Soil Association launches raft of online resources for organic food businesses during COVID outbreak
As sales of organic food have risen during the COVID-19 lockdown, Soil Association Certification is expanding its digital presence to support organic farmers and businesses during the crisis.
With the UK organic market set to reach more than £2.5bn in sales in 2020, the country’s main organic certification body has launched a range of online resources including a home delivery hub, webinars and remote inspections.
The organisation claims that traffic to Soil Association’s online box scheme and indie listings pages increased by 900% in March and April compared to January and February amid widespread evidence that the COVID-19 outbreak is speeding up digitisation across all aspects of our lives.
Clare McDermott, business development director at Soil Association Certification, said: “We are expanding our range of digital resources to ensure licensees are not only prepared to weather this crisis – but that they can continue to thrive in an increasingly digitalised world.
“We expect shoppers will continue buying organic from home delivery post COVID-19.”
The move is intended to help organic food businesses during the coronavirus pandemic with resources covering topics such as building a brand in a crisis, social media management and setting up home delivery for the first time, and remote inspections to ensure business runs smoothly for existing licensees and that they can continue to offer organic food with integrity.
Despite the challenges facing the food and farming sector, many organic businesses have reported a surge in demand, with organic sales rising significantly in March and continuing to outperform non-organic. Processors supplying into supermarkets experienced a 25.6% increase in sales in March.
Patrick O’Flaherty of Pip Organic, Soil Association Certification licensee, said: “Like most businesses supplying to the hospitality sector necessary restrictions have meant distribution has been dramatically reduced – however, our sales to multiple, independent and online retail have increased, with our online sales channels growing week on week, even as the food retail market returns to some degree of normality.”
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