AN INVESTIGATION has revealed which supermarket chains offer the most and least fresh groceries to online shoppers.
The research by consumer watchdog Which? ranked the major UK supermarkets on the freshness of their products.
Which? ranked the freshness of supermarket delivery products
A team of 12 undercover shoppers from across the UK placed online orders of 25 items, all with use-by dates, from six major supermarkets.
This included orders from Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.
Sainsbury’s finished at the bottom of the table for freshness.
Fresh food from the supermarket had an average shelf life of just 9.7 days.
Sainsbury’s also delivered the most out-of-date single item – chilled frankfurters that were 11 days out of date.
But Which? said that the grocer also delivered the item with the longest shelf life of all the supermarkets – a stilton with 37 days left to consume.
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We deliver more than 85,000 orders a day on average and are sorry that this tiny number of examples has not lived up to our usual high service.
“If customers are not happy with the freshness or quality of their groceries, they are able to return products to our drivers at the doorstep for a full refund or contact our Careline for help.”
Ocado was the best supermarket for delivering fresh food according to Which?’s investigation.
Items from the online-only grocer came with an average 11.2 day shelf life – 24 hours longer than the second best grocer for freshness which was Tesco.
An Ocado spokesperson said: “We’re delighted to have been named the best supermarket for freshness.
“Ocado guarantees a minimum life for products, ensuring our customers can enjoy fresh foods for longer.”
Tesco came in second place for freshness and its items and an average 10.2 day use-by date.
Morrisons came third with its items being delivered with an average 10.1 day shelf life.
Asda’s items had a 10 day average use-by date and Waitrose came second to last as its items had a 9.9 average shelf life.
Ele Clark, Which? retail editor, said: “Online grocery shopping is a great way to fill your fridge without having to go to the supermarket or trudge home with heavy bags.
“Of course, there can be downsides to not choosing products yourself, but no one would expect items to already be out of date when they arrive at the doorstep.
“Shoppers should never have to pay for groceries that are not at their best.
“Customers not satisfied with their supermarket delivery can complain to the driver or contact the supermarket to get their money back.
“Any foods that have gone past their use-by date can be dangerous to eat, so it’s not worth the gamble, even if it smells and looks ok.”
How can I cut my grocery costs?
Signing up for a supermarket loyalty card can often help you to get cheaper prices on essentials.
If you have a loyalty card, you may find you can get extra points or discounts, particularly if you buy petrol from the same supermarket.
But it’s worth comparing loyalty schemes – and remember you don’t have to stay loyal, despite the name.
Households can save up to £1,000 a year thanks to the exclusive deals offered to loyalty cardholders.
Shoppers should also take note of unit pricing.
Unit prices are meant to make it easier for shoppers to compare similar items of different sizes.
You should be able to see the unit price of the product where its price tag is shown – it may be in small print.
Compare this with the unit price of a similar item – for example, the cost per 100ml or two different types of cola – and choose the item with the lowest unit cost.
Heading to the shops when products are marked down and bright yellow discount stickers are applied can also save you serious dough.
If you shop in the evening, you are more likely to find goods that have been marked down.
But each branch of a supermarket will have its biggest discounts at slightly different times of the day.
Ditching items with labels like “finest” in favour of “own” or “value” can be worthwhile.
You can also try checking frozen alternatives to fresh fruit and vegetables and looking on the lower shelves where customers are known to find better deals.
Households can save up to £800 a year by buying cheaper own-brand groceries.
You can also join our new Sun Money Facebook group to share stories and tips and engage with the consumer team and other group members.
Did you miss our previous article…