Social Justice

Morrisons gives £10m boost to foodbanks under pressure from virus outbreak

The supermarket will ramp up its own food production lines and lift item restrictions to make sure customers can still donate to those in need

Morrisons will produce extra food and up its deliveries to get £10m of meals to foodbanks as Covid-19 drives demand and cuts down on volunteers.

As well as making it easier for customers to donate products by lifting purchase limits from three items to four, the supermarket chain – one of few which produces much of its own food – will operate its 14 bakery, egg production and fruit and vegetable packing areas for an extra hour a day to produce enough to help foodbanks stock up.

There are also plans to send larger than usual supplies of canned goods to its 495 stores so the food can then be distributed to local foodbanks.

It’s estimated that the Covid-19 outbreak forced a 40 per cent drop in donations to foodbanks – down in part to people stocking up to prepare for lockdown and isolation, and those who have already lost jobs having less disposable income.

There has also been a slump in the number of volunteers looking to help out at foodbanks, with many self-isolating at home due to underlying health conditions or vulnerable family members.

Morrisons bosses estimate £10 million of food will have reached foodbanks across the UK by July.

David Potts, CEO of the supermarket chain, said: “As a food maker and shopkeeper we are uniquely placed to help. We know food banks are finding life very difficult and running our manufacturing sites for an extra hour each day to help restock them is the right decision at this time.

“The core purpose of all 96,537 colleagues at Morrisons is to play our full part in feeding the nation.”

Drop-off points will be created in-store for customers to donate items when doing their own essentials shop, largely done by re-purposing the now closed supermarket cafes.

Meanwhile Asda bosses have said the supermarket will hand over £5 million to FareShare and foodbank operator The Trussell Trust to get more than four million meals to families in need.

FareShare – whose chief executive Lindsay Boswell described the coronavirus impact on food redistribution as “unprecedented and developing fast” – is also set to receive £1.5m in food from the Co-Op.

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