'Worst online supermarket' for fresh groceries named by Which?

23 August 2021, 07:06 | Updated: 24 August 2021, 09:50

The worst supermarket for grocery freshness has been revealed by Which?
The worst supermarket for grocery freshness has been revealed by Which? Picture: Alamy
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Waitrose has been revealed as the worst online supermarket for fresh groceries, according to Which?

The high-end supermarket ranked lowest following a clandestine investigation into six major retailers to find out how fresh their food and drinks products are.

A team of 12 undercover shoppers for consumer specialists Which? ordered more than 1,000 groceries from six major supermarket chains to uncover the quality and longevity of their fresh produce.

To ensure a level playing field, each shopper ordered the same 16 perishable items from each company's online shop.

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In order to work out freshness, they figured out the total number of hours between the time the order was delivered to midnight on the use-by date for each item.

Each supermarket was then given a score based on its average time for the above - with Tesco, the UK's biggest chain, coming out on top.

Its items lasted, on average, 11 days.

Tesco also showed the expected shelf life of perishables on its website and the investigation found no examples of damaged packaging or food that had gone off by the time it was delivered.

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Asda was in a close second place, with its grocery products having an average shelf life of 10.5 days. However, the research did find one pack of bacon was delivered on its use-by date.

Meanwhile, online-only rival Ocado was just behind Asda with an average life of 10.4 days for products.

Waitrose, which launched its own online business last year after ending a partnership with Ocado, was bottom of the table, with items lasting an average of 8.6 days.

The supermarket also delivered two packets of beef that appeared to have gone off, despite being within their use-by dates.

Waitrose said: "We always train our Partners to pick products with the longest best-before date for online deliveries - we're sorry this fell short of our high standards and are committed to making this better for our customers.

"From time to time, we sometimes shorten the date codes on certain fresh produce to ensure it's at optimum quality - so this may also have been a factor behind the results."