UK supermarket chain Morrisons is set to re-open its fresh meat and fish counters this week to support British farmers and redirect meat sales that may have been lost due to closures in the foodservice sector.

From 30 April, consumers will be able to buy high-quality meat cuts, whole fish and shellfish that farmers are currently unable to sell to the foodservice sector.

Although this will help farmers move stock that they may otherwise have struggled to sell, it remains to be seen whether consumers who are on a tighter budget due to economic and employment uncertainty at this time will switch to buying more expensive fresh products.

In its recent Covid-19 tracker consumer survey – Week 4, Globaldata found that 46% of consumers in the UK now report being on a tight budget when shopping for products for their household. Due to this stricter budgeting, the majority of consumers may, therefore, not wish to switch to more premium fresh choices at this time.

In a press release, Morrisons CEO David Potts said: “This is a difficult time for the nation and it is a very difficult time for farmers and fishermen. We are the biggest supermarket customer for British farmers and they continue to provide very good quality British food in the face of very real challenges. We want to show our thanks for all their work in feeding the nation and encourage our customers to buy British food.”

Retailers may have the best intentions when it comes to supporting local farmers through the coronavirus pandemic but encouraging consumers to trade up on fresh produce at a time when stockpiling of store cupboard essentials has been prioritised may be a stretch too far for consumers.

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