The food industry has united in paying tribute and expressing its deep sorrow after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The reaction began almost immediately after yesterday’s announcement that the nation’s longest-reigning monarch had died peacefully in the afternoon at Balmoral Castle aged 96.

Almost as one, major supermarkets and other food businesses turned their branding black across social media and posted messages paying their respects.

Several leading food industry figures also expressed their personal condolences.

“We are very sorry to learn of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II,” said Sainsbury’s CEO Simon Roberts.

“She was a truly remarkable woman and an inspiration to so many people, all over the world. Some of our colleagues had the honour of hosting her at our Sainsbury’s 150th birthday celebrations and we were so grateful to her for the time she took to celebrate with us.

“We thank her for her extraordinary decades of service to our country and our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Her Majesty’s family at this sad time.”

M&S CEO Stuart Machin tweeted: “One of the saddest days. Our nation’s strength and stay. Our rock.”

Co-op Group CEO Shirine Khoury-Haq tweeted: “On behalf of @coopuk I would like to offer our deepest condolences to The Royal Family, following the news about the passing of Her Majesty The Queen. Our thoughts are with the Royal Family, and we join all others who will be reflecting on her historic reign.”

Fortnum & Mason CEO Tom Athron also paid personal tribute. “It was with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II,” he said. “Her life was devoted to the service of the country and the Commonwealth, and her unequalled reign will long be recalled as one of unstinting faithfulness to her Coronation vows.

“Our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this time.”

Meanwhile, while supermarkets were still working out how commemorate the Queen, businesses issued separate statements of condolence.

“We’re deeply saddened to hear the passing of Her Majesty The Queen,” said an M&S spokesman. “For over 70 years she has dedicated her life to service for her country and the Commonwealth, and been a figurehead of national unity and stability at a time of enormous change.

“She has led at all times with a quiet determination and selfless devotion, and has been all that is the very best in us. While being Monarch she has raised a loving family whom she adored, and they her. As HRH Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh was to her, she has been our nation’s strength and stay.

“We join the Royal Family and the nation in their grief and offer the Royal Family our heartfelt condolences.”

An Aldi spokeswoman said: “We are saddened to hear of the news that Her Majesty The Queen has passed away. As our longest reigning monarch, she led with grace and selfless devotion.

“Our thoughts are with The Royal Family at this difficult time. We await further details of what will happen in the coming days, and will update our customers and colleagues when we know more.”

The John Lewis Partnership said: “We are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty The Queen. She faithfully served the nation as our Sovereign during her long, happy and glorious reign. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to The Royal Family.”

Tesco tweeted: “We are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty The Queen. Our thoughts and condolences are with the Royal Family, as we mourn the loss of our longest-serving British monarch. We are indebted to her dedicated service to this country.”