MAKING CENTS: Weekly food shop could just be a click away

Are the days of travelling to your local shop for the groceries to become a thing of the past, asks Gráinne McGuinness

Most Irish consumers regularly use the internet to save money, both by researching products and purchasing bargains online. Most of us have bought clothes, computers and holidays online, but what about the weekly food shop? With Tesco and SuperValu both delivering to households around the country, is it time to start buying your meat and veg with the click of a button?

If interested, the first thing to check is that you are in a delivery area, particularly if you live in a rural location. Anyone within reasonable proximity to a town should be ok, but if you live in the countryside best check before you fill your basket.

SuperValu has a map on its site showing the delivery area for each of its stores that provide the service. You can also use a drop down menu to select your address and find the nearest store that delivers. Tesco, they will ask for your address as part of the registration process.

Both retailers have introductory offers to encourage new customers. Tesco offers €10 off your first delivery, with a minimum spend of €60. Supervalu offers a €15 discount off the first order, but the minimum spend is higher — €75.

SuperValu charges €3 and €7 per delivery, depending on day and time of the week. Costs can fluctuate depending on how busy the time slots are but customers will know the delivery cost when booking their time.

Time slots are generally two hours long, but occasionally one hour. Tesco charges between €3 and €7 per order and delivery in two-hour time slots. Tesco also has the delivery saver option, a subscription-based service, for regular users. Customers pay Tesco a flat monthly fee and then any order placed will be delivered without incurring charges — with a delivery every day if required.

Customers who are at home on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays can avail of the Midweek plan for €7.50 per week, while the Anytime plan costs €10 per week. Orders have to be over €50 to be free of delivery under these plans so it is geared more toward larger households who have a high grocery spend.

MAKING CENTS: Weekly food shop could just be a click away

There are pros and cons to using these services. In the early days of home delivery a frequent complaint was that groceries were badly packed, with concern about the handling of meat and frozen food. But the supermarkets have worked to iron out these issues — SuperValu states that it stores and delivers goods in accordance with HACCP guidelines so everything including frozen food will arrive just as it left the store.

Tesco also stands over the freshness and condition of deliveries. Customers can check their groceries when they arrive and anything they are not happy with can be returned with the driver for a full refund.

From a financial point of view, whether it is worth it is dependent on the size of the household and the amount spent on groceries. The delivery charge adds 10-20% to the cost of a €30-€40 shop, but is a much smaller percentage if your groceries cost more. And households with a high spend are more likely to have children, so you can add in the benefit of time saved and not having to navigate the supermarket with kids in tow.

You can save items you constantly repurchase as favourites, meaning that after the first few times getting used to the site, ordering should be a doddle. Any special offers available in-store are also available to online orders, and you accumulate loyalty card points as usual.

Dunnes Stores does not currently offer online grocery shopping but is preparing to roll out the service, likely before the end of the year.

Away from the major supermarkets, there are other online food options. For those interested in organic produce can sign up to get a weekly fruit and veg box and order a host of other fresh items and store cupboard staples from www.organicsupermarket.ie.

As more supermarkets offer online groceries, the weekly food shopping could become yet another part of our lives that is only a click away.

DEAL OF THE WEEK

Irish Rail is promoting its family fares to help organise travel for those school holiday staycations. With the Galway Arts Festival taking place from July 11 to 24, now is just the time to take advantage of the open return family ticket for €79. That will get one or two adults with up to four children from Dublin to Galway and back.

But if Galway isn’t your destination of choice, Irish Rail operating similar fares to destinations countrywide. A family can travel between Dublin and Cork for €99, from Dublin to Belfast and back for €89, or head to Kilkenny for €49.

These fares are available until August 31. The children can be aged between five and 15; under fives travel for free on intercity services anyway. The open return ticket is valid for one month from the outgoing journey. If you are simply bringing the family on a day trip, doublecheck the fare at www.irishrail.ie as some day return journeys have lower fares.


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