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Need to get groceries?

Published: 12 May 2020

Vegetables in a cardboard box

Here's how to get your shopping

There are five ways of getting hold of your groceries if you're not able to get out and about, or if you're unable to use family or friends to help with delivering your shopping. Or if you're struggling financially to put food on the table. Some people will have priority over others for certain types of food delivery. Below are details on:

  1. Government food boxes
  2. Priority delivery slots with supermarkets
  3. Supermarket food boxes
  4. Food banks and community fridges
  5. Other help available to get your shopping

1. Government food box delivered to your door

The Government have undertaken to deliver food boxes to those who are registered as vulnerable and have been recommended to shield and have indicated on the Gov.UK website that they don't have a way of getting essential supplies delivered at the moment.

ALREADY registered with Government NOT received a food box?

If you or someone you know has registered with the Government as extremely vulnerable and haven't received a food box yet from them call the Community Helpline on 0300 200 1008 Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm Saturday and Sunday 10am-2pm, and the Surrey Local Resilience Forum can arrange for one to be sent out to you.

HAVENT registered yet with Government and NEED a food box?

Register with the Government online. In the meantime, if you need a food box please call the Community Helpline on 0300 200 1008 Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm Saturday and Sunday 10am - 2pm and the Surrey Local Resilience Forum can arrange for one to be sent out to you.

RECEIVED a food box from the Government but DON'T want it?

If you no longer require these parcels in future, please help us to prioritise deliveries for those most in need. Revisit the age to register with the Government online and re-register selecting "yes" to the question "Do you have a way of getting essential supplies delivered at the moment?"

Alternatively you can refuse your next parcel by letting the delivery driver know and it will be redelivered to another vulnerable person in need.

2. Priority delivery slots with supermarkets

Many supermarkets are providing priority delivery slots for those residents registered as extremely vulnerable or are elderly. Check the supermarkets website throughout the day to see when their online slots are released, these may change due to current demand. See the table below for details.

Existing online delivery supermarket customers

Supermarkets have contacted their existing customers who are registered as extremely vulnerable, from a list supplied to them by the Government to help them get access to priority delivery slots.

Some say they're focusing on people on the Government's 'very high-risk' list to do this, but others say you can request access to these slots if you're shielding, but not on that list (eg, if you've been missed off the list, or you're in the 'high-risk' category instead – see the NHS website if you're not sure)

Don't have an online delivery account set up for supermarket shopping?

If you have never used online supermarket home delivery before and have a letter from the Government advising you that you are extremely vulnerable, you can approach a supermarket directly and let them know that you need help.

3. Supermarket food boxes

Some supermarkets are offering boxes of essential food for a fixed price, to help those unable to get a grocery delivery slot. While you don't get much choice over what's in the box, it might be a good idea if you're running out of basics such as pasta, milk or cleaning supplies. Again, it's best to get one only if you're vulnerable – if you can visit a shop, you should. See the table below which outlines which supermarkets are currently offering this service.

4. Food banks and community fridges

Food banks are grassroots, community organisations aimed at supporting people who cannot afford the essentials in life.

If you cannot afford food, please find your nearest foodbank here via the Trussell Trust Organisation website. Foodbanks provide food via a voucher system which you will need to register for.

Community Fridges are fridges available in public spaces for people to come and collect food that has been donated. Check to see where your local community fridge is located in Surrey using the HubBub website. Some Community Fridges are now making deliveries within their communities too. Doorstep deliveries are via referral from social services, council, church or schools.

5. Other ways of getting your shopping delivered to you if friends or family can't help you

Check locally what support is available for picking up shopping there are plenty of local volunteer groups that can arrange for someone to pick up your shopping. Check out our Coronavirus I need help webpages. or call the Helpline on 0300 200 1008 Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm Saturday and Sunday 10am-2pm.

Deliveroo and Uber Eats are food-delivery services, best known for delivering from restaurants and fast-food outlets, but they also cover corner shops and off-licences, as well as chains such as Co-op and M&S Food outlets at petrol stations. Morrisons is now working with Deliveroo to offer delivery from 130 of its stores.

Supermarkets and who offers what as of 12 May 2020

Supermarket Priority Delivery slots

Existing online customers
who are

New online customers
who are

Food box deliveries

Tesco – slots released 21 days ahead

If you qualify, you will be able to book a priority slot and select an eight hour window for delivery.

Customers who do not currently have a Tesco account and have a letter from the NHS can either create an account online or call the supermarket on 0800 917 7359.


Sainsbury's - slots released 7 days ahead

Sainsbury's have offered priority booking to more than 450,000 elderly or vulnerable customers. Once you are told you qualify for priority delivery, you can call the customer care line on 0800 636262, although the supermarket has warned it is very busy and you might need to try a couple of times.

Once you are through to a member of staff, they will help you arrange a delivery slot.

If you are vulnerable and have received a Government letter, but don't already have a Sainsbury's account you can also call the helpline 0800 636262.


ASDA - slots released 14 days ahead

Have sent an email out with a link for priority slots. People will also be able to access slots a week further in advance of everyone else if they don't want a recurring slot.

These customers will also benefit from free delivery and no minimum spend when they place their order.


Morrisons - slots released 3 days ahead

The supermarket have been in touch with those classed as vulnerable.

Slots have been booked up for weeks but they have said they are working to make more delivery slots are available, and is adding a fast track to its queue system so that vulnerable customers can be prioritised.

Staff from Marie Curie and CLIC Sargent charity - to helping with the shopping for elderly and vulnerable people. The workers can shop for people in their local community, or help vulnerable people who do choose to go to the shops by helping them with bags.

Morrisons customer call centre for orders to be taken over the phone so that people who do not shop online can still order food 0345 322 0000.


£35 you can choose between a vegetarian or meat-eater's box for £35, which includes a selection of food and essential household items, designed to feed two adults for a week. There's also a separate ready-meal box for £30, which has four different dishes (enough for eight meals).

Waitrose - slots released 3 days ahead.

Waitrose is offering elderly and vulnerable customers priority access to delivery slots on it's website, but has acknowledged there won't be enough slots to reach everybody.

In order to hold slots for those who are vulnerable open, the group has closed the website to new bookings.


ICELAND - slots released 7 days ahead.

Iceland has matched Government list for England with its database of existing online customers and sent 60,000 emails to inform customers they will receive priority in online ordering.


OCADO - slots released at least seven days ahead.

· Existing customers from the Government list have already been contacted.

· All existing customers now have to register when booking an online slot to identify those that are vulnerable and elderly.

Open to existing customers only.




£25 the box includes tinned food (eg, soup, baked beans, rice pudding), pasta, biscuits, tea and instant coffee. It also has toilet paper and handwash.

Marks and Spencer


£35 this includes items such as spaghetti, rice, baked beans and Percy Pig sweets. You can also order fruit or veg boxes for £15-£20.

Co-op - slots released 5 days ahead.


Working with Deliveroo.

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