‘Nobody will starve,’ says Ocado chair, urging Britons to stop stockpiling | Business
Stuart Rose, the former Marks & Spencer boss who now chairs Ocado, has urged Britons to stop stockpiling groceries, saying “nobody will starve” during the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, Rose said: “There is no shortage of food. Nobody will starve. There is a £1bn more food in people’s larders than there was a couple of weeks ago. What are they doing with it? How much do you need to eat? How much do you need to store away?”
The businessman urged shoppers to “show some restraint” and not to waste anything. If they did this there would be enough food on supermarket shelves to satisfy the needs of vulnerable members of society, some of whom are struggling to buy food.
Recent data showed that the average spend per supermarket trip had risen 16% in the week ending 17 March. In the same period there were an additional 15m food shopping trips – an increase of 12% – according to the market analysts Kantar.
With all the major grocers’ online delivery slots booked up for weeks in advance, getting food to households that are self-isolating has become a top priority for supermarkets. Grocery bosses are being given access to a government database to help prioritise food deliveries for elderly and vulnerable shoppers who have been ordered to stay at home.
Rose, who has just recovered from coronavirus, channelled his inner chef as he urged people to plan their meals and show some frugality. “If you buy a chicken, roast the chicken, have the roast chicken dinner, the following day turn it into a stir fry, the following day make it into soup,” he said. “We live in a very profligate society: we buy too much, we eat too much, we consume too much, and we have to learn new ways.”