Tired of the the rigmarole that is looking for a food delivery slot? You're not the only one. And it's particularly frustrating if you're elderly or in the at risk category with no choice but to order food, or rely on the kindness of others.
We're all being advised to rely on online food delivery, where we can, in an effort to minimise the need to go outside, but a sudden surge in demand has seen wait times increase, with many supermarkets unable to offer a delivery slot until late-April, if at all.
In a bid to make the shopping process a little more bearable – trust us, we feel the frustration as much as you do – we've created a list of all the key food delivery companies and supermarkets who offer home delivery, including new services from M&S, Uber Eats and Deliveroo, along with information on when you might expect to get yourself booked in for a slot from other supermarkets and any other tips and tricks we've picked up along the way.
We'll update this information regularly, so that you stand the best chances of getting a food delivery as soon as possible. For more advice and information on feeding yourself during the Coronavirus outbreak, head over to our food hub for ideas and easy recipes.
Where you can get a food delivery fast
Morrison's Food Box: Currently, Morrisons's are offering a couple of Food Boxes suitable for vegetarians and meat eaters. While we can;'t be entirely certain as to what exactly in the boxes – according to Morrison's you can expect 'a selection of foods...and household items' delivery times don't appear to be too long and this is without doubt one of the best options we've seen for home delivery.
Deliveroo: As well as delivering takeaways, Deliveroo is starting to deliver basic groceries (their couriers pick up food and drink from local corner shops and smaller supermarkets) and bring them to your door. Shopping includes bread, milk, cereals, tinned food, rice, pasta, and soft drinks. Don't expect supermarket prices; do expect convenience, speedy service and free delivery.
Uber Eats : The food delivery company is offering the same service as Deliveroo, as well as the usual takeaways.
We'd also recommend thinking about where you can shop more locally. In our experience, reaching out to local butchers, green grocers and similar food services has a much shorter waiting time (if any at all).
While many may not traditionally offer food delivery, you'll find that a remarkable number have started offering this service in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Plus, it's a great way of supporting a local business during this tricky time and often doesn't work out too dissimilar, price wise, to a local supermarket.
Supermarket food delivery: the latest
As mentioned above, we'll be updating this section daily in a bid to bring you the latest information on when you can expect a food delivery from the following supermarkets and delivery companies:
Asda: While we had to wait in a queue for around 5 minutes to get online, and start our online shop, this doesn't seem like too much of a wait given the current demand. ASDA are, however, fully booked for deliveries over the coming weeks in various areas of the country. They are offering the option to click & collect instead, which is an option for minimising contact.
ASDA are offering dedicated hours for NHS workers, so this is an option worth considering if you fall inside this group.
Tesco: We had no issue getting onto Tesco, with no virtual queues to speak of. However, the problems arose when we tried to book a delivery slot. There's currently no availability for the coming, or at least that's the case in London, with Tesco currently limiting users from booking anything beyond mid April. So, you'll need to check back regularly to stand a chance of getting booked onto one of the newly released slots.
Tesco are offering hours for the elderly and most vulnerable, as well as NHS workers, so you might wish to look into these options if you fall into either of these groups.
Sainsbury's: Due to such a great increase in demand, Sainsbury's have currently paused new sign-ups to their online service. So, if you haven't shopped with Sainsbury's online before, you'll be unable to do so at the moment. Not that it makes too much of a difference, as there are currently no available slots for existing customers, either.
That said, Sainsbury's are working to prioritise online delivery for their most vulnerable existing customers. So, if you think you fall into this group, it may be worth reading a little more about the policy so that you can potentially get a slightly earlier delivery slot. Nice work, Sainsbury's.
It's also worth noting that Sainsbury's are offering special opening times for the elderly every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 08.00 to 09.00. NHS workers can also be able to enter supermarkets for half an hour before they open, from Monday to Saturday. This means that anyone with NHS ID will be able to shop from 07.30 to 08.00.
Morrison's: This morning, we found ourselves in a virtual queue with an estimated wait time to get onto the Morrison's website of more than an hour. It's not looking much more positive when you get online, either, with reports of no food delivery slots currently available.
Morrison's are, however, offering a Food Box for vegetarians and meat eaters. While there's been some confusion over what exactly the contents of the box are, this is one of the best options we've seen around.
Waitrose: Having acknowledged such a massive increase in need, Waitrose have currently paused the option to book a delivery slot while they work through current demand. We're currently unsure when this policy will be reversed.
M&S: Marks and Spencer have currently paused their food delivery service. There is the option to get a £35 M&S Food Delivery Box which can be delivered in just over one week, though this is selling out quickly.
Ocado: When we tried to get onto Ocado this morning, we found ourselves in a virtual queue behind 37,899 people with a wait time of 'over an hour' – you don't say. Ocado have acknowledged their struggle to keep up with demand, having paused use of their app, and having previously suspended use of their service, altogether.
Milk andMore: We experienced a short queue while trying to get onto the Milk and More website, though this was nothing compared with other major retailers. Unfortunately Milk and More have currently closed access to new customers as they seek to manage the orders they already have, though they are said to be keeping up with regular orders.
Sheringham's Fine Food Delivery: If you live in and around Central London, Sheringham's are offering next day delivery on fresh foods, as well as dried goods, if you shop before 5pm. We'll warn you, it's not cheap. But if you're in a pinch it's an option that could be worth considering.
The following food delivery services are still welcoming new customers if you're looking for some easy recipe kits delivered straight to your door:
- Mindful Chef – receive healthy (and delicious) food deliveries to your front door
- Allplants – perfect for veggies and vegans, these meals are 100% plant-based
- Pasta Evangelists – sing sweet praises to pasta
- Balancebox – these boxes provide breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to your door
- Kurami – delicious and nutritious meal plans
How to increase your chances of getting a food delivery slot
- Given the demand, we'd recommend aiming to get on-site either really early, or really late at night, in a bid avoid the site at it's busiest. This is particularly relevant for sites with long virtual queues.
- If you can't book a slot just yet, we'd recommend putting a basket together and checking back regularly. Then, when slots do become available, you'll stand a better chance of getting one.
- Don't wait until you're out of food, or almost out of food, aim to book in advance and anticipate when you might need a shop in a few weeks time.
- Don't bulk buy. Having struggled to get a slot in the first place, we can appreciate the temptation to bulk buy foods. However, this merely perpetuates the problem and will only lead to greater problems further down the road. Plus, it's important to think of other this time, there will almost definitely be someone who needs food more than you do.
- Think a bit differently about what you usually eat. Fresh meat and fish is going to be harder to keep topped up as you should only go to the shops once a week (if at all) so embrace eating more meat-free meals. The charity V for Life has created this handy PDF showing places to find vegetarian food that can be delivered to your door.