Business

The Co-op has partnered with Amazon Prime to allow customers to get their grocery shopping delivered by robots.

The service launched in Glasgow on Thursday, September 16, and is expected to be rolled out across the UK before the end of 2021.

The national supermarket chain is looking to expand online sales from £70m to £200m and has turned to Amazon Prime to try and make this possible, offering same-day deliveries on groceries.

Customers with Amazon Prime subscriptions will be able to shop for Co-op items on the Amazon website, with two-hour scheduled slots each day.

The number of robots delivering groceries is due to rise from 200 to 500 by the end of the year, as part of an additional step from the Amazon collection lockers which were installed outside some Co-op stores in 2012.

The autonomous vehicles are part of a partnership with Starship Technologies, with which the Co-op already deals with to deliver £70m a year of groceries, along with Deliveroo.

The rapid-fire delivery service will offer free deliveries for orders over £40, and a minimum shop of £15, though it is currently not available in Lincolnshire.

The Co-op has faced scrutiny after signing the deal, with many questioning the ethics of online giants Amazon, but say this partnership is about reaching more people quicker.

A spokesperson for the Co-op group said: “We aren’t compromising our ethics and principles and the extension of the partnership is about getting our ethically sourced products into the hands of more people.

“It reflects the support Co-op members have shown for Amazon’s products by using its lockers and click and collect services through hundreds of our stores for a number of years.

“We also see major opportunities in co-operating with one of the world’s biggest tech companies to tackle some of the big issues, from climate change to youth skills and opportunities.”

Co-op group chief executive Steve Murrells said: “The pandemic has accelerated changes in consumer shopping trends and we’re driving forward with exciting plans to provide rapid kerb to kitchen grocery delivery services.

“We are delighted to be working with Amazon. Its reach and leading technology and innovative approach means greater convenience for people in their communities.

“This, combined with our extended partnership with Starship Technologies, marks a significant milestone in our online strategy.”

The Nosey Parker pub in Lincoln loves creating a food challenge and The Lincolnite went to check out one of their latest – the Ultimate Chip Butty.

The Ultimate Chippy Butty is a whole loaf of bread, hollowed and filled with chips, cheese and lashings of gravy. The challenge, which is also suitable for vegetarians, is also served with two jugs of gravy for dipping.

The challenge, which was introduced at the Greene King pub off Tritton Road in August, is priced at £8.99. Should you be successful, unlike us, you get a certificate and your photo on the pub’s Wall of Flame.

Inside the Ultimate Chippy Butty. It’s bigger than it looks! | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Pouring on some extra gravy. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The Lincolnite reporter Joseph Verney (left) staring at the challenge awaiting him, with the Nosey Parker’s Duty Manager Ronnie Byrne (right). | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

When the food arrived, I felt a sense of hope that maybe, if I finished my loaf, I could successfully complete the challenge, but it wasn’t to be. Maybe I just wasn’t bready enough.

After a fairly confident start, with the chips and cheese especially going down a treat, the bread really started to take its toll.

In some ways it may not look like too big a challenge, but to eat that much bread in one sitting proved an even bigger task than expected.

The Ultimate Chip Butty is priced at £8.99.| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Ronnie Byrne, Duty Manager at Nosey Parker, told The Lincolnite: “The new menu came out just over a month ago, and the new challenges have gone down a storm!

“The Ultimate Chip Butty has been one of our best sellers so far, no doubt.

“Everyone thinks it’ll be a walk in the park, but, like The Lincolnite, they’re quickly brought back down to earth! It’s basically a whole loaf of bread and a tonne of chips, cheese, and gravy.

“Anyone who can tackle that is braver than I, and the reporter, as we learned today!”

Around 50 caravan owners in Ingoldmells are set to get five more years respite as East Lindsey District Council looks to claw back “greater than anticipated losses” a controversial policy change has caused.

The authority originally told owners of caravans on their site (Kingfisher Caravan Site) that they had to pack up any holiday homes older than 20 years (15 years plus five additional one year licence extensions) in a bid to modernise the campsite.

However, next Wednesday leaders will vote to make it 10 one year extensions instead – bringing the age limit to a total of 25 years.

It was recently estimated the site faced a £2.5 million loss of income over the next two years after an £842,000 deficit in its 2019/20 budget. However, bosses said that once the work is completed they will be in a better position in the future and that income levels would return to previous levels by 2022/23.

Owners of caravans on the site have previously hit back at the changes and are currently looking to take the council to court. More than 350 caravan owners have already left the site but 100 or so remaining owners are still fighting on.

A report before councillors next week said: “The Executive is fully aware of the current occupancy position at the park and of the ongoing threat of litigation from the Kingfisher Owners Group; it is also aware that plans to repopulate the Park are being developed by Invest East Lindsey Limited and through the exploration of a potential joint venture with another local organisation.

“Notwithstanding this, the change in the occupancy rate over the past 18 months has been greater than originally anticipated; whilst this will in part be due to those licence changes, COVID-19 has had major impacts on our customers and has contributed to the situation that prevails.”

It is estimated that the measures will “limit the future impact” and could prevent 50 caravans from having to be removed – though 18 caravans over the 25 year age limit will still have to go.

More than 100 people plan to take East Lindsey District Council to court over the changes to contracts, announced in October 2019.

Opponents to the plans have said the move has lost people’s futures and targets the working class people on site. They fear the authority will set a precedent for other caravan sites in the area to follow suit.

Stuart Allen, one of the campaigners previously said of the new changes: “The people on the site have been asked their opinion this time, but the majority can see that this guarantees nothing for them.”

He said people were now “leaving through fear of the future” and that the “council will continue to lose valuable income”.

During a recent meeting of the authority’s scrutiny committee, Councillor Colin Davie said: “The aerial pictures of the site are very depressing, it looks terrible. People that have caravans spend money in the local area but that’s not going through the local economy either.”

He said the loss of income was “substantial”.

Councillors later voted to bring the matter back for further investigations.

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