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Food & Drink

Cheapest online supermarkets 2024

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With so many options for online food shopping, where do you start? Our guide to the cheapest online supermarkets gives you the lowdown on where to go and how to get the best deals online.

woman holding phone and bag of groceries

Credit: New Africa, GaudiLab – Shutterstock

Food shopping online has plenty of benefits. For starters, you don't need to get off the sofa to wander the supermarket aisles. And, you can even do your entire week's shopping at home in your pyjamas. Bliss.

Comfort aside, online supermarket shopping can also help you save money on food as you should be less likely to impulse buy unnecessary things. And, with a couple of these tips, you can actually get food online for free.

Read on to find out which are the best and cheapest online supermarkets.

You can get your food shop even cheaper online by opting for the supermarket downshift. Oh, and don't fall for these sneaky supermarket tricks they use to convince you to spend more.

Best supermarkets for online food shopping

Here are the best supermarkets for online groceries:

  1. Asda

    Asda logo

    Delivery: Starts at £1

    Minimum spend: No minimum spend, but there is a £3 charge for orders under £40

    Delivery pass: From £3.50 a month or £35 as a one-off payment

    Typical first order discount: None available at the time of writing, but be sure to search online for some before ordering.

    Shop at Asda »


  2. Iceland

    Iceland logo

    Delivery: Starts at £3, free with spend over £40

    Minimum spend: £25

    Delivery pass: Free delivery on orders over £40

    Typical first order discount: £5 off a £45 spend.

    Shop at Iceland »


  3. Morrisons

    morrisons logo

    Delivery: Starts at £1.50

    Minimum spend: £25

    Delivery pass: Starts at £5 a month, £25 for six months or £40 per year

    Typical first order discount: £15 off a £70 spend.

    Shop at Morrisons »


  4. Ocado

    ocado logo

    Delivery: Starts at £2.99 for orders under £75, may be free for deliveries over £75

    Minimum spend: £40

    Delivery pass: Starts at £3.99 a month, £22.49 for six months or £39.99 per year

    Typical first order discount: 25% off orders over £60 plus three months of free deliveries.

    Shop at Ocado »


  5. Sainsbury's

    Sainsburys logo

    Delivery: Starts at £1 for orders over £40, £7 for orders between £25 – £40

    Minimum spend: £25

    Delivery pass: From £4 a month or £40 as a one-off payment

    Typical first order discount: £12 off a £60+ spend.

    Shop at Sainsbury's »


  6. Tesco

    Tesco logo

    Delivery: Starts at £3

    Minimum spend: No minimum spend, but there is a £5 charge for orders under £50

    Delivery pass: Starts at £4.99 a month on a six-month plan or £3.99 on a 12-month plan

    Typical first order discount: None available at the time of writing, but be sure to search online for some before ordering.

    Shop at Tesco »


  7. Waitrose

    Waitrose logo

    Delivery: £3

    Minimum order: £40

    Delivery pass: None

    Typical first order discount: None available at the time of writing, but be sure to search online for some before ordering.

    Shop at Waitrose »


A quick note on the typical first-order discounts – some of these are listed on their websites, some aren't. But the important thing is that these aren't necessarily the best offers (better ones may pop up from time to time). Rather, they're what is typically available.

Always go looking for a better deal, first by checking out our deals section. If we haven't got what you're after, a quick look on Google could help too.

If you're in a rush to receive your shopping, try same-day food delivery apps like Getir.

How to save money on online grocery shopping

Here are our top tips for getting cheap groceries online:

  1. Make a meal plan and a shopping list

    shopping bag vegetables shopping list

    Credit: kreus – Depositphotos

    Making a shopping list means that you'll know exactly what you need to buy. Plus, it reduces the chance of buying food that you think you might use in the week, but in reality, never will.

    Coming up with a meal plan is a great way to figure out what should be on your shopping list. Doing so can make dinner time a lot more enticing.

    It's easy to get overwhelmed in the supermarket and just stick to your old reliable. But, if you have the time, you can research some seriously tasty recipes to make in the next week.

  2. Use supermarket cashback apps

    If you've not heard of supermarket cashback apps, it's time to get involved. They can save you a lot of money on your weekly shop, both in-store and online.

    Each app will have its own list of offers, ranging from small discounts to 100% freebies. All you need to do is buy the product from a participating retailer, scan the product and receipt with the app, and wait to be refunded either part or all of the cost.

    With Shopmium, you can even earn extra money for referring friends.

  3. Choose off-peak delivery

    If you're trying to find the cheapest online supermarket, you also have to consider their delivery costs.

    Having all that free time as a student is great, but it can also save you money. Since you'll often be at home when the rest of the world is at work, you'll be able to get your shopping delivered at the cheapest times.

    Each supermarket will have its own peak/off-peak times. To get cheap food delivery, you should try to get your groceries delivered on weekdays, avoiding evenings and weekends.

