A Consumer’s Guide to Food Delivery UK

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The Covid-19 pandemic struck the UK at the beginning of 2020 with unprecedented force. One of its most unwelcome side effects was the frenzied buying of frantic food shoppers, desperate to stock their cupboards at the expense of the most vulnerable in their community.

Empty supermarket shelves are the unfortunate consequence of panic buying. Despite reassurance of availability and good supply, supermarkets simply cannot restock the shelves at the rate of consumer demand.

To combat this, organisations and businesses have implemented measures to ensure that everyone has access to the provisions they need. To make it easier, we have summarised your options so you can find alternative ways to source your essential supplies:

Farm Shops, Delis and Independents offering Food Delivery

This option is advantageous because by supporting your local farm shops, you are helping individual food businesses stay afloat throughout this tumultuous time. Farm shops nearby have assured us that their goods are plentiful due to frequent food deliveries from local suppliers.

Most farm shops are exercising methods for those isolating or in lockdown such as doorstep deliveries. Bear in mind that these businesses are only delivering locally. BigBarn is a great online resource that helps you find local, independent food businesses. This company aims to connect communities with their local producers and encourage trade of more accountable, high-quality food.

Below are some ideas for Northern households:

  • Claremont Farm
    This Spital farm shop is taking email orders and packing boxes for non-contact collection or delivery.Their former café has been transformed into a packing station and the team are working around the clock to pack boxes for the community. Place your order over email with a contact telephone number.
  • Carl Liptrot
    This Northern kindling and firewood business has started delivering fruit and veg boxes free of charge to the Billinge, Rainford, Orrell, Upholland, Crawford, St. Helens and Wigan areas. To use, place an order via their website.
  • Pensby Fine Fruits
    The Wirral company is delivering veg, fruit and salad boxes locally.
  • Lewis & Cooper
    The Northallerton store is offering a phone and collect service from store between 9:00am and 4:30pm for those that want to order groceries online. The delis also remain open and they have dedicated an hour 8:00 – 9:00 am for vulnerable customers.

Supermarkets

Stores have implemented rules for shoppers, such as the 2-metre distancing rule when queueing outside or waiting at checkout. There may also be purchasing limits in place to discourage stock piling. Supermarkets have also asked for customers to pay with a card where possible and staff may sit behind protective screens at the tills. In terms of food delivery, supermarkets have asked people to be mindful of elderly and vulnerable customers that cannot shop in store. Some are prioritising online delivery slots for these customers.

Some food store giants have introduced dedicated shopping hours for NHS workers, the elderly and the vulnerable. Some have changed their opening hours to give workers enough time to restock the shelves for the next day. To simplify things, we have summarised everything you need to know. Please note that this table does not include Sunday hours:

Supermarket Opening Times NHS Staff The Elderly and Vulnerable
Morrisons* Check local Mon-Sat 7:00 – 8:00 Check local
Asda 8:00 – 20:00 Mon, Wed, Fri 8:00 – 9:00 Check local
Tesco Check local Sunday Before opening Mon, Wed, Fri 9:00 – 10:00
Sainsburys 8:00 – 20:00 Mon-Sat 7:30 – 8:00 Mon, Wed, Fri 8:00 – 9:00
Coop 7:00 – 20:00 Saturday 8:00 – 9:00 Saturday 8:00 – 9:00

*Morrisons
More and more people are choosing to shop online. Morrisons have launched a food box delivery service. The two options are vegetarian or meat, they cost £35 including delivery and feed two adults for one week. They contain essentials such as beans, rice and fresh vegetables.

Food Service Companies

This method is ideal for people who purchase wholesale quantities or cater for large families that have a high average spend.

  • Thomas Ridley
    With this company you can either collect in store or opt for home food delivery. Orders are delivered free over £250 and you do not need to create an account to place an order.
  • BidFood

This is a new service and therefore not available in all locations. If your postcode is eligible you can either click and collect with no minimum order or opt for delivery with a £100 minimum spend. Deliveries and collections operate on weekdays only and you can have your items delivered next day if the order is placed by 16:00 the day before.

