkshire Tea, as well as local favourites like Andrew Jones Pork Pie, Shepherds Purse Yorkshire Fettle, Shaws Caramelised Red Onion Chutney and Grandma Wild’s cookies and biscuits.

The model is undoubtedly a successful one, and Morrisons has sought to cash in not only on different consumer segments, such as families, vegans, gluten-free and fitness enthusiasts, but also on events and occasions, such as Yorkshire Day and VE Day, which the supermarket launched two different food boxes ahead of.

On its website, Morrisons says its occasion boxes can help bring families together during the coronavirus pandemic: “Food is often at the heart of a traditional get-together. Celebrating those special occasions with our friends and family has become more of a challenge under the current circumstances. Whether you order a themed box to enjoy with your household, team up with friends and family who’ve ordered a box too, or send a box as a surprise and share the celebration via social media our Occasions Food Boxes are a way of sharing a meal together – whilst apart.”

While the food and meal box trends have certainly been boosted by the lockdown, according to Timo Boldt, who founded meal delivery box Gousto, the trend is here to stay. “The UK recipe box market has come of age, with the recent lockdown accelerating structural trends that were already firmly under way,” he told The Times in an interview. “We have maintained record sales, even with the progressive easing of lockdown restrictions, and view this shift as part of a wider permanent redrawing of the grocery landscape.”

With that in mind, it will be important for farm shops and speciality food retailers to consider how they can cash in on a similar model. By bundling certain products together around meals, customer preferences, or special occasions and offering simple online shopping and delivery options, the food box segment offers a clear opportunity for independent shops.

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