The Government has relaxed restrictions surrounding supermarket home deliveries as more and more consumers look to stockpile on essentials following a growing number of coronavirus cases in the UK.
Defra secretary, George Eustice, has said that by allowing night-time deliveries from supermarkets, it will ensure shelves in supermarkets remain stocked while also allowing products to move more quickly from warehouses to shelves.
Currently, home deliveries are restricted overnight in order to avoid disturbing residents, however, following a meeting between leading supermarkets and Eustice which resulted in the Government saying it would work with supermarkets and the supply chain to combat stockpiling issues.
“Our retailers have well-established contingency plans in place and are taking all the necessary steps to ensure consumers have the food and supplies they need.
Eustice said: “We have listened to our leading supermarkets and representatives from across the industry, and we are taking action to support their preparations.”
“By allowing night-time deliveries to our supermarkets and food retailers, we can free them up to move their stocks more quickly from their warehouses to their shelves.
“Our retailers have well-established contingency plans in place and are taking all the necessary steps to ensure consumers have the food and supplies they need. I will continue to work closely with them over the coming days and weeks on this.”
Andrew Opie, director of food & sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, added: “We welcome all efforts by Government to provide supermarkets with greater flexibility in the way they supply their stores. While there is plenty of stock available, the challenge for retailers has been to make sure all of it reaches shelves at the earliest opportunity. It is essential that government continues to engage on other ways to alleviate the challenges for retailers.”
This follows the news of leading supermarkets, such as Tesco and Ocado, saying they would be restricting sales of essential items in order to give everyone access to essential items.
In Tesco, customers are limited to buying only five of certain products, such as antibacterial gels, dry pasta and tinned vegetables.
Tesco tweeted its rationale behind the decision, saying: “We know there’s demand for certain products at the moment and we’re working really hard to maintain availability of those to help customers.
“We have taken a common-sense approach to make sure everyone can assess essentials and have introduced a maximum purchase limit (5 per customer) on a few items. Products include: anti-bac gel, wipes, sprays, bleach, dried pasta, UHT milk, tinned veg, kids medications & water.
“Any other items outside the restriction will be monitored through the store manager’s discretion to ensure fairness to all customers.”