Bread to Bread – Food Delivery

If you have a restricted diet, the chances are that your local supermarket often doesn’t have all of the yummy things you want to eat. This is particularly true of my city-centre mini supermarkets. A shopping trip can often mean visiting 3 separate stores! Being able to order food online is brilliant. I love that it’s possible to do your shopping using a smartphone whilst on the bus to work, and nothing excites me like getting biscuits in the post or a smiley person showing up with baskets full of beer! (I’m sure it doesn’t excite the delivery man who has to carry them).

But which are your favourite ways to have food delivered? I’m a fantastically disloyal shopper, and pick and choose depending on what I want to order. (And based on who has sent me a money off voucher!). The best value is offered by the supermarkets that deliver as they are not prohibitively expensive due to delivery costs, unlike the mail order companies or direct suppliers that rely on couriers or Royal Mail for small orders.

Here’s a roundup of my experiences:

My picks:

Super easy gluten free ordering from Ocado

Best for Range & Ease of Use: Ocado.
These are my favourite. They have recently opened a dedicated ‘free from’ shop, with a rapidly expanding range including a large selection of gluten-free ready meals as well as the new Waitrose Love Life/Free From range. They are friendly, responsive to feedback, and most importantly for me have 1 hour delivery slots and the best-executed smartphone app.

Best for Brands: Tesco
Tesco seems to have a confusing strategy with free from. Last year saw a massive expansion of their range, and they were the only place you could track down many of the new Genius products and the amazing Dietary Specials pizza. Recently, some of those products have been vanishing. A shame as their online experience is a close second to Ocado, and they are probably the best value.

Best for Snacks: Graze
Graze day is the best day of the week as a little package of handbag-sized yum drops through my letterbox, and keeps me from buying chocolate bars in the week! They don’t have a specific gluten-free range, but it’s easy to exclude all of the gluteny products and tell them what you do like (nuts) and don’t like (rabbit poo raisins). You can get a free box using this code: 7QZFYFV

A little punnet of nom from Graze

Best for Twee Appeal: Abel and Cole
Every Wednesday, Jacek drops a little box containing a rainbow of nice vegetables on my doorstep for a very reasonable 99p delivery. This has expanded my cooking repertoire considerably, but when he also started bringing gluten free cereal and Daas Beer with the vegetables, I became a loyal customer. Pricey, but lovely.

Inspirational, naturally gluten free produce from Abel & Cole (stuffed squash with quinoa & roasted red peppers)

The also-rans:

Goodness Direct have an excellent range, and are the best way to order my favourite Fria bread nationwide, however I find their website wholly impenetrable and their minimum order hard to stomach when I only want a few things to fit in my compact flat. Excellent business idea, but could do with improved execution.

Amazon‘s venture into groceries is a novel idea, and has allowed me to try some new brands, but if you saw my review of the corn cous cous, you will know that the by-weight delivery charges from many sellers make this too expensive to use regularly.

Sainsbury’s is quietly competing for the title of best free from supermarket, with many new own-brand products, and an increasing number of brands too. Their frozen range is the best of the supermarkets but I have found them to be a little hit and miss with product availability.

12 responses to “Bread to Bread – Food Delivery

  1. Hello B. We’re absolutely delighted to be rated as your number one online shop for free from products.

    In the last year, we’ve worked really hard to make sure we stock the largest range of free from products of any online supermarket, because we want to make it easy for you to pick up the ingredients you’re after. Why should having an allergy or intolerance make your weekly shop difficult or your meals bland? We don’t think that’s fair! We now stock over 600 products, including ready meals and cooking ingredients, so we’d love any feedback on the range that you have to offer.

    Thanks again!

  2. I ‘m as disloyal as you with my supermarket shopping! I also have to visit 2/3 shops to get what I need for my gluten free diet. I’ve had similar experiences as you with Sainsbury’s & Tesco too which can be a real pain when you’ve done an online delivery and don’t get your basics! I haven’t tried Ocado yet as they seem expensive but will take another look. In general I’d say all supermarket ranges have definitely improved but there’s still room for even better quality and range of products along with competitive prices too! I’ll get down from soapbox now!

  3. All good points! My one big bugbear is that what we coeliacs really want is not inferior overpriced copies of cakes and biscuits, but for more products that really don’t need gluten to have it removed! Things like sausages, burgers, sauces and crisps are a minefield. At least online shopping gives you the luxury to examine ingredients in detail before buying, rather than loitering in the shop for ages.

  4. Absolutely agree. It’s not always easy to examine labels in a busy supermarket especially when your eye sight isn’t that great like mine! Manufacturers take the easy option of bulking products out with wheat, there really is no need, except to save them money!

  5. The main issue I have with all of the shops is that if you order online, you must be able to tick “no subs”! I used the Ocado new shop when it launched and the substitutions/suggestions for out of stock items were not gf! It wouldn’t take much of a software coding tweak to make the system select only from the gf “shop” listings! Also, I worry where they are basing their gf information on as I’ve seen a number of items returned as gf (eg walkers) who actually have “made in the same factory” warnings on the packets which, personally, I don’t count as gf.

    • That’s a very good point. I did ask Ocado recently if it would be possible to have some kind of allergy flag to prevent gluteny substitutions. Luckily they always take things back/refund if something is wrong. Now I just have ‘do not substitute’ checked for everything.

      AFAIK from my old supermarket days the product data usually comes direct from the manufacturer, so it’s difficult for the supermarket to keep tabs. It’s the manufacturer that doesn’t provide the correct info. I also had this problem with some buckwheat flour that came with a ‘may contain’ warning on the packet and promptly exploded all over my kitchen! Luckily the GEH is handy with a dyson…

  6. Great round up! I’ve not tried Abel & Cole. Do they offer specific delivery slot times like Ocado, Tesco etc?

    I’m a very loyal Ocado customer! The fact their deliveries come from a central distribution warehouse, rather than your local store seems a much more efficient service to me and as a customer it means I receive products with longer use by dates than when I’ve ordered (albeit a very long time ago!) from Tesco.

    It’s interesting to hear about problems with gluten-y substitutions at Ocado. I’ve personally never had a problem with wrong substitutions from them but this this might be because my weekly shopping is mainly meat, fish and veggies and very few or no processed / substitute foods other than DS ciabatta rolls!

    One other option is Waitrose. In the summer I was tasked with ordering food for a party at my parents in law’s house to make sure it was all GF suitable. Ocado don’t deliver where they live so I ordered from Waitrose Online who do delivery and this was the first and only time I’ve used them. I was really impressed with the user friendliness of the no/substitutions box on their website. Not only was I able to tick a box to indicate whether or not I wanted to substitute the item but also leave fairly specific instructions on how to substitute specific items. Their GF product range is not as good as Ocado but their naturally gluten free goods are great quality.

    • Abel and Cole are a weekly thing on a set day, and they send whatever is in season/available. I tried it out for a few weeks and still get them 2 years later! I really like getting a range of vegetables- otherwise we end up getting the same every week from supermarket. It’s definitely expanded my palette.

  7. With Abel & Cole, can you select a time when the delivery is made or just the day but could be at any time on that day? I really like the idea but have a vague recollection when I looked into it before A&C don’t give specific delivery times, which wouldn’t work for me.

  8. Thanks for sharing your ideas on free from substitutions guys, it’s really great to understand what the challenges are for our business to help serve you better. We’ll pass your comments on to our Web Development team, so when they look at development features for the future they can take the feedback into consideration.

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