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Has the snow affected the industry?

Posted on 3rd December 2010 in Industry News
Written by: Jen Dugdale

There’s something initially exciting about being snowed in…and then it starts to drive you mad. Little things you don’t think of like what happens when you run out of milk and you live in the sticks?

The obvious things you would consider when you think of the affect snow has on the country is public transport, traffic, working from home, etc. You wouldn’t necessarily think of the effect it has on foodservice and food retail.

Here’s a few ways in which snow can be crippling or even a blessing in disguise:

1. Supermarket madness
When you run out of food, you go to a supermarket and stock up. When there’s snow and all of a sudden you can’t drive anywhere, this can become a problem. Customers can’t get to the shops, staff can’t get there to run the shops, and all of a sudden you have an empty supermarket with shelves that are gathering dust. It’s frustrating because you need the things it can give you but you simply can’t reach them.

2. Corner shops to the rescue
This brings me on to the life-savers that are small convenience stores and village shops. For those of us who live a hefty distance away from shops and supermarkets, it’s unbearable to think what will happen when we run out of milk. If it wasn’t for convenience stores we’d all be snowed in with black tea and dry cereal. The cost of shopping in these places can be pricey compared to what we’re used to, but without them we could all go very hungry…

3. A supplier nightmare
These convenience stores are great for snow days; that is if they receive the stock they’re expecting. We often don’t think about how shops receive their goods, we just expect it there on the shelves when we go to pick it up. But if the food supply is stuck in a lorry which is stuck on a motorway somewhere in the snow, you could find the shelves a lot emptier than you’d hope.

4. Fancy a take-away?
If for the last few days you’ve lived on corner shop specials like pot noodles, tins of spaghetti and soup, a good take away can be a godsend. If you’re lucky enough to be within walking distance to one (which, let’s face it, is quite common these days), there’s something quite appealing about being snowed in with a Chinese or some fish and chips. It’s strange because we don’t lose our cooking abilities or facilities, but a lack of daily routine means that normal meals can sometimes go out the window.

5. Cancel my reservation
Whilst takeaways might see an influx of hungry customers, restaurants are likely to receive hundreds of cancellations, particularly during the company Christmas party season. When there’s snow on the ground and people are struggling to get around, going out for dinner seems to be the last thing on your mind. It’s a shame because a comfort-food meal next to a log fire with a glass of wine sounds like the perfect accompaniment to a snow day to me!

These are just a few examples of how foodservice and food retail can be hit with the snow and contribute to the £1 billion a day loss to the UK economy. Fingers crossed it will subside for now and come back on Christmas day for a change!

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