Sales in products used to grow and make food have soared as shoppers increasingly find themselves in empty supermarket aisles amid coronavirus panic-buying.
Seeds in particular are flying off Amazon’s warehouse shelves, according to the online seller’s figures which reveal as much as a 1,237 per cent spike.
Anecdotal evidence from social media further shows people scrambling to buy bread makers and other baking appliances.
Retailers also experienced upticks in office and gym equipment as Britons brace to hunker down indoors after government advice to avoid social contact.
And B&Q even reported an upward trend in DIY tool sales and believe people will use the isolation period to plough ahead with repairs around the home.
The surge in these unusual items comes after staple foods became scarce in some places because anxious shoppers began stockpiling for fear of being forced into self-isolation.
Panic-buying also overwhelmed online retailers and prompted internet supermarket Ocado to temporarily suspend purchases.
Casting an eye over the tumultuous food supply chains, it appears many Britons are ordering the equipment to make their own meals as a safety net in case produce runs dry.
This afternoon, tomato seeds were among Amazon’s biggest climbers after sales surged by 1,237 per cent.
This was followed by seed-sowing compost, saw a 1,096 per cent hike in orders.
Seeds in particular are flying off Amazon’s warehouse shelves, according to the online seller’s figures which reveal as much as a 1,237 per cent spike for tomato seeds (left). Cress seeds (right) had a 619 per cent rise in sales
Retailers also experienced upticks in office and gym equipment as Britons brace to hunker down indoors after government advice to avoid social contact (a fitness delivery at a property in Mayfair)
Anecdotal evidence from social media also shows people scrambling to buy bread makers and other baking appliances
Cress seeds, salad leaves and courgette seeds all rose by 619 per cent, 432 per cent and 318 per cent, respectively.
Sales in potato growth bags to grow also climbed 168 per cent in the past 24 hours.
Bread makers are also quickly selling out, with many people on social media reporting they are struggling to get hold of them.
John Lewis also reported a upticks in office, technology and gym equipment as people prepare to self-isolate.
Boris Johnson has advised people to shirk all social contact and work from home where possible.
This has prompted swathes of the country’s workforce to leave their offices for the foreseeable future.
And while gyms have not yet been forced to shut, workout-junkies keen to avoid infection are steering clear.
Meanwhile B&Q told MailOnline that their stores had seen an increase in DIY products, which they put down to people using their stay-at-home time to get on with outstanding repair jobs.
It came as the UK’s death toll jumped by 40 to 177 in the biggest daily spike yet – 3,355 have been infected.
The surge in these unusual items comes after staple foods became scarce in some places because anxious shoppers began stockpiling for fear of being forced into self-isolation (empty shelves in Kent pictured)
This was followed by seed-sowing compost, which saw a 1,096 per cent hike in orders. Sales in potato growth bags to grow also climbed 168 per cent in the past 24 hours
The stampede to snap up grow-your-own products came as Tesco ramped up measures to help customers social distance by taping off exclusion zones in front of tills
The stampede to snap up grow-your-own products followed Tesco ramping up measures to help customers social distance by taping off exclusion zones in front of tills.
Black and yellow lines have already been stuck to the floor in front of the tills at some Tesco Express stores where customers are being encouraged to remain one metre apart and stand back from the tills.
Tesco confirmed this is part of new signage they are introducing in some UK stores to help customers navigate the aisles more quickly, and for the safety of staff and shoppers.
A Tesco spokesperson said the retailer will be introducing the signage and social distancing measures and at checkouts in line with government guidelines.
Customers are being asked to place their shopping on the counter and stand outside of a taped exclusion zone at a Tesco Express in Herne Bay, Kent.
Shoppers must remain outside the taped area until asked by a cashier to enter, once the staff member has stepped back towards the wall, according to Tesco staff.
A Tesco Express worker said: ‘Customers aren’t allowed in the taped exclusion zone while we are at the till.
‘They are only allowed in the exclusion zone, or inside the tape, once we have notified them they are allowed to and we have taken a step back towards the wall. That’s to allow social distancing.
‘Customers are also not allowed to pass us money. They have to leave it on the counter for us to collect it so there is no hand touching. If we do brush hands, we have to use hand gel.
‘At the end of each day, staff have to disinfect the tills and the till pads, all the baskets and the handles for the trollies as well.
‘We were told some of the larger stores have also been made to mark out lines in the queues for customers to distance themselves.’
Shop workers said the measures are a step in the right direction to ensure staff and customer safety but raised concerns for elderly shoppers who are unable to lift their baskets to the till.
They also said the exclusion zone does not work for staff monitoring self service tills or workers stacking shelves directly next to shoppers.
Another Tesco worker said: ‘Some workers don’t like it as they say it will make it awkward to serve customers in mobility scooters who have to lift their own basket to the till.
‘We have a lot of elderly people who can’t do that so somebody has to help them anyway.’
Customers supported the measures and said more must be done to help protect retail workers who are ‘at the front line’ ensuring the public still have access to essential food supplies.
Tesco shopper Catherine Farrell, 55, from Herne Bay in Kent, said: ‘It’s a good thing to keep cashiers safe because they are on the front line. I spotted the tape when I went to the shop yesterday.
‘There is a line to keep the customers a metre away from the cashier and there are also lines for queuing customers to be a metre apart.
‘They’ve used thick yellow and black hazard tape that they’ve stuck to the floor. It’s just in the cashier area and the till area.
‘Supermarket staff don’t have masks or anything. Our Tesco Express has given them hand gel to use but really I think they should use blue gloves too because they are handling all the money which has been in peoples hands, pockets and everywhere.
‘They are doing an important job because if they are not at work, the shop can’t open for customers to get crucial supplies.
‘They are still on the front line the same as anybody else in care homes and in hospitals because they are serving people from 7am until 10pm. Without them, what would we do?
‘They need protecting too, but then we hear there are not even enough masks for NHS staff.’
Pharmacies supplying repeat prescriptions to poorly patients are also taking matters into their own hands and coming up with creative ways to help customers keep their distance.
Penny Matthews, another shopper from Kent, said: ‘In our local chemist, they have made a barrier with the chairs and there is a sign to say ‘only two customers to the counter at one time.’
‘I am an at risk person, as I have Fibromyalgia and COPD, and I have to stand in a queue at the chemist with people who may already be ill with Coronavirus, to get my tablets.
‘I had to wait half an hour just to pick up an already made up prescription because everything is slowing down.’