Coronavirus: food industry supports NHS, vulnerable and peers

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Eight Fairburn’s Eggs lorry trailers bear a 2.6m high rainbow thank you message to the NHS
Eight Fairburn’s Eggs lorry trailers bear a 2.6m high rainbow thank you message to the NHS

Related tags coronavirus Supply chain

The coronavirus pandemic continues to inspire food industry innovation and support for the NHS and vulnerable consumers.

Following initiatives announced last month​, Budweiser Brewing Group UK & Ireland, road freight company Finejas Group and multi-modal transport technology company CH Robinson have united to deliver ready-to-use disinfectant to public service providers. More than 6,500 litres of disinfectant produced and donated by Budweiser Brewing Group has been delivered to organisations such as the Metropolitan Police.

Reach Food Service, a Mercantile & Maritime Group company that supplies premium ingredients to London’s gourmet restaurants, has launched a successful new retail division selling direct to consumers. Reach My Kitchen aims to deliver premium meat, seafood and poultry ingredients normally reserved for London’s top chefs directly to households within the M25 for the first time.

Eight Fairburn’s Eggs lorry trailers have been emblazoned with a 2.6m high rainbow thank you message to commend the work of the NHS for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The trailers will deliver eggs to retailers across the UK from Fairburn’s Burgh Le Marsh distribution hub.

This month, Manchester-based bakery business, St Pierre Groupe, donated 175,000 St Pierre Brioche Swirls to the charity FareShare for distribution nationwide. The brioche swirls, which have a retail value of £130,000, are being sent to FareShare centres around the UK. St Pierre Groupe is also ensuring that Wythenshawe Food Bank, which it has supported for five years, receives 2,700 St Pierre Brioche Swirls.

St Pierre Groupe is also supporting charities further from home by donating to the Care Bags for Care Homes scheme and offering product for the “Coffee for Heroes” initiative organised by Scottish restaurant group, Monterey Jack’s. “Coffee for Heroes” offers NHS workers in Scotland complimentary coffee and delicious St Pierre treats.


Sports nutrition brand Grenade, is partnering with Salute the NHS, headed up by Ron Dennis, donating 250,000 products to frontline staff across the UK. Contributions include 150,000 cans of Grenade Energy and 100,000 of the low sugar and high protein popular Cookies and Cream flavoured Carb Killa bars.

Wild and Game, the not-for-profit company working to boost game consumption in the UK, has teamed up with the British Game Alliance to supply free game-based meals to NHS workers. The Game Aid project is a collaboration between The British Game Alliance (BGA), food manufacturer Samworth Brothers, Wild & Game and bi-monthly publication Fieldsports Journal.

The initiative, which is funded by charitable donations, started earlier this month with the delivery of 2,500 game-based lunch bags to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton. Each lunch bag contained a Wild & Game pheasant and pork pie, some fruit, a bottle of water, a packet of crisps, a yogurt and a chocolate treat for an NHS worker to enjoy.

Coronavirus initiatives European Freeze Dry
European Freeze Dry has donated meals to FareShare and the Salvation Army

European Freeze Dry, which produces freeze-dried ingredients and meals from its factory in Preston, has donated 250kg of freeze-dried produce to FareShare and The Salvation Army to help feed vulnerable families.

The products were surplus from a previous order and have been diverted from waste to create 2,650 meals.

The meals, which include Spaghetti Bolognese and Vegetable Tikka, retain their quality for up to seven years, are stable at room temperature and only require water to rehydrate them.

Scottish brewer Innis & Gunn

Scottish brewer and retailer Innis & Gunn has joined with Meals & More, a charity working to end ‘Holiday Hunger’, where children struggle to get food to eat when not at school. Through its Brewery Taproom Bars, the company has pledged a six-figure support package, which will be bolstered by further initiatives in the coming months. The brewer intends to grow its contribution every year.

Over 80 suppliers have registered on The Fresh Produce Consortium’s (FPC’s), which matches suppliers of fresh produce including fruit and veg, meat, eggs, dairy and bakery products to customers in their delivery zones. The FPC launched the service more than a month ago to help the fresh produce supply chain keep moving.

Coronavirus initiatives 200 Degrees Coffee
200 Degrees Coffee has helped to supply NHS visors

Roaster and wholesaler 200 Degrees Coffee and consumers have donated acetate to the Queens Medical Centre hospital (QMC) in Nottingham, to help alleviate the shortage of protective visors for NHS staff.

Acetate forms a large part of the visors which are worn by NHS staff as part of their PPE.

200 Degrees Coffee initially bought 1,000 acetate sheets and put out a plea to the public for further donations. The people of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire stepped-up, bringing the total to 10,000 acetate sheets which were collated at 200 Degrees’ roast house on Meadow Lane, before delivery to the QMC.

Innocent Drinks

Smoothie maker Innocent Drinks is donating unpurchased bottles to charities supporting the vulnerable and frontline workers. The Re-Route The Fruit initiative had donated more than 600,000 drinks by 5 May. More than 350,000 drinks have been re-routed to charities and foodbanks through the giving platform, Neighbourly, and more than 300,000 bottles have been sent to hospitals, schools, care homes and the Royal Mail.

In addition, families eligible for Free School Meals can contact Innocent with the 16-digit e-code provided by their school to receive a free pack of 10 kids’ smoothies. About 35,000 drinks had been donated to families in this way by the beginning of May.

Structure-Flex, best-known as a supplier of lorry tension curtains for brands and retailers’ national fleets, has developed a reusable visor as personal protective equipment for food processing staff. It has already been adopted by businesses including Hotel Chocolat.

Related topics Supply Chain COVID-19

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