Yodel is forecasting volumes to be 40% up on a ‘normal’ year as it rises to the challenge of what it claimed was a permanent change in consumer shopping habits.

The delivery company said fresh food, wine and drinks deliveries soared by 86% on Black Friday compared to the previous year.

In the two weeks across the Thanksgiving shopping season, Yodel handled more than 800,000 food and drinks parcels and it said this surge in demand followed a wider pattern of online shopping.

It pointed to research from consultants Kantar, which showed more than six million households are now buying from a grocer online – the highest figure ever recorded.

Mike Hancox, Yodel chief executive, said: “The weeks across Black Friday are a peak period for us on any year, but this year the intensity has been dramatically increased by the pandemic.

“Consumers, keen to benefit from the advantages of doorstep delivery, have triggered a steep rise in demand for online deliveries – and our order book shows that this is particularly the case for food and drink."

Hancox said volumes had increased by 20% since March and it expected Christmas to add another 20% on top of that.