Online grocery shopping during coronavirus

Online shopping will probably increase as more of us need to self-isolate, so I thought I would do a round up here of what is going on, from supermarket chain Morrisons announcing that it is to create 3,500 new jobs to expand its home delivery service amid the coronavirus pandemic to Ocado shutting down its entire website until 21 March to work out how it can offer more slots.

I have used copy from the grocers’ websites and news we find. If you have any updates, please put in comments and I will try to update daily.

If you click on the link to the shop’s name, you will reach their current page updating on deliveries. I have added a few alternatives to get food too online at the bottom of this list. Stay safe and please shop responsibly.


Responding to the latest guidance and advice from the World Health Organisation and the Government, they are  making some practical changes to our delivery service from 13th March in order to protect the wellbeing of our customers and our colleagues.

Delivery slots are limited due to high demand. We would recommend booking as far in advance as possible. The website shows all delivery slots available – unfortunately, there are no further options or slots other than those shown.

We have had to restrict the quantity permitted per order on certain high demand products. This is so that we can continue to serve as many customers as possible.

Our delivery drivers are not permitted to enter houses or hand bags over on your doorstep. Please tell us in the Delivery Instructions section of the website if you are self-isolating so that our drivers can organise with you how to best deliver your order.

We are currently not accepting returned bags – please keep them, we will collect them all once we are able to do so.

We are currently not accepting returned or rejected items at your doorstep. Please refer to our Help Hub to find out what to do.

We are aware that some customers are experiencing intermittent issues as online traffic increases. We are working hard to fix issues as they occur; we would recommend that if you are experiencing problems, please try again later.

If you are experiencing issues with adding new payment cards at checkout, we would recommend that you remove all expired payment types (inc Paypal), and then try again.

We are increasing production where possible so that we can service the high demand levels we are currently seeing. Please be patient and continue to check the website for our latest range.

2. Asda

As you know, our stores are very busy and whilst our colleagues are doing a fantastic job of getting everything back on the shelves as quickly as possible for our customers, we want to ensure they have the time to re-stock and thoroughly clean the store so it is ready for customers. Due to this, we are temporarily closing our 24 hour stores between 12am and 6am – you can check your local stores opening times on the Asda Store Locator.

Although there is a £40 minimum spend, you should be able to buy most of your groceries at low prices. Next-day delivery is usually available and costs approximately £3, but currently, there is a 12-day wait for deliveries, due to high demand.

We know some customers are opting to shop more online and have seen an increase in demand for home delivery. Our online business is growing and we do have the capacity to take on more orders – however; we would ask customers who can be flexible in their delivery slots to consider less popular delivery times. All of our drivers are also equipped with sanitizer spray so they can continually ensure our delivery operation remains clean and hygienic and totes can be wiped down where necessary.

Should any of our customers be self-isolating, we would ask that they advise us of this in the ‘Other Information’ section when placing their order and tell us where they would like us to leave their order (e.g. on the doorstep, at the front gate etc.). Our drivers will then wear disposable gloves when delivering orders and use bags to deliver shopping, rather than plastic totes. Our drivers will leave the order at the requested location and make the customer aware the delivery has arrived by ringing the doorbell or knocking on the door. If the shopping isn’t collected quickly, drivers will call the customer. If the customer does not respond then the order will be cancelled and taken back to store with the customer receiving a full refund.

As we’re sure you can understand our customer service team is really busy at the moment, so we would ask you to consider if your enquiry is urgent before contacting us to ensure we can assist those customers who are most vulnerable. If you do have an urgent enquiry we’ll do our very best to help.

3. Sainsbury’s

Usually, same-day delivery is available if you order by 12pm and the earliest delivery time on the day is 6pm. Currently, however, the site warns: “We have limited delivery availability due to extremely high demand. We are doing everything we can to improve this situation, please check back regularly for the latest availability.”

This rings true. On a trial shop (which included toilet roll, still available on the site at the time of writing), there is no delivery slot available for the next three weeks. We advise that you check back for availability.

With a minimum spend of just £25, Sainsbury’s offers a handy small-shop option, but note that delivery can cost £7 for smaller baskets; orders over £40 incur just a £1 delivery charge.

Sainsbury’s follows in Ocado’s footsteps with their environmentally-conscious delivery service. Not only do they offer bagless delivery, but they also have eco-friendly ‘green slots’, where you can schedule a delivery to coincide with when a Sainsbury’s van is in your area.

4. Waitrose

What are you doing to support your customers? We are seeing more demand for some items, and are working with suppliers to ensure our customers continue to have the best possible choice of products.

We have also put in place additional steps for customers shopping online who are self-isolating.

Usually, Waitrose offers free trackable next-day delivery to homes all over the UK. At the moment, however, deliveries can take anywhere between five days and three weeks, depending on location. Food is delivered in crates however, instead of carrier bags, which is better for the environment.

Are there any limits on what I can order?

We have introduced a temporary cap on certain items on, including some anti-bacterial soaps and wipes, to manage demand. We are continuing to work with suppliers to help meet demand.

If you are self-isolating, Waitrose advises you contact Customer Care (0800 188884) once you have made your order, to discuss specific arrangements for where to leave the shopping.

Note that the minimum spend is higher than many, at £60 for home delivery, or £40 for click-and-collect. New joiners are eligible for special discounts, however, including a £60 offer.

5. Tesco

Delivery covers most of the UK, and you can usually opt for same-day or scheduled delivery. However, in light of the pandemic, there is currently a two-week waiting period for a delivery time-slot. A fixed one-hour slot on your chosen day can cost between £3 and £7, or you can select a flexi-saver slot for a randomly allocated one-hour slot, which costs between £1 and £4. Bagless delivery is available.

