A Worcestershire cheese distributor is determined to do his bit for customers, frontline support workers and the vulnerable, in spite of the impact the Coronavirus lockdown is having on his own business.
Like many other food retailers, Adrian Nichols, Director of Evesham-based Elmley Sales and Marketing Ltd (a distributor for The Truckle Cheese Company), looks set to lose around 80% of his income this year, following the cancellation of the food and countryside shows where he sells his cheese.
But, as the Government rolls out restrictions in an attempt to halt the spread of Covid 19, Adrian says it’s more important now, than it has ever been, for businesses to pull together and get food out to people in the community at large.
The Truckle Cheese Company is offering a 20% discount for NHS staff working on the frontline, and locally, it has donated truckles to Evesham’s food bank and Offenham’s Meals on Wheels service for the elderly and the vulnerable. Earlier this month, Mr. Nichols joined forces with Feli’s Bar & Restaurant at Stoulton, supplying caramelised onion cheddar for chef Felice Tocchini to make 50 hot pasta meals for the Worcester Street Café which feeds the homeless.
The Truckle Cheese Company, which has its headquarters in Cambridge, has donated a staggering £5000 worth of cheese to NHS hospitals, support hospitals, and key workers in the counties of Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Cambridgeshire, Surrey, London, Norfolk and Suffolk.
Mildenhall Suffolk Constabulary, working hard to protect the public by enforcing lockdown, said it was extremely grateful for the company’s kind donation. Cheese was also sent to Barchester Tewkesbury Fields Care Home, Tewkesbury and Gateway Food Bank, Bury St. Edmunds.
Adrian said: “Even in financially challenging times, it’s not just about sales and orders – it’s about getting food out to communities, and we’re proud to be making a difference by keeping people sustained where others can’t. Every day I’m hearing that foodbanks are seeing a rise in referrals and a huge hike in demand compared to last year. Donations are decreasing, just as more people are coming to them for the first time, following reduced income and in some cases job losses. It’s a real struggle to provide for everyone, and we want to help.
It’s also about boosting morale of course, for those who are battling to save lives on the frontline. After a long and stressful shift, we hope they can relax and unwind with a bit of cheese and a glass of their favourite tipple!
We have customers with relatives working long hours as doctors and paramedics at hospitals down in the South. It was good to hear from Dr. Matt Edwards at King’s College Hospital, London who said he and his staff had thoroughly enjoyed the cheese we sent after a very long day.”
Mr. Nichols also heads up the mail order business for The Truckle Cheese Company, and says the firm is concentrating its efforts in this area while the restrictions are in place.
It is operating a strict non-profiteering policy during the pandemic, reducing its prices by 20 % or more and until the end of April, offering free carriage (and free cheese) on larger orders to help people in times of financial hardship.
Unlike the big supermarkets, it can offer a next day delivery service too.
Adrian continued: “Over the last three weeks, the business has seen an unprecedented demand for its online service, as existing customers increase the size and frequency of their orders, and an influx of new customers join the client base.
“Through necessity, customers are migrating to online shopping at the moment, and with shows and events unlikely to come back until Autumn at the earliest, this is the business model we will need to rely on for the foreseeable future.
Even by September, I am not sure how confident people will be about venturing out to buy face to face again, so the current restrictions may well prove to be a sea change for our business moving forward.”
For more information and to see the current offers from The Truckle Cheese Company, visit their website here.
Pictured: The Truckle Cheese Company team with chef Jean Christophe Novelli at the Malvern Autumn Show in September 2019.