SOUTH AFRICA – The Harvest Table, South African maker of pure whole and functional foods-majorly operating an online business, registered six-times growth in its turn-over in 2020 propelled by rise in demand of health and nutritious foods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, movement restrictions aimed to curb the spread of the virus made consumers to shift to more safer and convenient channels of accessing supplies which led to the burgeoning of ecommerce and online deliveries.

According to the owner and founder of the company Catherine Clark, the business was well positioned to reap the benefits of the growth of the eCommerce segment, as they had prior to the pandemic built a strong online reputation and fostering trust with its followers.

“So, when customers changed their shopping habits during lockdown, we were well set up and ready to service them,” states Catherine.

“Many people began to take their health and wellness more seriously and added more health foods and supplements into their monthly shopping basket,” she added.

According to a research conducted by Irish Food and Ingredients Company Kerry, 65 percent of functional beverage consumers are more worried about their health since the start of the pandemic.

Furthermore, when asked about the health concerns that have become more prominent to them since the emergence of COVID-19, 59 percent of respondents cited immunity, while 50 percent said mental health is now a priority.

“So, when customers changed their shopping habits during lock-down, we were well set up and ready to service them.”

Owner and Founder of The Harvest – Table Catherine Clark

According to Kerry, this trend will continue in the future beyond COVID-19 as consumers will be seeking more products that deliver benefits in areas such as immunity, digestive health, mental health, and cognitive health being.

Harvest attained the remarkable growth at a time that the pandemic affected businesses across the world, forcing many to either adapt or close down.

In fact, a survey revealed that 76% of South African businesses lost revenue due to the pandemic.

Despite the growth, Catherine notes that it did not happen abruptly as by March, when the COVID-19 pandemic was announced to be a global pandemic, she was forced to send staff home due to lockdown restrictions.

But the shift was short-lived as the public started to gravitate more towards online shopping and by April 2020 its online sales has tripled, which led to the need to increase capacity from five staff members to 24.

Other than rise in demand of health foods and growth of online businesses, the company head attributes the good performance to deliberate focus on customer experience.

This they deliver by ensuring that every customer receives their parcel correctly, timely and with a hand-written note that inspires them to keep on their journey to health and wellness.

“We don’t always get this right, but we are quick to admit when we’re wrong and work quickly to resolve any problems that arise. All of these things collectively resulted in satisfied customers who couldn’t wait to tell their friends about us,” Catherine highlighted.

Being a newly formed and fairly small business also worked to their advantage as they were able to easily adapt to the new changes in the environment and make quick decisions.

“Growth in unprecedented times is tough, but we’ve learnt that success is possible when you are agile, have fun, put your customer first and are able to adapt!” Catherine concludes.

Recently Harvest Table launched a new range of shakes targeting children below 12 years of age, with each containing prebiotics, probiotics, protein, magnesium, barley grass juice, and lion’s mane mushrooms, flavoured with chocolate or blueberry.

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