Festive farm shops are a big draw

Festive shoppers seeking comfort and joy are flocking to farm shops for their Christmas goodies, according to research from a leading rural insurer.

NFU Mutual has revealed that, starved of friendly contact after months of pandemic, nine out of ten shoppers have highlighted friendly service as the main reason they would use farm shops and local retailers this Christmas.

Seventy percent of people surveyed believed farm shops offered fresher, better quality produce – while eight out of 10 who plan to use farm shops said they would do so to support local businesses and the economy.

Environmental concerns were another reason many shoppers planned to buy local. Two thirds of those surveyed said they prefer farm shops because they provide food from sustainable sources with lower ‘food miles’.

“Christmas is all about spreading good cheer and farm shops provide that in abundance with friendly service, great locally-grown produce and a relaxed atmosphere,” said Rebecca Davidson, Rural Affairs Specialist with the Mutual.

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“It’s great to see so many people planning to use farm shops this Christmas after the huge amount of work they put in to stay open and rose to the challenge of massive demand through the lockdowns.”

She said that whether farm shops delivered fresh produce to a vulnerable customer, sourced local flour for home bakers, or were there for a friendly chat over the counter at a lonely time – rural retailers had transformed their businesses and came into their own over Coronavirus.

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