We are delighted that the North East Food and Drink sector has rallied around our ‘Local Heroes’ virtual market initiative. Local businesses large and small have reached deep to help us meet our initial £5,000 target in only 72 hours.
Food and Drink North East (FADNE) consulted with over 165 food and drink producers from across our region. Asking them how the COVID-19 crisis will effect their businesses. The results were startling, to say the least, with many stating the resultant down-turn in trade would mean they could go out of business within one to three months.
The current crisis has changed everything, at least in the short-term, leaving many of our local producers fighting for survival. With retailers and routes to market closing down many are sitting on stock they cannot sell.
If something is not done to stimulate trade and kick-start cashflow we are at real risk losing many of our most innovative businesses. Devastating our regional economy and food identity as well as triggering job losses totalling anywhere between 750 and 1850+.
Food and Drink North East is creating the Local Heroes initiative. An online food market that promotes, sells and delivers high-quality local North East food and drink to homes and people across our region.
As well as helping local businesses large and small each Local Heroes order will include a 10-15% ‘community premium’ to ensure we can supply free boxes and meals to the most vulnerable and hardest hit in our communities such as low-income families, the socially isolated, NHS staff etc.
This initiative is a proactive and coordinated response. The aim is to connect local people to local food like never before. But time is of the essence if we are to help. Our plans are taking shape and we intend to launch very soon.