Interest in Buying British overtakes Buying Organic for UK consumers
Organic credentials are a fixture of the modern supermarket, as too are the calls to “buy organic.”
The fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, however, has accelerated the return of another kind or intentional purchase: in the UK, we’ve seen ‘Buying British’ grow as a quality valued by consumers, to the extent that it’s overtaken organic produce as a topic of interest.
The two qualities are firmly entrenched as emotional pressure points for UK consumers, but at two different levels – with organic mostly hovering in the 1k mentions/day, while British only a fraction of that: ‘Buying British’ was only able to close the gap in the period between Christmas and New Year, something likely attributable to the sense of place and tradition that’s inherent to both the holiday and its food.
COVID-19 has since created a unique set of conditions that have made ‘Buying British’ emerge as the idea with the deeper cultural penetration to help the economy and save jobs.
— Fiona Graham (@fionagraham13) May 7, 2020
To some extent, this is practical. After all, global supply chains have been impacted by reduced movement, but for the most part, however, the issue is one rooted in emotion.
A rise of patriotic feeling engendered by this crisis appears to have overflowed into several different areas, shopping habits among them. Running in parallel to this is the souring perception in the UK of some countries, most significantly China, but also the EU.
Additionally, the increasingly stark financial outlook for farmers has further reinforced the notion ‘Buying British’ as something morally virtuous, upon which livelihoods depend.
Despite this, it’s important to acknowledge that ‘Buying British’ has not supplanted organic produce as a key idea, but rather joined it as topic of importance. The association of both qualities with good health and wholesome living are especially impactful during a health emergency. To a lesser extent, a dispersion of urbanites around the nation has created a closer geographical, and perhaps emotional, bond between individuals and farms.