Mass buying has emptied the shelves in brick-and-mortar supermarkets but some online outlets are still accepting orders.
Below, we’ve broken down the current advice from various supermarkets and online delivery service companies, and have highlighted which stores currently have the longest delays.
If you’re a vulnerable customer who needs groceries delivered, the government is advising that you register here.
ASDA has introduced new restrictions, which means that customers can only buy three of certain items like baby milk and handwash.
Because of high demand for online shopping the retailer is now only showing the next week’s worth of delivery slots. Availability might vary across regions, but we couldn’t see any delivery slots in London, Manchester or Glasgow over the next seven days. We also couldn’t find any click and collect slots in these areas either.
The company advises any customers who are self-isolating to let delivery drivers know by leaving a little note in the “any additional comments” section on the delivery page. It’s also asking that people consider going for delivery slots that are at less popular times.
Sainsbury’s is prioritising vulnerable and elderly customers, and asking people who are physically fit to visit brick-and-mortar shops. As such, you can’t book a delivery slot unless the company has you listed as a vulnerable person.
This may change though, as the company ramps up the number of delivery slots available along with its click and collect service. We’ll update as soon as this happens.
Sainsbury’s has emailed 270,000 customers that it has identified as vulnerable to offer them delivery slots. It’s also working with the government to identify vulnerable customers who should be prioritised for online shopping.
The supermarket previously had limits in place which meant that customers could only buy three of any product on their grocery list and only two of any high-demand products (like UHT milk and handwash.) But from early April some of these restrictions will start rolling back. Importantly, there are no limits on Easter egg purchases.
Related: Digital Wellbeing apps
Like the other supermarkets, Sainsbury’s is advising any self-isolating customers to leave a note explaining their situation in the delivery instructions, so that drivers can act accordingly.
Because of the current high demand, the supermarket isn’t accepting any new customer registrations.
There’s been a huge spike in online shopping for Tesco, which has resulted in a bigger demand for home deliveries. Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in very long wait times – we couldn’t see any bookable slots in the next three weeks for a delivery or click and collect service in London, Manchester or Glasgow.
As such, the company recommends customers try to head to brick-and-mortar shops, which should free up future delivery slots for the elderly and vulnerable.
The company has also confirmed that it’s adding 120,000 delivery slots soon and expects to add a further 100,000 to this number. Like Sainsbury’s, Tesco is now working with the government to identify vulnerable customers, who will be given priority for online delivery.
The retailer asks that any self-isolating customers let drivers know by explaining the situation in the delivery notes. Drivers will pack your goods into a plastic bag and drop them off using disposable gloves.
Restrictions-wise, customers can only take three of any item, which includes toiletries, groceries and all other goods. There’s also an overall cap in place, limiting big food orders to 80 items.
The site has introduced a new queuing system, but unfortunately it also has no delivery slots available. When we viewed the site on April 03, a message popped up stating: “Please note, unfortunately we currently have no available delivery slots. If you want to edit an order already placed please wait.”
The retailer has said that it will release more slots on a rolling daily basis.
Morrisons recently launched a food box delivery service. Customers can pay £30 for a box of food, which should feed two adults for a week. There’s a £5 delivery charge whacked on top of this, bringing the total to £35. Currently, there’s only a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian option available.
You can still find some Morrisons produce if you look on Amazon’s Prime Now, which has one day delivery options. These delivery slots are released throughout the day, so you might need to check in a few times before you find one that’s available.
Just like the other retailers, Morrisons has issued restrictions on a number of items. This has now been slightly altered, with customers now allowed to purchase restricted items in groups of four rather than three.
As usual, any customers who suspect they have contracted the virus should alert the driver in the additional info slot on the delivery page.
Like most other supermarkets, Ocado is trying to prioritise vulnerable customers. As such, when you visit the company’s site it won’t let you progress to make an order, but it will tell you when the next general delivery slots will be made available.
If you do manage to get onto the website when there are slots available, the site has introduced a queue system that can take up to four hours to clear.
There are certain item restrictions in place, but the company has started rolling these backs.
Similarly to other retailers, Ocado has asked customers who are self-isolating to let the company know via the driver notes section. These customers are asked to remain inside while the driver leaves items on the doorstep, who will then phone to let you know the items have been unloaded.
On 17 March, Amazon confirmed that it was halting shipment of all non-medical or non-essential supplies in the US and EU marketplaces until April 05. Those rules shouldn’t apply to Amazon Fresh, though, as groceries are counted as essential items.
Regardless, Amazon Fresh doesn’t seem to have any delivery slots over the next few weeks, even though you can now check for availability over a four-week period. You also need to be a Prime member (£79 for a year) to get Amazon Fresh, which costs £3.99 on top of the membership fee.
Another option is to look at the goods on Prime Now. There’s a smaller selection of food products here and they might not all be in stock – but there’s still a fairly decent range to choose from and there’s one-day delivery to boot. But you will need to be a Prime Member to access this. Delivery slots are rolled out throughout the day, so you won’t always see a slot available.
Related: How to cancel Amazon Prime
Deliveries will all be contactless, so your rider is likely to leave your pizza on your doorstep rather than hand it to you.
You’ll probably notice that there are a lot fewer restaurants listed. But Deliveroo is handy if you need something brought over from a local off-license or mini-supermarket.
“The safety of our riders and customers is our top priority,” said a Deliveroo spokesperson. “That is why we have launched a new, contact-free delivery service. Customers and riders can request in the app that food is left safely on the doorstep. We remain in daily contact with local health officials to make sure we are offering the safest service possible to customers, riders and restaurants.”
Just Eat has also rolled out contactless delivery. Speaking to Trusted Reviews, a spokesperson said: “The health of everyone in the Just Eat community is our highest priority and our approach is guided by government and health authority advice in every market where we operate.
“We have introduced contactless delivery across our network and continue to share and implement relevant guidance for the restaurants and couriers we work with.”
People have been leaving notes for Uber Eat drivers for years, suggesting weird places to leave their orders and requesting extra-loud knocks when they’re hard-of-hearing. Anyone who’s self-isolating can use this notes section to let their drivers know about their situation.
Speaking with Trusted Reviews, an Uber Eats spokesperson said: “Safety is essential to Uber and it’s at the heart of everything we do. In response to the ongoing spread of coronavirus, we’ve reminded Uber Eats users that they can request deliveries be left on their doorsteps.
“We’re simultaneously at work on new product features to make this process even smoother, which we hope will be helpful to everyone on the platform in the coming weeks.”
For now, it looks like all the above takeaway services are operating as usual – but supermarkets are still struggling to catch up with online demand.