// Waitrose sets aside delivery slots for the elderly & vulnerable to ensure they receive food supplies amid the coronavirus chaos
// 17% of its delivery slots will be reserved
Waitrose has said it will set aside up to a quarter of its online grocery delivery slots for elderly and vulnerable shoppers amid the coronavirus crisis.
The upmarket grocer is prioritising the delivery slots after concerns were raised about whether those isolated at home were able to retrieve food supplies.
In recent weeks, supermarkets have had to introduce rationing in a bid to prevent people from coronavirus-linked panic buying.
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Many elderly people have struggled in recent weeks to buy their groceries online as slots had been taken due to a massive surge in demand.
Online grocer Ocado saw its website crash last week after customers began panic buying as a result of the anticipated lockdown.
Waitrose said it is expanding its online delivery operation after the government announced it will begin the delivery of emergency food parcels on Saturday to thousands of the 1.5 million people it has identified as vulnerable.
The grocer will be prioritising deliveries using data from its loyalty scheme and customer accounts to identify the elderly and vulnerable customers.
“Over the last month we have delivered to more customers than we have at any point in our history,” Waitrose online director Ben Stimson said.
“We have far more demand than we have capacity for but we’re trying to reach our most vulnerable customers first to help support them at this difficult time.”
Waitrose’s move came as Tesco limited online shoppers to 80 items per order as part of its plan to increase the number of delivery slots available to vulnerable households.