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April 27, 2020

Technology and the battle against COVID-19

Devraj Harilela


Technology and the battle against COVID-19


As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe and people adjust to social distancing measures, you may feel your normal activities and ability to purchase goods has become limited. The majority of non-essential stores remain closed and the demand for supermarket supplies are only increasing. However, we believe technology is pivotal in the battle against COVID-19 and are here to help.

How are supermarkets using technology in the battle against COVID-19? 

People are aware of the considerable risk associated with visiting crowded supermarkets and increasing their exposure to COVID- 19. In fact, in recent weeks we have seen a massive surge in the use of online grocery shopping. This has undoubtedly put the technology behind online shopping to the test with people struggling to get delivery slots from supermarket giants, Tesco, Morrisons and Asda, even several weeks in advance. This is important as it shows that there is limited product available, or that the demand for online deliveries are so high that the technological infrastructure and resources available cannot cope.

We have seen companies such as Marks & Spencer partnering up with Tech Apps such as Deliveroo so that the general public, especially those who are vulnerable, can get the essentials they need. This partnership is one of the latest innovations to occur across the country and it is being implemented across the country in over 170 stores to help our society battle this invisible enemy.

Supermarkets have also taken steps to increase their online delivery capabilities. Looking at Tesco they have increased their online delivery capacity by 20%, adding 145,000 weekly delivery slots. Additionally, they have added over 200 delivery vans to their fleet of vehicles as well as hiring 2500 drivers and 5000 pickers. Sainsbury’s has increased its delivery capacity to 600,000 weekly slots and Asda who have stepped up to cater to 1,000,000 weekly delivery slots. Looking at these statistics, we can see a clear trend of supermarkets using technology and specifically online shopping to help battle the spread of COVID-19. It is essential to mention that due to taking these measures, it has also inadvertently meant fewer resources are available to manage the 24-hour stores. We can see stores on average closing a couple of hours earlier to cater to the demand and allow their resources to be adequately allocated, ensuring stock is available for everyone.

However, in some cases, online grocery platforms have suddenly crashed due to the extremely high volume of traffic. Look at Ocado for example, one of the leading UK’s online-only supermarkets just outright imploded. When Ocado came back online, it had implemented an online queuing system which was wholly broken—requiring users to queue for up to an hour, in some cases before shopping only to find out, that there were no delivery slots. Let’s be clear before COVID-19 the UK’s online grocery system was incomparable to any other in the world. It was leading the charge for the developing online grocery industry, and arguably still is. Even though you and I will both have trouble getting delivery slots, this does not mean the system is broken.

Now more than ever, supermarkets are playing their part in saving lives and prioritising those who are on the highly vulnerable list. So, in essence, the use of technology and the UK’s Online grocery shopping system is undergoing immense strain. However, it is still working and especially for those who need it most.

Who are we?

For those of you who don’t know, Flavr is an online grocery platform that utilises technology to aggregate ingredients live and put them directly into your shopping basket. The technology behind our platform will seek to provide a quick, efficient service where you can shop in a time-efficient manner while saving money and reducing food waste. We aim to help you buy the ingredients you need for the recipe you plan to cook. In addition to this, we are looking to educate and inform our users regarding numerous food and technology-related areas. I encourage all of you reading this to sign up to our mailing list to get instant access for when we launch.

How can FLAVR technology help tackle COVID-19?

Technology is going to be at the heart of this battle against COVID-19, fundamental to helping others and saving lives. That is why the team here at FLAVR have been hard at work and created an extra feature amidst the havoc – the Slot Spotter.

The Slot Spotter is a feature that will instantly search Asda and Tesco for available delivery or Click & Collect slots. We will then notify you, via email or text, as soon as one becomes available to save to time and stress during these difficult times. We hope that building this tool and using technology will ensure everyone has a better grocery shopping experience, especially those who are vulnerable. 

You can access it here

Interesting Facts

  • Average spend in supermarkets increased by £60
  • Between the dates of March 16-19th, 88% of Up households visited supermarkets resulting in 42 million extra trips
  • Alcohol Sales have risen 22% since the closure of restaurants and pubs
  • Tesco’s stock price has dropped 10% since the 1st of February

If you enjoyed reading this, I encourage you to read some of our other content and leave comments, feedback, questions and other topics you may like to learn.



  1. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/mar/28/britons-shopping-spree-ease-covid-19-confinement-hobbies
  2. https://qz.com/1819855/coronavirus-overwhelms-ocado-uk-online-grocery-delivery/
  3. https://www.wired.co.uk/article/stockpiling-supermarkets-coronavirus
  4. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52102906
  5. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-8175155/Cost-fruit-vegetables-groceries-set-rise-amid-coronavirus-pandemic.html
  6. https://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/food-drink/supermarket-delivery-uk-tesco-asda-sainsburys-online-shopping-coronavirus-a9424346.html

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