A major Cumbrian catering supplier to the hospitality industry has launched a new click and collect service to the public to help meet the increasing demand for food amid coronavirus-fuelled panic buying.

Caterite Food and Wineservice has launched a click and collect service from its site in Embleton in response to shortages on supermarket shelves in the region as fears over the spread of Covid-19 reach new heights.

The 24/7 online service is designed to help the vulnerable and the elderly, parents at home with children and those self-isolating, while at the same time encourage social distancing – which health chiefs say is crucial to curbing the spread of the virus.

Caterite’s group managing director, Lorcan Byrne, said the new service was there to support the local community as stockpiling consumers continue to strip the shelves of many supermarkets and smaller stores.

“We have a duty to help support everyone in this current climate,” he said.

“It’s almost like war time at the moment and we wanted to get on the front foot.

“We have an excellent supply chain and our warehouse is well stocked.

“Having walked around supermarkets recently it was clear to me that we have all the food essentials that people are trying to get but can’t. We really want to get the message out there that we’re here to help.”

Caterite’s five step order process includes registering an online account, which is activated within two hours, allowing people to place an order.

Once that has been placed a member of its customer service team will contact the customer to take card payment and issue a collection day and time.

A member of the Caterite team will deliver the good to the customer’s vehicle when they arrive.

Customers are being advised that pack sizes may differ from those in supermarkets as Caterite is a wholesaler.

For more information visit the Caterite website.