  • Harlech
  • Brake

Food Wholesalers

  • Costco
  • Best Way Wholesale
  • Booker

Meal Box Delivery Services

The process is straightforward – simply choose your meals for the week and the ingredients will be delivered in exact quantities to your door. With people stock piling from supermarkets and likely throwing away perished food due to Covid-19, meal box deliveries are a great way to reduce food waste.

  • Riverford
    This is an ethical and organic meal box delivery service. They have been delivering high-quality produce such as fruit and vegetables for the past 30 years. They also offer an extensive range of nutritional meal boxes and recipe ideas.
  • Abel & Cole
    Another sustainable food service with an impressive organic offering and meal box supply.
  • Mindful Chef
  • Gousto
  • Hello Fresh
  • Allplants
  • Muscle Foods
  • Feast Box

Amazon Fresh

This home food delivery service is available for Prime members. Currently, Amazon Fresh is only available in certain postcode locations across the South of England. For a monthly fee, those eligible can shop for food online. Products include essential household items, fresh food and frozen perishables.

Amazon Fresh offers produce from supermarkets including Morrisons and Barts, as well as smaller and more specialised stores such as Whole Foods and local shops. An advantage of using this service is value for money. It adds £3.99 per month to your standard prime membership but minimum spend is £40 with no extra delivery fee.

There are different food delivery options available such as doorstep delivery, attended delivery and pickup. You can even opt for same-day delivery!

If you are not eligible for Amazon Fresh, it may be worth considering Amazon Pantry. This is available for all prime members that want to order dry food, household items and cosmetics. The only items you cannot buy are fresh and frozen food. The delivery cost is £3.99 per order.

Frozen Food Delivery Services

Traditional “meals on wheels” food delivery services are ideal for those that lack the means to prepare hot dinners themselves. Buyers can choose from hundreds of recipes and pay per meal. The meals are delivered frozen to load straight into the freezer. To prepare, simply follow the heating instructions.

  • Wiltshire Farm Foods
  • Oakhouse Foods
  • Cook
  • 365 Foods
  • Iceland
  • Chefonboard.com
  • gourmade.com


Takeaway Services

Most of our favourite food delivery services are still taking food orders, although some restaurants are only delivering locally so it is best to check first. Although some major restaurant chains have shut their doors, others are batch cooking for their local community and still accepting takeaway orders.

  • Deliveroo
  • Uber Eats
  • Just Eat
  • Food Hub
  • Dominoes

Specialist Online Retailers

This option is perfect for those that want high-quality culinary ingredients to use when cooking. It may also appeal to those that actively support online, independent businesses that could be struggling through the Covid-19 pandemic.

The premium spice retailer is still dispatching online orders within 24 hours. The company has gained a good reputation for selling high-quality specialist ingredients, baking products and cooking sauces. These lines are available on their website, Amazon, Ebay and independent farm shops and delis.

This company stocks worldwide recipe boxes that contain spices and ingredients to make deluxe three course meals to serve four people. They also stock a range of Power Pods, which are portion controlled spice mixes to use in one meal for four people.

The Welsh brand name translates to the more common title Anglesey Sea Salt. In 1997 owners of Wales’ largest aquarium noticed that seahorse colonies thrived in the seawater around the island. This led to their discovery of the world-renowned sea salt.

The business began in the family home back in 2007. The brand has taken off since its initial sale of cooking sauces to gravies, stocks, condiments and more.

Hopefully these options will reassure you if you are worried that food supplies are scarce. Although this is a surreal time of uncertainty and disillusion, it is a chance for communities to pull together by supporting businesses and sharing resources. Although your usual food delivery options might not be available, hopefully this article has given you inspiration to order your provisions from other places. 

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