There is no minimum spend on your order, although there is a minimum £4 basket charge for orders under £25. Ordering groceries is easy, as you can shop your favourites and use the Tesco delivery app when you’re out and about.

Tesco has a varied range to choose from. While it has currently sold out of own-brand toilet roll, there are numerous other brands to choose from. Likewise, there is a variety of branded food to choose from, including sought-after tinned food.

All food comes with a freshness guarantee. If, say, your croissant arrives damaged on arrival, you can return it to the driver and they will process a refund.

6. Iceland 

Iceland stores will be changing their opening hours due to panic-buying sparked by coronavirus outbreak.

And the frozen food giant is setting aside special opening hours for its elderly customers to help them during the outbreak.

Iceland says all stores are remaining open with the usual opening hours and home delivery is still available for those who order in store.

However, it says those who shop online may find some items are limited due to demand for food and other groceries. A statement says: “We are experiencing high demand for some products which means you may not receive all your items. We will do our very best to deliver everything you have ordered and apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

“On the morning of your delivery, you will receive an Order Dispatch email, which details any missing items. You will not be charged for any items you do not receive.”

7. Co-Op

Service restriction due to high demand. All of our delivery slots are booked up at the moment. Keep checking back to see when more become available.

Where slots are available, you will only be able to order a maximum of 20 items.

Find out more about how we’re helping communities during the coronavirus outbreak.

Co-op is relatively new to the online food delivery game and only appointed an e-commerce director in January 2019.

Delivery has not been rolled out to the whole of the country, so you might need to click and collect if you don’t live in a city centre. Minimum order is just £15, and delivery is free.

There is a moderate amount of product choice, incorporating meat, vegetables, ready meals and alcohol. In-demand household products are currently in short supply (there are no loo rolls on offer) but this could be set to improve in upcoming months. 

8. Amazon Pantry

Here is an alternative to mainstream grocery retailers.

Amazon Pantry was the retailing giant’s first venture into online grocery delivery, in 2015. Pantry sells items for the food cupboard (crisps, chocolate and so on), from renowned brands such as Heinz, Kellogg’s and Cadbury’s. They do not stock fresh food such as meat, fruit or vegetables – that’s where the later-developed AmazonFresh comes in (see below).

It also stocks plenty of household goods, including surface cleaners and washing up liquid. However, it does not currently stock toilet rolls or hand sanitiser.

Usually, Amazon Prime prides itself on its one-day (or same-day) delivery, but supply chain challenges caused by the virus outbreak have led to the more cautious promise that: “most orders arrive within one working day“.

Complaints on Twitter, however, indicate that delivery dates are not available for at least two weeks.

Amazon Pantry is exclusive to Amazon Prime members, and this membership costs £7.99 a month of £79 a year. On top of this cost, there is a delivery charge of £3.99 and a minimum spend of £15. Orders are grouped together in a large cardboard box to minimise the packaging’s impact on the environment.

9. AmazonFresh

Going one step further than Amazon Pantry, AmazonFresh specialises in delivering fresh food to your doorstep. Amazon has partnered with Whole Foods, Morrisons and local shops and markets to supply a diverse selection of fruit, vegetables, meat and baked goods – including 182 organic offerings from Whole Foods alone.

While deliveries are taking longer than usual because of coronavirus, according to an Amazon blog post, next-day delivery is still available, according to the website. Order before 10am (or by 8am if you buy from the local shops and markets) for same-day delivery between 2pm and 11pm. Alternatively, you can book a slot up to 28 days in advance.

Although this is the site’s official standpoint, Twitter users suggest that delivery does not have such a quick turnaround in real life. Some have said that their deliveries were cancelled at last minute, or delayed by hours, and others said that they had to wait days before they found an available delivery slot.

In wake of the coronavirus outbreak, you can now select an “unattended delivery” at checkout if you don’t want to come into contact with others.

The service, which launched in 2016, currently only delivers to London and the south-east of the UK, but there are plans for expansion in the future.

Unfortunately, the service is exclusive to Prime and Fresh members, and it costs £11.98 a month to become a member of both. Minimum spend is £40, with a £3.99 delivery fee, although orders above £60 have free delivery.

10. Morefresh – milk delivery service

Why not consider milk delivery services for groceries?

Morefresh started with one man (Phil) and his milk van and has grown organically into a dairy and fresh produce delivery company serving families with fresh milk and the very best of local and regional produce.

Recognising the growing interest from customers in the origins of their food and the desire of people to support British farmers, producers and growers, Phil set out to bring back the convenience of doorstep milk deliveries to customers across the Midlands.

Along with milk and dairy products came the requirement for other products – quality products, that tasted great and where provenance could be assured. And so Morefresh added yoghurts, cheeses, and fruit boxes to its virtual shelves.

Delivering milk and fresh produce six days a week to over 5,000 customers, the business continues to expand its customer base and the areas it serves. It is now one of the largest independent dairy companies and serves all its customers from its depot in Birmingham.

11. HelloFresh

Although not a grocery delivery service, this is another way to get food to the table. Every week our Chefs create new recipes with photos of every step for you to cook quick, delicious, nutritious meals at home. Every week, you’ll receive a box bursting with fresh ingredients corresponding to our recipes, which will never disappoint. Customers receiving our boxes are able to swap meals and tailor their delivery to their own preferences.

They deliver all our tasty recipes and ingredients to your door in a chilled box every week, but don’t worry, you can skip and customise your deliveries to suit you.

Using our step-by-step recipe cards you’ll learn delicious new recipes every single week from the comfort of your own kitchen.

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