We're all in this together
An important update
As you can imagine, it’s a rather busy time for us at Abel & Cole at the moment. We’re pulling out all the stops to adapt as quickly as possible to this new landscape. We want to reassure you of some measures that we are putting in place to protect everyone and to keep things moving in the coming weeks. Hopefully the below will answer any questions you may have.
We have adapted hugely over the past few months to ensure that we could deliver as much food to as many people as possible, whilst keeping our teams as safe as possible. In the early days of the crisis, this meant making some significant changes to our product range and service level, but our teams have been working incredibly hard to return as much as possible to normal. I hope that you have noticed much better availability in our meat, fish, dairy and pantry ranges, as well as the return of a full range of Fruit & Veg (in addition to the set boxes). We’re now working hard to bring back the option so you can tell us what you don’t want to receive in your Fruit & Veg boxes, and further improvements to personalisation will follow that. All of this has happened with everyone who can, safely working from home, and for those who can’t, we have done a huge amount to make sure that our sites are as safe as possible.
Our teams have worked tirelessly and with great creativity and ambition to get the job done. I am incredibly proud of everyone here at Abel & Cole, whether they’ve been on the front line packing and delivering to you, working behind the scenes making all the changes to return things to normal as quickly as possible or putting in place the best working practices, processes and controls to keep us all safe at work, they have all done a fantastic job!
Thank you for all your support through this period, we really do appreciate it.
Hannah Shipton, Managing Director
Our fruit & veg
In order to simplify things behind the scenes we have made some big changes to how we pick and pack our Fruit & Veg boxes. At the end of March, we made the difficult decision to only offer fixed content boxes. At the present time, you are not able to edit them, and the contents are subject to change. We’re really excited to say we’ll be bringing back the option to exclude certain items from our boxes from around the middle of August so do watch this space! We also had to significantly reduce our “pick your own” Fruit & Veg offering. The good news is we’ve been working really hard to introduce more and more options and now have around 80 different options in our “pick your own” range.
We are seeing many more customers buying a much wider selection of things from us. They are not buying abnormal quantities, but they are ordering things from us that they would normally order elsewhere. However, we need to make sure our packing teams are maintaining safe social distancing, which means we have less people actively packing at any time. Our teams are still adhering to 2m social distancing guidelines and are equipped with all the necessary PPE. Everyone has their temperature checked before they are allowed onto the site. We’ve gradually been switching various elements of our service back on since the lockdown began and we hope to have more good news to share soon.
To check what you have coming in your next order click on the Van icon in the top navigation bar on our website. This will show you what you have coming for your next order, plus any future orders. To check what you have on a repeat subscription you’ll see a frequency next to the Van icon by each product in your order. If you have it set to “every week” or any type of weekly frequency, you have it on a set subscription. If it says “One delivery” it is not on a subscription and you will only get it one time. We are not able to take anymore subscription orders at this time.
Don’t worry that you can’t see your weekly/fortnightly/monthly subscriptions in future orders- once your next order cut off passes, the products will show in the next relevant week.
Our drivers & deliveries
We’re having regular briefings with our drivers and continue to uphold the strictest health and safety guidelines, such as regular hand washing and carrying hand sanitiser to sanitise hands between deliveries. Each driver has their temperature checked when they arrive at the depot every morning. In addition to this, all our drivers will wear a face mask when entering communal spaces inside buildings such as offices or blocks of flats. It’s really important that your delivery instructions are up to date as we will continue to use your usual safe place until told otherwise.
All our drivers are told to knock on the door if it’s a reasonable hour, to let you know that they have been, but they will not be staying to chat. We know this may seem a tad aloof but we’re sure you understand we just want to ensure everyone stays at least 2m away from each other.
We’d also recommend leaving your empty boxes out for your driver to collect before they arrive, to minimise the need for contact or confusion.
Perhaps one of the things that drew you to us in the first place was the fact we deliver to you in returnable boxes. There is at the very least 48 hours between someone returning a box and it being used again. It’s usually more likely 3-5 days though. However, we’re aware you might also be concerned about when the boxes are delivered to you, not just returning them to us. Our best advice is to wash your hands as soon as you have unpacked your order. It’s for this same reason that our drivers also have gloves to wear and carry hand sanitiser to ensure the absolute best hand hygiene between handling returned boxes and touching new boxes.
The plastic chill liner is not reused if returned but rather recycled, so you could consider recycling straight away at home. Finally, our returnable ice packs are washed by us before being re-frozen. Then it takes at least 48 hours to freeze down, so there is always a minimum of four days before these are reused from when you send them back to us.
We are casting our net wider to get you the best organic fruit and veg available. In the current climate that means that we may need to compromise in some other areas such as packaging and some products may come wrapped in plastic or come bagged that usually would come loose. We feel that it’s currently more important for us to have enough organic produce to send to our customers so we ask you to please find ways of reusing packaging you wouldn’t ordinarily expect or to dispose of it responsibly. We hope this will be a short-term solution but wanted to give you a heads up.
We love going to see our farmers, producers and potential partners regularly. But to keep everyone safe, we have stopped all of those visits for now and are speaking over the phone or video conferencing. We’re speaking daily, though, to ensure we have a clear picture of any product delays and are doing are best to support all suppliers to continue trading where some of our suppliers have been impacted by restaurants closing. As we have said, our current limits are being driven by our packing and delivery capabilities, not by product limits – this may, of course, change and we will keep you updated if this does happen.
To check what you have coming in your next order click on the Van icon in the top navigation bar on our website. This will show you what you have coming for your next order, plus any future orders. To check what you have on a repeat subscription, you’ll see a frequency next to the Van icon by each product in your order. If you have it set to “every week” or any type of weekly frequency, you have it on a set subscription. If it says “One delivery” it is not on a subscription and you will only get it one time.