Richard and Kerrie Patterson.

North East family business delivers egg-ceptional results during lockdown

A North East family business has started its own food delivery service for local produce across the region during lockdown.

Northumbrian Free Range Eggs, which is based between Gateshead and Ingoe, Northumberland, supplied eggs to a number of high-end restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops throughout Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.

However when Coronavirus hit, husband and wife team Richard and Kerrie Patterson were forced to diversify their business to survive.

“Back in March we realised a lot of our customers were going to be closing their doors and we would lose out on trade,” explained Kerrie Patterson, director of Northumbrian Free Range Eggs.

“We’d always had it in our minds that we’d adapt our business and do some sort of home delivery but weren’t sure how it would work. But after putting a post on our Facebook page, it almost went viral!”

That post was shared 863 times and had a reach of over 105,000 people, giving Kerrie and Richard the confidence to get their delivery service up and running.

Northumbrian Eggs’ delivery service operates from Monday to Friday, with the company’s two delivery drivers working in certain postcodes on a set day each week. “We’ve turned into a bit of a deli on wheels,” says Kerrie. “It’s important that we support local businesses, so we’re supporting them as well as delivering our own eggs.”

Inspired by requests from followers on social media and local businesses, the service stocks and delivers produce from North East businesses such as Jean’s Jams in Newburn, Pilgrims Coffee on Holy Island, and the Northumbrian Cheese company, as well as its eggs from Kearsley Farm near Matfen.

“We’re very passionate about making local produce available because it’s so much better for the economy,” said Kerrie. “We can’t compete with supermarket suppliers who can deliver in bulk. However, buying locally supports smaller companies like ourselves who offer fresh products.”

With a huge increase in demand during lockdown, Northumbrian Free Range Eggs has been able to take on four new members of staff. “We’ve gone from just the two of us to a great little team. There are two delivery drivers, an egg-packer, and someone who helps us with IT,” said Kerrie.

“No-one knows what will happen at the moment, but hopefully they’re going to be with us for the foreseeable future.”

While Northumbrian Eggs isn’t planning too far into the future, their next challenge will be Christmas. “We’re already thinking about how we can get local staples to people this Christmas,” says Kerrie. “We’re planning to make up hampers with nice, luxury goods that can be delivered out to our customers.”

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