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Cheapest Online Supermarket

Cheapest Online Supermarket feature image

Published on:

Written by: Michael Barton

Published on:

Written by: Michael Barton

Michael has almost quarter of a century’s experience in the financial world. This includes trading and institutional sales trading, and in senior positions to VP of Global Equities, as well as Head of Trader Training, at companies including Merrill Lynch (SNC), Cargill Investor Services, and Goldman Sachs. Michael’s experience also extends to providing financial advice as a personal financial advisor in the UK.
This article has been fact checked by a member of the Wallet Savvy editorial team and complies with our editorial standards.

Hate supermarkets? Want to save time and instead browse your groceries over a cuppa? We’re huge fans of food shopping online – but which is the cheapest online supermarket? There’s a lot to unpack (forgive the pun), but Wallet Savvy Michael Barton has the answers…

There’s a lot to be said for doing your weekly (or monthly) shopping online. It’s convenient, saves time, and eliminates the stress of touring a supermarket crowded with people whose sole objective appears to be to stop you shopping.

It can also save you money (no more impulse buys).

On top of these obvious advantages, supermarkets often give discount codes and special offers if you do your shopping online, reducing the cost of in-store goods.

Sold on the idea of doing your shopping online? Then the only question is, which is the cheapest? Not as easy to answer as you might think. Which is why I’ve written this article.

Quick Verdict: Who’s The Cheapest?

Home delivery or click and collect will probably work out around the same total cost as shopping in-store. But it’s incredibly convenient, saving you time and cost of visiting the supermarket.

You’ll also save by selecting Offer filters, and watching your basket total instead of purchasing under pressure at the till.

Through our comparison of home delivery supermarkets, we’ve found that Iceland is currently the best for home delivery – though Ocado is a good pick if you wish to buy branded goods (including Marks & Spencer).

If you need an emergency item, then Tesco’s Whoosh is the way to go.

Aldi offers the best prices (along with Lidl) for groceries, but its home delivery service is more expensive than its competitors.

If you’re an Amazon Prime customer, you can avoid home delivery charges on Morrisons grocery shopping.

Whatever your choice is, to keep your shopping costs low I always advise that you stick to your grocery list (avoid those impulse buys) and take advantage of rewards schemes and loyalty cards.

The Basics and Delivery Charges

There are two ways to shop online:

  1. Click and collect – you shop online and collect your order from the store
  2. Home delivery – you shop online and have your shopping delivered to your home

When home delivery first started, supermarkets like Tesco enticed you to ‘sign up’ with free delivery. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Most supermarkets now charge for home delivery.

But compare this charge to the cost of fuel, parking, and time (and an expensive coffee and cake during a break from shopping) and you’re quids in.

However, you can save a huge amount on delivery charges if you sign up for a delivery pass. You’ll be charged a one-off fee, with no more delivery charges for the period your delivery pass covers.

Ready to find out which is the cheapest online supermarket for you? Then let’s get started.

Aldi

You’ve got to love Aldi, haven’t you? It stocks a great range of produce (much if it British), and is in a constant battle with Lidl as the UK’s cheapest supermarket. However, it doesn’t measure up quite so cheaply in the delivery and click and collect race.

Aldi Shopping screenshot

Delivery Costs and Collection Details

Aldi offers home delivery in partnership with Deliveroo. You can order your groceries online for same-day delivery with Deliveroo at a cost of £1.99. The minimum-spend amount for home delivery is £25.

Aldi doesn’t offer a delivery pass itself. If you sign up to Deliveroo Plus – which costs £11.49 per month – you get unlimited ‘free’ deliveries.

Aldi’s click and collect service costs £4.99.

Payment for delivery is taken when you place your order. For click and collect, Aldi requests a pre-authorisation from your card and takes this sum upon collection.

Amazon and Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh logo

When it comes to online shopping, Amazon practically invented the concept. So, you’d expect them to be hot with your online grocery shopping. Subject to the stores in your area, you’ll be able to buy produce from Amazon Fresh, Morrisons, and Co-op.

Delivery Costs and Collection Details

You’ll need to be an Amazon Prime member to use Amazon’s home delivery service. This membership is currently £8.99 per month.

The minimum spend amount for free home delivery is between £40 and £60, again depending upon your region. Delivery is available in two-hour time slots.

If your order is below £60, there is a surcharge of £2 for home delivery.

You may click and collect with no fee at Morrisons, providing you spend more than £30.

Asda

Delivery Costs and Collection Details

Asda shopping screenshot

Asda charges between £2.95 and £4.50 for home delivery, with a minimum order amount of £40.

You can shop from over 25,000 products, and pay for them by credit card, debit card, Asda eVouchers and Asda gift cards.

