Resources for the Food Industry During COVID-19

It goes without saying these are unprecedented times and in times of crisis it is normal to feel overwhelmed, helpless and fearful. Thankfully the food industry is responding to these difficult times with creativity, support and strength. We have put together a few links to resources that you may find useful & will try to update it where we can.

Jobs Board

The Caterer are collating job opportunities for those who may be out of work. Our industry has valuable skills that can be used in various sectors who are taking a hit.  You will find full time and part time opportunities from retailers, care groups, charities and more who are looking to respond to additional pressures created by coronavirus.


With supermarkets stretched to their limits, Niamh Shields from EatLikeAGirl has put together a list of independent food producers and shops around the UK who are delivering food, she said “Many of these are farms that sell direct to the consumer or online shops. Some supplied the restaurant trade but with social distancing and most of us staying at home, they are now selling direct to the consumer. ” She will be updating this list, so please get in touch if you should be on the list or know of producers you can buy direct from.

Emelia Leese also has an extensive list of  UK vegan food producers with details on whether they do home delivery.

Government Support for Businesses

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary measures to support public services, people and businesses through the disruption caused by COVID-19 including

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000

This page is regularly updated and it is also worth watching the daily coronavirus press briefing from the government which often includes statements from industry figures such as Helen Dickinson Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium.

Support for the Self Employed

On 26th March 2020 the Chancellor Rusi Sunak announced a package of support for the self-employed. Those who are will be paid 80% of trading profits over the last three years up to £2,500 a month maximum. This is open to those with profits up to £50k and if you are eligible HMRC will contact you. Find out more here.  Also those who are Self Employed can apply for Universal Credit.

Food Redistribution

City Harvest, a surplus food redistribution charity, is currently working overtime to deliver food to over 300 charity partners across London and they desperately need food, funding and volunteer support.  They serve thousands of vulnerable Londoners, and since the outbreak of COVID-19 have seen the need for our services skyrocket. Find out how you can support them with donations or by volunteering your time.

Olio connect neighbours with each other across the UK and Food Waste Hero volunteers with local businesses, to share food (and other things) rather than chuck them away. Here are their COVID-19 guidelines to facilitate safe handovers.

Leading budget recipe food writer and activist Jack Monroe has set up a GoFundMe page to support The Trussell Trust’s work during the coronavirus pandemic. In conjunction with local communities, the charity develops and runs sustainable projects in the UK tackling poverty and exclusion. Through the UK Foodbank Network and Community Enterprises they work with marginalised people in real need, providing practical care and support.

Zoe Adjonyoh has started a crowdfunding project to make Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen a community kitchen for the next 3 months to support 150 hot meals per week to vulnerable people in her local community. She wants to team up with local providers such as St Paul’s Church on Roman Road to help supply and deliver hot meals and mini-well being kits to as many vulnerable people as possible in the local community of Hackney Wick & Bow whilst also employing those who are well and fit to work and have lost vital income due to this on-going crisis.

Chef Mary-Ellen McTague is in Manchester distributing spare fresh produce to Open Kitchen Manchester, a social enterprise who intercept perfectly good food that would otherwise go to waste. The income generated from their catering funds their work with a number of fantastic local organisations who support people having a hard time.  She has also set up an appeal to for people who would like to volunteer to help feed the homeless.

She said “If you have a restaurant kitchen or can cook 30 plus hot meals safely from home, & would like to volunteer your time to feed street homeless, people in hostels or other temporary accommodation, please fill in this form.”

Hospitality Action Grant

Industry charity Hospitality Action coordinated an industry-wide emergency appeal to support those hospitality workers impacted by widespread job losses, reduced hours, pay and even closures due to the Coronavirus. If you work in hospitality & need assistance at these troubling times their #COVID-19 Grant will be open for applications at 9am on 23rd March 2020. Update – Hospitality Action have been inundated with applications for their COVID-19 Grant and have closed the scheme for further applications while they process the huge number of applications received to date. As soon as they know whether there is more capacity in the fund they will re-open the grant for applications accordingly. 

BBC The Food Programme

Radio 4’s The Food Programme have spoken to a number of industry experts including The Grocer, road haulage companies and analysed the Governments daily updates to help answer concerns about the food supply chain and panic buying during the COVID-19 crisis.

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