Having lived in London for 2 years without a car and a family of 5 to feed, I’ve had a lot of groceries delivered! Recently I crossed off the final groceries provider available to me (Ocado) and so I thought it was about time I reviewed them all. If you are outside the U.K or if you have a car then this post probably won’t be of particular interest to you. Having a sneaky look at someone else’s groceries is a favourite pastime of mine though (come on, we all do it at the check out or have a sneaky look in the freezer aisle when the trolley’s owner is pre-occupied trying to choose a tub of ice cream) so feel free to stick around for a perve.
Obviously these are my own personal experiences and the quality of food and the service in your area will probably differ slightly from mine. We are in South-East London if that helps anyone.
Click on the images of my shopping baskets for a closer look.
How have I compared the four? I built a basket with my shopping list on all 4 website’s. We’re having friends over on Saturday night so I’ve bought the ingredients to make my Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake and the Strawberry and Whisky Cheesecake (yum!). The rest is a small-average weekly shop (i.e last week was a large grocery order so this week there’s still a lot of left over veg and pantry items that don’t need re-ordering). I’ve tried to keep quantities consistent though some websites quote different quantities for a certain weight (i.e how many bananas in 1 kilogram) so there may be a slight margin of error. Ocado’s milk is a touch smaller than the other three websites. This only equate’s to 2p more per bottle so it’s not really a deal breaker.
The delivery slot selected for each is the cheapest option on Monday the 25th of June at a convenient time for me (i.e not during the school runs or after 9pm). I actually got these groceries delivered today (in time for tomorrow night) but since I’d left it until the last-minute I didn’t feel like the few slots that were left available gave a fair view of normal delivery prices.
The wine’s selected are also for Saturday night. The rule for the wine was: cheap but pretty (get your mind out of the gutter). Money’s a smidgen tight at the moment but on the other hand I don’t want to crack a bottle of Sainsbury’s own “White Wine” for guests to get sloshed on. £5 was the limit and if something yummy like the Hardy’s at Sainsbury popped up then all the better! Honestly the price difference in the wine’s is enough to sway the total’s between ASDA, Tesco and Sainsbury so all in all I think they came in about even. Ocado was significantly more expensive than the other three.
Price of Groceries + Delivery: £71.19
The Food: Slightly higher quality than Tesco’s fruit & veg, meat and pantry items. I think I prefer ASDA’s range of groceries over Tesco and Sainsbury but I don’t find they take as much care selecting my fruit & veg as Sainsbury
Their Website: It’s not my favourite of the bunch but it’s functional and hasn’t let me down. I like that I can sort by price unlike Sainsbury’s website
Delivery Service: I’ve had better! The crates my groceries were delivered in weren’t as clean as those from the other 3 retailers. Also, the delivery drivers weren’t as friendly or well groomed as I’d have liked
General Comments: The delivery slots are 2 hour windows, all other online groceries have 1 hour windows. A larger window means waiting around for longer and 2 out of my 3 Deliveries were late. To be fair, after contacting ASDA about the late delivery they gave me free delivery on my next order
Overall Rating: 2/5
Price of Groceries + Delivery: £70.03
The Food: Great quality on all fresh produce (on par with Ocado and much higher than Tesco and ASDA) and no complaints on Sainsbury’s own brand of pantry and frozen items. I prefer Sainsbury’s cleaning products and toilet paper too
Their Website: This is really where Sainsbury falls short. Stock levels clearly aren’t kept up to date given how many items are substituted in every order I receive. The last few items added to my basket are frequently lost when my session times out and I have to log back in. The most frustrating quirk is that if I amend my grocery order but miss the deadline to check my basket back out then my order will be cancelled. All other website’s will send me my original order without the amendments if I run out of time or forget to check my order out. With other online groceries I feel comfortable logging back on to continue shopping for anything I might have forgotten (i.e spending more money!) with Sainsbury I often just decide to err on the side of caution and leave my order as is, heading down to the corner store for anything I’ve missed
Delivery Service: Excellent! 5/5 for the customer service and quality of delivery. They’re always friendly and unlike Tesco and ASDA there are only a handful of drivers in my area so I see the same faces over and over (what can I say, a friendly “how are the kids?” can really make a Stay-at-home-Mum’s day!). Crates are always clean and the drivers are well presented and professional
General Comments: Sainsbury are the only one’s that offer free delivery if you spend over a certain amount on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. This particular order wouldn’t have qualified (need a minimum of £100 and this order is for a Monday) but I did that mainly to keep the price comparison fair and not swayed toward Sainsbury. If it weren’t for the clunky website and a lot of items not being available when they pack my order then I would probably have stuck with Sainsbury exclusively!