For click and collect, there is no minimum. Charges are:

  • 50p for collection the day after (or later) you place your order (£25 minimum spend)
  • £1.50 for same-day collection 4 hours or longer after you place your order (£25 minimum spend, with a £4 delivery surcharge on orders below this)
  • £3.50 for same-day collection within 4 hours of placing your order (No minimum spend)

Payment is usually taken on the day of your delivery, though may be taken the day preceding delivery.

You can have your shopping delivered seven days a week. The cheapest delivery slots are afternoon and evenings Monday through to Thursday.

Asda Delivery Pass

If you shop with Asda regularly, you can save up to £199 per year on delivery charges (based on a midweek shop with a delivery charge of £4.50). Delivery Pass options are:

  • Anytime 12-month pass – £6.50 per month or £65.00 per year
  • Midweek 12-month pass – £3.50 per month or £35 per year

As an Asda Delivery Pass holder, you’ll also get year-round priority to delivery slots, including at Christmas and Easter.

As a price promise, if you don’t save money with your delivery pass vs shopping online as and when you need it, Asda will give you an eVoucher for the difference so that you won’t lose out financially.

Co-op

Co-op has partnered with Deliveroo to offer a home delivery service.

Delivery Costs and Collection Details

For home delivery, you only need to spend £15 or more, and Co-op promises to deliver in less than two hours. You’ll need the Deliveroo app to complete your shopping for home delivery, though.

You’ll be charged a minimum of 99p for delivery.

Co-op also offers a free click and collect online shopping service.

Iceland

Delivery Costs and Collection Details

Iceland shopping screenshot

Iceland does not offer a Delivery Pass, but you won’t need one if you spend £40 or more and want next-day delivery – do this and you won’t be charged a delivery fee.

However, if you spend less than this, delivery charges start at £3.

If you wish to click and collect your shopping list, Iceland provides a free service for orders over £25.

Payment is pre-authorised and taken from your bank account on the delivery date.

In short, though, Iceland is the cheapest home delivery supermarket, with deliveries between 8am and 9pm Monday to Saturday and 8am to 9pm on Sundays (all deliveries booked during two-hour time slots).

Morrisons

Morrisons are trying hard to increase their share of the home delivery market. They have lowered the minimum-spend amount from £40 to £25, and reduced home delivery charges. In addition, you’ll find hundreds of items ‘lowered and locked’ in price online.

Delivery Costs and Collection Details

You’ll need to register as a customer online before you can order online. As a new customer, you may receive an incentive such as a £10 discount on a £60 online grocery spend.

Delivery costs £1.50, while click and collect can be booked in one-hour time slots for £1. Payment for delivery is taken within 48 hours of delivery.

If you are a regular Morrisons shopper, the £5-per-month Delivery Plan is your best bet to save money.

Ocado

If you prefer branded products (including Marks & Spencer) but hate traipsing from store to store, you might fall in love with Ocado. You’ll find many brand products available for delivery with this service, and the occasional small store surprise, too – and they promise to match Tesco prices.

Ocado shopping screenshot

Delivery Costs and Collection Details

Delivery costs start from 99p and rise to £6.99. If your order is less than £75, there is a minimum charge of £2.99. Payment for your shop is taken after delivery has been made.

There is no click and collect option.

Ocado Smart Pass

The Ocado Smart Pass can save you hundreds of pounds on the cost of home delivery. You also get 10% off 5 items (including some big brand goods), priority access to Christmas deliveries, and exclusive access to 50% off sales. Oh, and a free gift each year!

For free delivery, you can choose the following Smart Passes:

  • Anytime Monthly, at £8.99 per month, £49.99 for six months, or £89.99 for a year
  • Midweek (Tuesday to Thursday) at £3.99 per month, £22.49 for six months, or £39.99 for a year

Sainsbury’s

Delivery Costs and Collection Details

To order online, you must spend a minimum of £25. To get the cheapest home delivery deals, you’ll need to increase this to at least £40.

Sainsbury’s charges between £1 and £5.50 for delivery, but if you spend less than £40 then you’ll be charged £7 – the actual price is confirmed at the time of your order. Delivery is available 7 days per week in one-hour time slots.

If you wish to click and collect, you’ll need to choose a one-hour time slot for collection. The standard charge is 50p, though baskets under £25 will incur a £4 surcharge.

Same-day click and collect is charged at £6 for baskets under £25 and £2 for baskets over this amount.

Payment is taken when your order is ready for delivery or collection.

Delivery Saver Plans

Sainsbury’s offers several delivery subscription plans. These could save up to £168 per year in delivery charges based on a weekly delivery, with a minimum spend of £40 per delivery:

  • Anytime Monthly: £7.50 per month
  • Anytime 6-Monthly: £43 single payment
  • Anytime 12-Monthly: £80 single payment
  • Midweek Monthly: £4 per month
  • Midweek Monthly: £40 single payment

Tesco

Delivery Costs and Collection Details

You have three options for delivery or click and collect when you shop online with Tesco:

1. Home Delivery

One-hour time slots or ‘flexi-saver slots’. You’ll receive updates on your delivery day to keep you informed of delivery time.

