The coronavirus crisis has hit all aspects of the food industry hard. With restaurants closed (some are still offering a takeaway service), many chefs, waiters and other hospitality workers have been laid off or furloughed. Food producers, wholesalers and retailers have likewise been affected, particularly those who in better times focus their supplies on restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes.
Yet the hospitality and food industries are nothing if not resilient. Adaptable, too. Producers across the country, from single-product farmers to big restaurant suppliers, and from breweries to cheese-makers, are now offering direct-to-home orders. And taking them up on this offer is a brilliant way of supporting manufacturers, staying away from busier supermarkets, and simply ensuring a steady supply to your home of delicious food and drink.
There are apps facilitating the process. Foodchain is normally a marketplace for chefs to access the best produce they need. Since Covid-19, the app has been reworked to give regular consumers access to meat, fish, dairy, fruit, veg and more. Delivery costs depend on the supplier, but many will send for free if you meet a minimum order, and usually within one to three days.
Likewise, Karma, a food-waste app (it highlights restaurant meals that would otherwise be thrown away) has now switched its focus to home deliveries. It is set to launch a fruit and veg delivery with Premier Fruits, initially within the M25 but with expansion plans in discussion.
In other locations, directories have been set up. Helpkentbuylocal.co.uk, for example, collates a range of local producers (including fruit, vegetables, beer, dairy, coffee, butchers and farm shops) who are delivering. Similarly, freshfromthefreezer.co.uk contains a list of places delivering frozen foods across the UK. Localfooddrops.co.uk lets users access food supplies at wholesale prices.
With many of Britain's biggest veg box suppliers not taking new orders, several smaller farms are still taking orders, sometimes delivering locally, but often nationally.
Here is a directory of (just some of the many) food suppliers who have set up home deliveries. Unless stated, the deliveries are available nationwide. If you know of others, share them with us in the comments section below.
The Good Egg Fellas
Philip Twizell is a Darlington-based free-range egg farmer who usually focuses on restaurant and wholesale trade, but has seen over a thousand home customers sign up in a week. Many have reported egg shortages in supermarkets, so The Good Egg Fellas will come as a relief. The minimum order is a sizeable 120 eggs, though the farm guarantees they'll be at your doorstep within 24 hours of being laid.
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Bidfood normally supplies hospitals, care homes, restaurants, hotels, cafes, schools and prisons. It has launched a new delivery and click-and-collect service: Bidfood Direct. It offers a wide range of frozen, chilled and fresh goods, from meat and fish to fruit, veg and dairy products. There is a minimum spend of £100 on home deliveries.
Forman & Field
Forman & Field, a sister company of H. Forman & Son, the smoked salmon producer, has been supplying top global restaurants for 20 years. Now, their premium produce can be delivered within 48 hours across the UK. From cheese, beer and smoked salmon to pre-made pies and fish cakes, if you're after something fancy to treat yourself with, Forman & Field is the one. Deliveries start at £9.95.
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La Tua Pasta
A pasta wholesaler for 14 years, supplying restaurants nationwide, for the first time La Tua Pasta's produce is available online to consumers. The online shop has a myriad of traditional fresh pasta varieties (ideal for the many of us who can't find any pasta in the supermarkets). Delivery is free on orders over £30, and a meal is being donated to the NHS for each purchased online.
This wine importer tends to supply businesses, but has begun online deliveries to help counter the loss of clients. Couriered anywhere in the UK, orders must be made in multiples of 12 for packaging purposes, but you can mix and match, with wines starting at £6.
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Fowey Valley Cider
This Cornish cider producer has seen its pub and restaurant custom dry up, while the shops, delis and farm shops that stock it are quieter than usual. Their ciders, vinegars, oils and chutneys can be accessed nationwide, with free deliveries on purchases over £40. For those living locally, they'll deliver by van for free.
The Fine Cider Company
London based Felix Nash specialises in supplying some of the finest British restaurants with the best British cider from small producers. With many of these restaurants closed for now, Nash has turned his attention to supplying homes. There's a £10 discount for many London postcodes, with free shipping elsewhere in Britain.
Darts Farm in Devon is offering seasonal vegetable boxes, starting from £11, with further fruit, salad and meat hampers. Deliveries are available nationwide, and free for the vulnerable and over 70s in Devon.
Five Points Brewing Co.
The London-based brewery is offering its range of ales, lagers and porters in 12 and 24 packs for home delivery. Delivery is UK wide for £5.99, with free deliveries over £50.
Celtic Marches Cider
Celtic Marches, a Herefordshire farm with 200 acres of orchards, has set up an online shop after its pub, shop and restaurant sales took a hit. There's free delivery to all UK mainland addresses, while five per cent of sale are being donated to the NHS Covid-19 Appeal.
A Chinatown (London) based supermarket, See Woo has launched a home delivery service, though only within a five-mile radius of the store (with a view to extending that further). You can access all the essentials – noodles, rice, fresh meat and vegetables – but no more than three of any item. The minimum order is £50, with a £5 delivery charge, but orders over £80 are delivered free.
