When supermarkets struggled to meet online order demand during lockdown, food delivery app Deliveroo swept to the rescue by offering to drop supermarket groceries to people's homes. But now delivery slots are easier to get with the supermarkets themselves, is Deliveroo still a good way to order your essentials?
Waitrose recently became the latest supermarket to partner with Deliveroo, following similar moves from Aldi, Co-op, M&S and Morrisons.
Other than M&S, which has now stopped selling via Deliveroo, these supermarkets all offer a range of grocery items via Deliveroo in selected areas, with some even offering delivery within 30 minutes.
For a delivery as speedy as this, ordering via Deliveroo rather than the supermarket seems like a no-brainer - but how do the costs of grocery items and delivery itself compare? Which? investigates.
Ordering bread, fruit and vegetables on Deliveroo (which has a website and app) works the same way as ordering a takeaway.
You simply enter your postcode and, if Deliveroo is available in your area, search for a specific store or choose the 'Grocery' category.
There, you'll find all the grocery stores accepting Deliveroo orders in your area. You might find local independents and corner shops on the list alongside big that also offer their own online operations.
Deliveroo says there are 400 Co-op stores on its service, 180 branches of Morrisons, 29 Aldis and five Waitroses.
Near the Which? London office, we found 33 grocery options at the time of writing, including Aldi, Co-op and Morrisons.
To find out, we looked at a sample of products from each supermarket's Deliveroo menu and compared prices with the brands' own websites. Here's a summary of what we found.
We price-checked some of the items available on the Co-op's website and Deliveroo, and found that the Deliveroo listings were typically more expensive. Cathedral City Mature Cheddar (350g) was £5 on Co-op's website, but £6.25 on Deliveroo. Krave cereal was £3.30 direct from Co-op, or £4.15 via Deliveroo.
The convenience store's Deliveroo menu includes 'bundles' of products for meals (breakfast on the go, packed lunch) and for occasions like movie nights. This is unique among the supermarkets we checked. It was also the only Deliveroo store with a Baby section, and with free newspapers (Daily Mail and The Times only).
The majority of items we checked were the same price on Deliveroo and online, but there were some exceptions. A pack of five bananas cost 69p online, but £1 on the Deliveroo app.
There were also some more significant differences in price. Halloumi (225g) was £3.70 on Deliveroo, but only £1.59 online. Similarly, Cathedral City mature cheddar (350g) was £3.50 on Deliveroo but £2.50 online. These differences are the result of promotional discounts that aren't on Deliveroo.
Deliveroo does have a few prices that are lower than Morrisons online, however - and notably, the supermarket's Eat Fresh meal boxes are available via Deliveroo but out of stock on the website. So if you want to try Morrisons' take on the , Deliveroo is the only place you can get them over the internet.
Waitrose is currently in the trial stage of its relationship with Deliveroo. It only has five stores participating at the time of writing: Bracknell, Cambridge, Clifton, Notting Hill and Surbiton. Waitrose says these stores cover half a million households, but that still means most people aren't yet covered.
Price-wise, most items were at least 10p more expensive than they were direct from Waitrose.
Occasionally, Waitrose promotional discounts made for some stark differences. A Pizza Express Classic Margherita pizza was £5.20 on Deliveroo, but just £3.33 on the Waitrose website. And Waitrose Indian Chicken Tikka Masala was £4.15 on Deliveroo, but £2.66 on the Waitrose site.
Since Aldi's groceries aren't available online, we can't compare their prices. If you want to shop at Aldi without leaving your house, this is your only choice besides getting someone you know or a to go for you.
Whether you fire up the Deliveroo app or take to a supermarket's website for your online grocery fix depends on your priorities. Below we compare the two options based on three criteria.
At the height of lockdown, the main appeal of Deliveroo for essentials was being able to get an online delivery when many supermarkets' own slots were full up.
A Which? survey in April found that one in three members of the public could not get an online grocery delivery slot. Our most recent survey on this, from June, found that this had improved to one in six.
If you still can't get a delivery, this could be one of your options.
However, Deliveroo is not available everywhere in the UK, and even where it is, there's no guarantee your local grocery store will be on there.
An advantage of Deliveroo is that orders come on the same day, often in the same hour.
Co-op and Waitrose also boast rapid delivery services that deliver within two hours, but these aren't available in every postcode.
With traditional online grocery shopping, however, you'll typically have to order at least a day in advance, if not several days.
If you need supplies fast, and you can't or don't want to shop in person, Deliveroo definitely has the advantage here.
If you don't need to buy a lot of shopping each week, you might find minimum order limits frustrating. Supermarkets normally set a non-negotiable minimum spend to qualify for home delivery. Of the supermarkets we looked at for this story, minimum order values range from £15 (Co-op) to £60 (Waitrose).
Deliveroo minimum spends work differently in that you can order as little as you want, but you'll be charged a 'small order fee' if you don't meet a certain threshold. The amount will vary depending on how close you are.
You'll also get free delivery if you spend over £15 from each supermarket on Deliveroo, otherwise you'll be charged a delivery fee based on your proximity to the branch. There's also a 49p 'service fee' for any Deliveroo order.
Keep in mind that both Deliveroo and most supermarkets offer paid subscription services that could make deliveries cheaper. These are just the prices for non-subscribers.
The table below has the delivery fees and minimum orders for each supermarket.
|Aldi||n/a||Free delivery for orders over £15; 'small order fee' for orders under £20|
|Co-op||49p delivery; £15 minimum spend||Free delivery for orders over £15; 'small order fee' for orders under £10|
|Morrisons||£2-£7 delivery fee depending on slot; £40 minimum spend||Free delivery for orders over £15; 'small order fee' for orders under £15|
|Waitrose||Free delivery; £60 minimum spend||Free delivery on orders over £15; 'small order fee' for orders under £15|
Those who want to place a small grocery order will only be able to do so through Deliveroo. But if your order is really small (say, a bunch of bananas and some toothpaste), you'll have to pay a fee.