You must spend a minimum of £50, with a charge of £4.50 for a one-hour slot and £3 for a flexi-saver slot (a four-hour period). If you spend less than this, you’ll be charged an extra £50.

Tesco shopping slots screenshot

2. Click and Collect

Shop online, book a collection slot, and pick up from your chosen location. You’ll be charged from 25p for next-day collection. You can collect on the day you place your order for up to £2.

3. Whoosh

A great service if you’ve forgotten something. (I used this recently when cooking for a ‘Come Dine with Me’ night for my brother and his wife.)

Charges are the same as Tesco’s usual pick, pack, and delivery service, though if you spend less than £15, you’ll incur a £2 surcharge. Delivery time is as little as 20 minutes where the Whoosh service is available.

Tesco will pre-authorise payment from your card. On delivery day, the full amount of your order will be taken (with any delivery charges applied) and the £2 pre-authorisation will be deleted.

Delivery Saver Plans

Like Sainsbury’s, Tesco offer a range of Delivery Saver Plans, saving up to £176 on delivery charges. Example plans are:

PlanCost per month:
6-month plan
Cost per month:
12-month plan
Off-peak:
Home delivery for any available slot after 3pm
Delivery Saver guarantee
Collection for any available slot
£4.99£3.99
Anytime:
Same-day delivery
Home delivery for any available slot
Early access to Christmas and Easter slots
Delivery Saver guarantee
Collection for any available slot
£7.99£6.99
Click and collect:
Includes same-day collection
Collection for any available slot
Early access to Christmas and Easter collection slots
Delivery Saver guarantee
£2.49 

Waitrose

Delivery Costs and Collection Details

You can shop for all your grocery products and for John Lewis items through the Waitrose Group. Payment is usually taken on the day of delivery.

You’ll need to spend a minimum of £40 for home delivery, for which you will also be charged. This charge is only made plain when you have entered all the items on your list, and appears to depend on the time slot requested as well as the size of your shopping basket.

The supermarket has added a four-hour slot option which is cheaper than one-hour delivery slots.

Waitrose also offer a click and collect service, which is free of charge but, like home delivery, has a minimum spend requirement of £40.

Tips to Maximise the Benefits of Home Shopping

I love online shopping. It saves me time, reduces the stress of shopping when it’s busy, and allows me to do other things. Why would I want to spend two/three hours shopping, with the expense of fuel, parking, and coffees, when I could spend that time earning money from home or with friends and family?

Plus, to maximise the benefits of shopping online I’ve got a few key strategies:

Sainsburys app screenshot

· Combine Online Shopping with Reward Schemes

Most of the supermarkets and home delivery services we’ve mentioned in this article also offer reward schemes. This may include discounts, points, or even cash-back. However, they change quite regularly.

Keep your eyes on the prize! When you combine home shopping with supermarket reward schemes, the rewards you accumulate can quickly add up.

· Stick to a List

Impulse buys are the easiest way to overspend and bust through your shopping budget. By creating a shopping list and only ordering what you need, you’ll avoid this costly shopping mistake. (Seeing the total in the basket really helps me with this, rather than waiting till I get to a till!)

· Sign Up for Promotions

Keep your eyes open for online promotions. I know that sales emails are annoying, but by ticking the box to receive them you will be alerted to promotions that are relevant to you – and in the long run, this could help to save you money on your online shopping bills.

· Take Advantage of Discounts and Special Deals

Okay, I know that I said don’t stray off your shopping list, but occasionally there are times when a special offer is worth investing in.

The secret here is to only take advantage of these on items that you will use. For example, is there a half price deal on one of your regular shopping list items that you could put in the freezer?

· Buy a Delivery Pass If You Are a Regular Shopper

If you shop regularly at a particular store, consider investing in a delivery pass. You may need to pay upfront for the best delivery pass deal, but over time this will pay dividends.

Online Supermarkets – Unpacking the Basket

The question of which is the cheapest online supermarket in the UK is not black and white. There are many factors involved, including delivery charges, minimum spend requirements, availability of delivery or click and collect options, and membership or loyalty programs. It also includes your personal preference.

Overall:

  • Iceland emerges as the cheapest delivery option, though you’ll need to weigh the cost against the best in-store prices found at Aldi and Lidl
  • Asda, Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose offer delivery saver plans to suit various shopping preferences and habits
  • For convenience and product choice, Ocado and Amazon may be best
  • Tesco’s Whoosh service is ideal for urgent needs

Whichever you choose, use our tips to maximise the benefits of shopping for your groceries online. Do this and you’ll enjoy the experience and convenience of online shopping while keeping your costs down.

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