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With restaurants closed, food producers find 'salvation' in social media sales

Primary sector companies call themselves "greatly forgotten" industry of the pandemic

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25 October 2020 11:46 AM

by

Natacha Maurin | Barcelona

With bars and restaurants in Catalonia shut due to the coronavirus pandemic, farmers and other primary sector producers have found "salvation" in social media, which provided a shortcut to customers' dining tables.

The hospitality sector is the largest client for meat and dairy farmers, and their closure last Friday has greatly affected the supply chain leaving them with large amounts of unused stock.

Masia Ferreres, a producer of sustainable lamb in the Catalan town of Berga, close to the Pyrenees, usually sends 80% of their products to restaurants and the hospitality industry.

Last week, with the sudden restrictions on bars and restaurants, businesses such as Mas el Lladré, a family company selling dairy and meat products in the province of Girona in northern Catalonia, saw all their orders for restaurants canceled last Friday. 

  • "We can not break the cycle, we can not tell the animal to not eat during three weeks because coronavirus is happening and we are in an uncertain situation"

    Maria Àngels Capdevila · Masia Ferreres

However, like other businesses, they have turned to social media to regain sales, and have gained hundreds of online orders. 

One of the owners, Marina Puigcorbé explained that “social media was our salvation because we would not have reached the number of people needed to solve the problem.” The same has occurred with Masia Ferreres who now have “a waiting list until halfway through November.”

Despite this, Maria Àngels Capdevila from Masia Ferreres has lamented that they are “the greatly forgotten” sector of this pandemic. She explained that these sudden limits affect much more than just the bars they are aimed at. The entire supply chain behind it suffers.

She said that in her industry “we can not break the cycle, we can not tell the animal to not eat during three weeks because coronavirus is happening and we are in an uncertain situation.”

Online push led by youth

With the ban on the hospitality sector looking to last longer than the proposed 15 days, companies like Masia Ferreres and Mas el Lladres will have to continue their online sales.

Nonetheless, they have hope for the future of the business, as young people in the sector have been at the front of this push for more online sales and revindicating the importance of local products, helping to get their merchandise into big-box stores.

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  • Sheep in Masia de Ferreres, a farm in Catalonia's Berguedà county (by Estefania Escolà)

  • Sheep in Masia de Ferreres, a farm in Catalonia's Berguedà county (by Estefania Escolà)

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