  4. Get a delivery pass for online shopping

    If you intend to get regular food deliveries from the same shop, you could look at buying a delivery pass.

    Depending on the supermarket and the scheme you choose, a delivery pass will charge you monthly/bi-annually/yearly for unlimited delivery. The upfront cost is obviously more than that of a single delivery. But, much like Amazon Prime, the free delivery will pay for the pass if you order things regularly enough.

    The best part is that most of the major supermarkets offer some kind of delivery pass, including Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury's and Tesco. Just do some sums first to make sure the cost of a pass works out cheaper based on how regularly you'll get a delivery.

  5. Use first-order discounts

    Most supermarkets will have a promotional offer that gives you a certain amount of money off your first delivery. Assuming you've not made an order with any of them before, you could switch supermarkets every week and get discounted shops for around two months.

    There are tons of offers out there. Check the list above for a rundown of the typical first-order discounts at each shop.

  6. Look for price matching at supermarkets

    Because every supermarket wants you to do your online shop with them, some promise to match the price if you find products cheaper elsewhere.

    Sadly, price matching seems to be a dying trade. In the past, most of the big names were running their own schemes and it was a great way to play stores off against each other.

    However, Tesco and Sainsbury's sometimes price-match Aldi for certain products, so it's definitely worth looking out for.

  7. Order together to reach minimum order values

    If you're only shopping for yourself, you might struggle to make it to the minimum order value that most supermarkets have. The exact threshold will vary, but it can be £40 or more.

    As students spend an average of around £31 a week on groceries, you're unlikely to meet supermarket thresholds by yourself. If you do spend £40+ on a weekly shop for one, you can try the supermarket downshift.

    Rather than ordering extra groceries for the sake of reaching the threshold, do a joint shop with your flatmates. Not only will this get you to the magic number, but you can also split the cost of delivery.

  8. Check whether items are sold by weight or quantity

    If you fail to check whether an item (usually fruit and veg) is sold by weight or quantity, you could end up with far too much or too little. In other words, check your food order before confirming it.

  9. Go bagless with online food shopping

    plastic bag

    Credit: Bowonpat Sakaew – Shutterstock

    Shockingly, plastic bags in online orders are still a thing. The delivery comes in crates and they bring it to your door, so there's really no need to have any type of bag.

    Either way, the fact remains that your online grocery shopping might still come packed in plastic bags. You can select the bagless option to avoid the bag charge while cutting down on plastic. It's a small way to help your purse and the planet.

    If you do have plastic bags from the supermarket, though, see if you can get money for recycling them.

    For example, Ocado has a scheme that gives you 10p for every plastic bag of theirs you return for recycling. They will also collect non-Ocado bags but you won't get the 10p for these.

  10. Be wary of item exchanges

    For all its many benefits, online shopping does have its drawbacks. When you're shopping in-store and your usual purchase isn't there, you can pick an alternative yourself.

    However, when placing a grocery order online, the shop worker is tasked with finding you the closest replacement. While they'll usually choose something pretty similar, you can get some pretty laughable substitutions. However, if you don't want the substitute, ask them to take it back and refund you.

  11. Complain if your online food shopping order is late or wrong

    Now, we're not saying you should complain if your delivery is a minute late, or if they've given you four bananas instead of three. But if there's a significant error with your order, or they've delivered it way outside of the slot you booked, you're within your rights to complain.

    There are no hard and fast rules saying what the supermarkets will do to make it up to you. But, if you're persistent enough, you stand a good chance of getting some kind of discount or refund.

  12. Buy discounted food from Approved Food

    Don't get us wrong – we don't think that best-before dates are necessarily a bad thing. However, it's often best to think of them as a guideline, not a rule.

    Approved Food understands this, and it exclusively sells food and other products that are approaching, or have passed, their best-before dates (but not their use-by dates). Everything is still safe to eat, but it's available at heavily discounted prices.

    If you're after tinned goods, chocolate, sauces, or anything else that doesn't really go off, check out Approved Food first.

  13. Get free food on OLIO

    OLIO is a lot like what we imagine the old days were like (if grandparents are to be believed, anyway).

    Users of the app in your local area will flag up when they've got an excess of food. This can happen when they cook more than they need, or have something that will go off before they can use it. On the app, they make it available as free food.

    It's obviously not a perfect system as you can't guarantee the quality of someone else's cooking. But it's certainly something that's worth keeping your eye on, especially if you find you're missing a crucial ingredient at the last minute.

Have you got these student kitchen cupboard essentials?

Tom Allingham

WRITTEN BY Tom Allingham

Tom joined Save the Student in 2017, initially heading up the editorial team before becoming Communications Director. He has appeared as a Student Finance expert on a range of TV and radio stations including the BBC, ITV and Sky, sharing his top tips for saving money and cutting student bills.
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