Soil Association expands support to organic businesses during pandemic
Soil Association Certification has announced an expansion of its digital presence to support organic farmers and businesses through Covid-19
In response to the ongoing pandemic, the organisation has created a range of online resources, webinars and remote inspections to support its licensees.
In addition to launching the Covid-19 Support Hub, Soil Association Certification is also launching a new home delivery hub to support businesses that have been forced to move from their usual distribution channels to sell direct.
Over the coming weeks, Soil Association Certification says it will be sharing more resources, including learnings from organic businesses and a wide range of webinars, panel discussions, articles and organic learning sessions, covering everything from managing your social media to building a brand in a crisis. In addition to this wide range of online resources, the certification body has also been offering remote inspections to ensure business runs smoothly for existing licensees and that they can continue to offer organic food with integrity at this time.
Despite the challenges facing the entire 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 per cent increase in sales in March. Appetite for box schemes, which play to organic’s key strengths in promoting local-sourcing and sustainability, has grown rapidly, with traffic to Soil Association’s online box scheme and indie listings pages increasing by 900 per cent in March and April compared to January and February.
Clare McDermott, Business Development Director at Soil Association Certification, commented: “Soil Association Certification is expanding its 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 see digitalisation as core to our service – we’ve implemented technology-led remote inspections to ensure our existing clients can be inspected, maintaining integrity and their certification, and are supporting with new online routes to market and sharing best practice.
“We expect shoppers will continue buying organic from home delivery post Covid-19 as they continue to look for many of the benefits which organic products deliver on – natural, healthy and tasty food and drink that’s been sourced and farmed with care.”