Home shopping has just taken a new twist for Sydney households worried about queuing at supermarkets or frequenting shopping centres during the coronavirus emergency.
The 50-year-old grocery business Harris Farm Markets has just launched an additional delivery service to take some of the pressure off its 26 retail stores in metropolitan and regional NSW.
The Harris Farm Express service provides a box of groceries with no choice about the exact ingredients, but enough food and pantry essentials to feed a family of four for five days.
Contents in the box change daily depending on availability and seasonality, but shoppers have no choice in what is included in each pack.
The range, which actually fills more than one delivery box, includes fruit, vegetables, meat, bread, eggs and milk for $250, including delivery in Sydney.
The service also provides an effective way for Harris Farm to manage its fruit, vegetable and dry goods inventory during current peak demand.
Same day service
Marketing head for Harris Farm Express Jame Kerridge said each box contained produce bought at Sydney's Flemington markets the same day it was delivered, and included selections of the best fruit, veggies, protein and staples to make up 15 nourishing meals.
Harris Farm has its own private label milk brand and packed meat cuts supplied by processors from Tasmania to Queensland.
The grocery chain promises overnight doorstep delivery to comply with the necessary government restrictions around COVID-19 and social distancing.
The new express service complements the conventional online shopping service already operated by the grocery company which caters for specific customer requests.
Like similar home delivered shopping options offered by major retailers, the Harris Farm's online service has been swamped by a surge in customer demand in the past month.
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To fill its alternative "express" hamper orders the grocery chain has partnered with a Sydney providore who prior to the pandemic was busy supplying restaurants with fresh produce.
"His staff and business were otherwise facing a grim future due to the virus and government restrictions on restaurant trading," Mr Kerridge said.
"Brekkie, lunch and dinner are sourced by his team to provide five days' meals, or more, depending on each family's particular nutritional requirements."
Easing supply chain stress
Procuring groceries this way could save urban shoppers hours of stress in queues given the current strain faced by the major chains.
"It avoids the need to venture outside during Stage Two of the federal government's shutdown restrictions," he said.
Harris Farm Markets, established by David and Kathy Harris in Sydney in 1971, is still owned by the Harris family with stores from Newcastle to Orange, Bathurst and the Southern Highlands and 1500 staff.
One company's first high profile Harris Farm Express customers was co-captain of the Sydney Swans, Josh Kennedy, who has been at home with his young family in Sydney's eastern suburbs.
He was delighted with the range the speedy service that allowed him to avoid the long queues at Coles or Woolworths.
"The box is absolutely fantastic. It's got the proteins, bacon, even an eye fillet, and packed full of vegies and fruit," he said.
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