Festive food without the foot-slogging

Kathleen Hennessy offers seasonal advice on ordering your supermarket groceries online

Soon it will be the season to eat, drink and be merry. But unless you have a truck – or a very small family – getting the provisions in for Christmas is likely to involve several trips to crowded supermarkets.

Thankfully, there is an alternative to elbowing your way through the hordes: food shopping over the internet. Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Waitrose all deliver groceries, most of them seven days a week and throughout the day (although some have a less frequent service on Sundays).

Supermarkets don't deliver to all addresses. As you might expect, Tesco has the widest coverage, transporting food and drink to 97 per cent of UK postcodes. It is followed by Sainsbury's (83 per cent coverage) and Asda (65 per cent). Waitrose, through its partnership with Ocado, delivers to 56 per cent of addresses, and 54 Waitrose branches sends vans out locally. Marks & Spencer does not deliver food, except for hampers.

Charges can range from nothing at all in the case of Ocado, if your order is worth over £75 and booked for a quiet period, to £6.50 for Tesco's most popular delivery time slots.

All the supermarkets offer a full range of products online. If an item is unavailable, a "logical" substitute is provided, which you are free to reject on delivery for a refund. Where an item is replaced by one of higher value, Asda and Waitrose charge customers at the lower price. Waitrose and Tesco also allow alternatives to be selected online in case a customer's first choice isn't available.

The freshness of food bought over the internet has been questioned by the consumer group Which?. It found that, on average, food bought online is 1.28 days nearer to its "best before" date than produce available in-store. "We investigated after complaints of food being very close to its 'best before' date," says Simon Spruce at Which? "Interestingly, when it came to the age of products selected for online shoppers compared to those in-store, all the major supermarkets were about the same."

Shopping in this way may not seem a green option, but supermarkets are addressing the environmental impact. Tesco offers you the option of having shopping delivered in reusable trays rather than plastic bags. Waitrose, Ocado, Asda and Tesco take back their bags for recycling.

Finally, just how late can you leave it to order? Tesco is delivering up to and including the morning of 23 December, and Asda up to and including the same date. Sainsbury's delivers until 22 December, while Ocado's vans will still be doing the rounds on Christmas Eve.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

    Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

    £70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

    Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

    £23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

    Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

    £13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

    Day In a Page

    Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

    ‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

    Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

    ... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
    12 best olive oils

    Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

    Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back