Overall Rating: 4/5 (website really let’s them down!)
Price of Groceries + Delivery: £79.26
The Food: I love the range of food from Ocado. Yes, you pay for the privilege but in a perfect world where funds were endless I’d pay the extra in a heart beat. I had quite possibly the tastiest pork sausages ever from Ocado and the ingredients were pretty awesomely wholesome too
Their Website: Overall the most enjoyable website to use. I don’t like how short the time limit to finish your order before you lose your slot is, but on the other hand you can easily check it out half done and then go in and amend it to your little heart’s content. My favourite part of their website is that there are reviews on products. Ocado are the only ones brave enough so far to publish reviews and I really appreciate it especially when um’ing and ah’ing over a more expensive item than you’re used to
Delivery Service: Excellent! They have mastered the personal touch! You receive a text the morning of your delivery telling you if any items were unavailable whilst packing your order, they give you the name of your driver and which van he’ll be driving. Once here they are always super friendly, efficient and well presented (okay so maybe it seems a little odd my obsession with “well presented” delivery driver’s but when you’ve had some right stinkers (and that’s putting it lightly) you value someone who smells nice and doesn’t make you uncomfortable sharing an enclosed hallway with). I also appreciate them being keen to collect the bags from previous deliveries
General Comments: The only downside for me is price. They aren’t as expensive as I previously thought but you really have to shop their specials to get a reasonably priced weekly shop. I’m also notoriously bad for buying things I don’t necessarily need and Ocado has lots of pretties in plain sight that woo me into buying them. Great business model but not great for our bank balance! I noticed a few holes in their product range too (eg. Organic Coconut Oil) but they do have a suggestions button where you can suggest items so I’m sure if there’s a demand they’ll meet it
Overall Rating: 4/5 (Price is kind of a big deal and lack of cheap options in a lot of their range let’s them down)
Price of Groceries + Delivery: £71.04
The Food: Out of the 4 Tesco’s food would have to be my least favourite. Their fruit and veg (frozen and fresh), meat and own brand pantry items just aren’t as tasty as the others. It feels like they should be the cheap option but often their produce is the same price as their competitors just of a lower quality. We eat a lot of fresh food so maybe they just aren’t geared towards our kind of food
Their Website: Easy to use and does everything I need it to. I appreciate the Multi-search option, it makes ordering a full shopping list nice and quick. It’s not quite as shiny and smooth as Ocado but it’s a close 2nd out of the 4 website’s
Delivery Service: They run like clockwork! Almost always on time and they call ahead if they are going to be a little late (one driver was in a small accident and called to let me know he was delayed). They hire strong guys and obviously insist they use a trolley to cart the crates up the stairs of our building. This means that once they’ve parked the truck they’ve loaded up the crates and brought them up the stairs in no time. Delivery drivers aren’t particularly friendly but they are well presented and they’re quick so I can’t complain. There are very rarely any items that aren’t available, I appreciate not having many substitutions
General Comments: Whilst the delivery and the website are great, unfortunately the quality of the food is hard to overlook. Tesco clearly chooses cheap over tasty and it shows in their fruit & veg, frozen foods and meats. Some items are okay, their sausages are great and so are a lot of their bakery items but overall the food just isn’t as good as others
Overall Rating: 3/5 (The quality of food really let’s them down)
Conclusion: It’s a toss up between Sainsbury and Ocado for me. I’ve decided to continue filling a basket on both websites and seeing how big the difference is in the final total. If Ocado comes within a few pounds of Sainsbury(including delivery) then I would probably order from Ocado knowing I will receive what I ordered and not a handful of substituted items. Ocado also has the luxury of adding extra items the night before without fear of losing my delivery. If however there’s a big difference in price like there is here then I would stick with Sainsbury!
The ASDA Price Guarantee is tempting but the quality of the food and the customer service isn’t as high as Sainsbury and Ocado so unless I was very strapped for cash that week then I wouldn’t choose ASDA.
If Ocado was consistently coming out as cheap or just a little more expensive than Sainsbury then it would be worth paying for their Saving Pass which entitles you to free deliveries.
Sainsbury and Tesco both have points programs that I can earn vouchers through, Sainsbury’s food quality is higher so they win hands down there. The Nectar vouchers wouldn’t be enough to stop me from shopping with Ocado if the price was right.
I’d love to hear other’s experiences with online groceries. Do the delivery driver’s make a big difference to who you’ll buy through or is price always the winner? If you buy in store and not online, do you shop at your nearest store or travel a little further for better prices?