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Supermarkets: Electronic Commerce

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 38524, tabled on 21 April 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking with supermarkets to help vulnerable people to shop for groceries online.

Answered on

28 April 2020

Supermarkets have been working at pace to expand the total number of delivery and click and collect slots.

The Government is working to ensure that approximately 1.8 million people in England identified by the NHS as being at higher risk of severe illness if they contract Coronavirus have access to the food they need. We have shared with supermarkets the details of those who have registered as extremely clinically vulnerable and need help accessing food. These details are processed by the supermarkets, who match these names against their own customer databases. They then offer people the option of priority access to online delivery.

We are also working quickly to support people who do not fall into the category of being clinically extremely vulnerable, but still need help getting essential food supplies. This includes those who are elderly, disabled or have health conditions that make it difficult for them to get the food they need. We are speaking to food retailers, delivery organisations and volunteer groups to help prioritise those individuals to access essential food. Most supermarkets are offering prioritised delivery and click and collect slots to those they have identified as vulnerable from their customer databases (for example by age, shopping habits or previous use of vulnerable customer helplines). We are working closely with retailers and local authorities to stand up a service to allow local authorities to refer vulnerable people to supermarkets for a priority delivery or click and collect slot.