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London Chefs’ Favourite Supplier Takes Its Produce Nationwide for Winter Lockdown

After a successful first lockdown in London, green citrus and winter tomatoes are going door to door

One of London’s top restaurant suppliers, Natoora has set up home delivery for the coronavirus crisis
A Natoora box on a doorstep
Natoora [Official Photo]

London chefs’ favourite supplier goes nationwide

Natoora, whose produce is a hallmark of many of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants in the Euro-small-plate-big-plate seasonal vein, is extending its home delivery service nationwide after reintroducing it to London during the first lockdown in March. Like then, restaurants that aren’t cooking don’t need ingredients to cook with, and many suppliers — farmers, butchers, fishermen — again find themselves in the same position as restaurants: their primary business wiped out overnight.

Natoora deliberately exited the home delivery market in the mid 2010s, barring a partnership with Waitrose; its fully fledged return a sign that lockdown or no lockdown, the restaurant-adjacent economy is now making the assumption that shutdowns will continue, and that resilience, built up across different markets, is an essential tool for maintaining business. The likes of Warrens butcher in Cornwall, seafood supplier Pesky Fish, Namayasai farm in East Sussex, and the Estate Dairy have all taken their restaurant specialisms and turned them onto the consumer-direct, in order to keep supply chains working and businesses afloat. Natoora has established its own farm, Melilot, also in Cornwall, shortening one part of its supply chain further.

Initiatives like these need scale to survive and Natoora’s prior experience doing national delivery will have been logistically and financially advantageous, with a readymade app ready to be adapted to consumer needs. Not all suppliers have the prestige and bandwidth to make such a decisive pivot. The growth of influence from it and suppliers like it may have the short-term impact of making those Euro-small-plate-big-plate-seasonal restaurants more homogenous and predictable than they might once have been. The nationwide delivery is expected to roll out in mid-November.

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