// UK government set to aid supermarkets to target elderly and at risk customers
// Tesco boss urges shoppers to leave online delivery slots for the vulnerable
The UK government will give supermarkets access to its databases in a bid to prioritise deliveries to elderly and vulnerable customers during the coronavirus pandemic.
It comes amid reports from food charities that millions of people nationwide will need food aid in the coming days, unless the government intervened.
Online delivery slots from major grocers are booked up weeks in advance due to the pandemic after the PM urged people to stay home except for when purchasing essentials.
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Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis urged shoppers to leave online delivery slots for those unable to leave their homes, including the elderly and those self isolating.
Lewis stated that Tesco was “at full capacity for the next few weeks and we ask those who are able to safely come to stores to do so, instead of shopping online, so that we can start to free up more slots for the more vulnerable”.
Sainsbury’s has been using information from its Nectar loyalty scheme to also try to prioritise older shoppers online.
Supermarket bosses and the government also discussed possible ways to extend their delivery networks such as teaming up with local taxi companies and takeaway delivery businesses.
According to The Guardian, figures produced by the Food Foundation suggest approximately 17 million people fall into the higher risk category for coronavirus due to being elderly, pregnant or having underlying health conditions.
It stated that at least 860,000 people in this category were already struggling to afford enough food before the crisis.
In addition, at least one million of them report always or often being lonely, and therefore may struggle to find people to deliver essentials to their door.
The Guardian also reported that the government was set to team up with foodservice providers Brakes and Bidfood to compile an emergency food parcel scheme, providing essentials to up to 300,000 of the 1.5 million people identified as most in need of assistance.