The owners of a brand new Carlisle fresh food home delivery service are suddenly facing an explosion in demand, as residents turn to new online shopping options in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown.

Will Box and Jonny Honeyman, whose new company Boxed Fresh was only launched in January, have gone from delivering 30 to 40 boxes of fresh fruit, vegetables and other essential ingredients per week to about 500 boxes in a single day.

Will, 28, is no stranger to new business challenges, having grown his own company Inter Fresh from humble beginnings in his mum’s garage three years ago to providing wholesale deliveries to 200 customers in the Carlisle area from the firm’s warehouse in Caldewgate.

But with demand from restaurants plummeting due to the coronavirus lockdown, Will and his team at Inter Fresh have thrown themselves headfirst into the new Boxed Fresh enterprise in response to the now enormous demand for home deliveries.

“Fortunately, with the wholesale side in Inter Fresh, we’ve got the infrastructure already there,” he said.

Will hopes that demand for Inter Fresh’s wholesale services will normalise soon, though he says it won’t happen “overnight”, given the likely duration of the lockdown.

Will, born and bred in Carlisle, said the Boxed Fresh team were “just” managing to cope with the explosion in demand.

“We’re just taking every day as it comes at the moment.”

With a focus on quality produce that avoids where possible the use of plastic packaging, the vast majority of produce that arrives at their warehouse is delivered to customers the same day.

Will added that the firm is taking the new requirements for social distancing as seriously as possible, by offering completely contact-free deliveries.

Demand has been so high for the past several days that the firm had to temporarily suspend taking orders.

“We are restricting it so it’s manageable, and people get deliveries on time,” Will said.

However, Will said the plan was for orders to reopen again today on their website:

Will said he didn’t want to capitalise on the sudden surge in demand for home deliveries as a result of the lockdown by driving up prices, and didn’t want to make the mistake of biting off more than the small local firm could chew.

“We’re just trying to cover our costs, and still be here in three or four months’ time.

“We want to be able to manage it, we don’t want to be going too far and letting people down.”