iWeb has partnered with Foodservice Online and over 140 local food suppliers across the UK to create an initiative designed to help communities across the nation get better access to food supplies amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Local Food Drops connects the public with local suppliers offering essential supplies online with safe click and collect or delivery options available. It hopes to alleviate the pressures on supermarkets and give the most vulnerable the opportunity to get the supplies they need, safely and at wholesale prices.
According to new consumer research, one third of shoppers admit to stockpiling food in preparation for a major coronavirus outbreak, with 67% of shoppers voicing their feelings of concern about shops running out of groceries to feed their families.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said that there was “absolutely no need” for stockpiling, and advice from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has urged people not to leave their home, attend any gatherings, or go out shopping.
However, government guidance has fallen on deaf ears, as mass panic amid COVID-19 worries has caused a surge in panic buying, leaving supermarket shelves empty and some of the most at risk shoppers unable to buy supplies needed to safely self isolate.
Heddwyn Coombs, a director at iWeb said, “The scenes we have seen online have unsettled us. We believe that the best way to conquer the pandemic is by pulling together. In doing so, we are determined to give everyone, both young and old, the opportunity to purchase the supplies they need. Because no one deserves to go without whilst tackling this pandemic.”
Caterite, Turner Price and EFG Foodservice were among the first to join forces and offer their supplies to Local Food Drops, with many more coming forward to help their local communities.
He continues, “Local Food Drops’ website was constructed in just a few days by our team, working day and night to give communities the supplies they need sooner, rather than later. This is our attempt to help during the pandemic, whilst working closely with hospitals and local authorities to identify people who need us most.”
The initiative, which gives the vulnerable and elderly priority, allows consumers to order wholesale supplies at any time, with flexible delivery, drop off and pickup options across the country to enable families to safely self isolate as the UK prepares for the imminent lockdown. Spokespeople for Local Food Drops have vowed to help authorities and hospitals where possible, in order to protect key workers and those most at risk to the virus.