An East Grinstead based meat wholesaler, CMB is no longer able to suppler schools, restaurants and hotels. It is now taking home orders on beef, chicken, pork and lamb in London and the southeast, stretching to Oxfordshire and Hampshire. Call 01342324200 to place an order, or visit the website below. Minimum orders £70.
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One of London's biggest suppliers of specialist, dry, chilled and frozen produce to chefs, Woods' Foodservice is now doing next-day deliveries in Greater London. Veg boxes start at £14.99, fruit boxes at £17.99 and meat at £23.99. You can also get dried pasta, drinks, flour, biscuits, sugar and cleaning products.
The ancient London food market is offering delivery (within a seven-mile radius) on its produce. There's top fresh bread, meat, cheese and veg on offer. There is also a click-and-collect option available.
Pale Green Dot
This recently launched home delivery services supplies fruit and veg, eggs and other fresh essentials, such as milk and bread. Their boxes, which start at £12.50, can be ordered weekly or as a one off. Currently taking orders across London, Brighton and Hove.
The Butler's Larder
The family behind Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses has brought together a range of small local producers – cheese, milk, yoghurt, eggs, fresh bread, fruit, veg, etc – in the northwest of England offering delivery to Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside. Minimum order £40.
Britain's best kombucha producer supplies its healthy, fermented, non-alcoholic brews to several Michelin starred restaurants in the UK. It delivers across the UK, with prices starting at £29.99 including shipping for 12 bottles.
Malton, aka "Yorkshire's food capital", has a raft of local producers. Many of these have been collated in the useful Malton Delivers website, a directory of local spots offering deliveries in Malton and nearby Norton. From bread to baking ingredients, cheese and meat to fruit and veg, you can find it all here.
Dunsters Farm is a Lancashire based foodservice that normally serves schools and the NHS. It has branched out to home delivery across northwest of England, with a wide range of groceries. There are meat boxes, cheese, eggs, cooked meats, flour, sugar, pasta, rice, bread, fruit and veg, confectionery even cleaning products. The minimum order for delivery is £30, though there's no minimum for collection at the Bury warehouse.
Normally supplying pubs wholesale, York Wines is now doing direct-to-customer deliveries of imported wines nationwide, free on orders of 12 and above.
Mexican food lovers anywhere in the UK can ensure a steady supply of tortillas, chilli sauces, cornflour, beans, chillies, herbs and more from MexGrocer, which imports from Mexico. It's a key supplier to Mexican restaurants in the country, but its attention is firmly on home deliveries now, with free next-day delivery on orders of £35 or more.
This Surrey-based pasture-fed meat business launched this year targeting the premium wholesale market. It has been forced into a swift u-turn, now delivering its pedigree beef to Surrey locals. Minimum orders are £30, and are delivered within 10 miles of the farm in the Surrey Hills.
Normally a drinks producer, this Colchester-based farmer grows cabbages and spring onions for Chinese restaurants. Those sales have dried up, so efforts have turned to fruit and veg delivery, free to anyone with a Colchester postcode.
A family-run business with 10 sites, covering Kent, Essex and Bedfordshire. It usually offers wholesale, but there's now an online home delivery service covering all manner of produce, from fruit and veg to dairy, eggs and toilet paper.
Cabrito Goat Meat
Often cited as one of the most sustainable types of meat, Cabrito has been servicing the growing trend for goat meat in London restaurants (though the meat has of course long been favoured by Caribbean spots). It's turning its attention to delivery, now, as the restaurant business has dried up. Free delivery on all orders over £70.
JJ Foodservice is a food and drink wholesaler, normally supplying restaurants and takeaways from its 11 branches nationwide. It is now delivering to homes across the country, with 2,500 products available. A VIP service gives priority to NHS, police and fire service staff.
Until the lockdown hit, Home Pantry was known as Office Pantry, and delivered food to office workers. It is now switching to homes in London, the Thames Valley and Bristol, with fruit and veg boxes, milk, coffee, snacks and baked goods on offer.
York House has 40 years of experience manufacturing food for supermarkets, pubs and restaurants. With some of this business curtailed for the time being, it is now delivering products like bacon, meatballs, sausages and gammon to those in Bedfordshire.
Dishpatch is a London-based directory of food and drink suppliers that deliver across the capital, with plans to expand across the UK. Users can access a range of London shops and stockists, from butchers like Turner & George, cheesemongers like La Fromagerie, to fruit and veg wholesalers.
Collective Food, a major restaurant produce supplier, has joined together with Deliveroo to launch a consumer food delivery service called Farmshop. Customers can access meat, fish, fruit and vegan products sent quickly to their front doors. Currently only available in south and west London.
Mighty Small is an online supermarket filled with smaller, independent food and drink brands. There are all sorts of individual products available, but there's a focus on bundles, such as fitness, working from home, breakfast or "indulgent night in".
This recently launched service allows food lovers to access all sorts of produce from independent producers and traders in one place. There are bakeries, delis, beers, wines, coffee, meat, vegetables and more.
Farms to Feed Us
Set up by former Telegraph journalist Cathy St Germans, Farms to Feed Us launched in March. It is a response to the current crisis, with many small farmers and producers, who rely on restaurant trade, left without a substantial part of their income. The online database aims to connect these farmers and producers with customers, with many offering nationwide delivery.