What’s AmazonFresh REALLY like? We review the new online supermarket by Amazon

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  • Can’t do without your online shop? The news that online giant Amazon launched its own virtual supermarket, AmazonFresh, in London and is planning to roll it out across the UK has got everyone talking.

    We’re addicted to Amazon as it is, but now it should be easier to get everything you need in one go – and save you a trip the shops. Amazon can be a lifesaver when you need things quickly (and at short notice), especially if you’re an Amazon Prime member, which sets you back £80 a year but means you can get last minute deliveries of all sorts of things from children’s presents to an emergency breast pump – and you’ll need that Prime membership to get your big food shop too.

    The AmazonFresh homepage where you can log in and start your order
    Despite the hefty membership, research from The Grocer shows that an AmazonFresh weekly shop cost an average of £58.93, making it cheaper than Asda! Plus, there is no minimum spend for delivery (so in theory, you could order that emergency bottle of wine), though you have to spend more than £40 for free delivery.

    So how is it? We put AmazonFresh to the test on its first day, ordering a big family shop. We used some of our newest recipes that require a real mix of fresh and seasonal ingredients, including our spring chicken tray bake, pea pesto with wholemeal pasta as well as weekly staples like bread, milk and fruit. We also threw in some loo roll and nappies, as we would in any supermarket.

    Delivery times and dates listed on AmazonFresh

    The order

    It was simple to fill your online shopping basket, but more complicated to remove items – other online retailers have + and – buttons, but to remove from AmazonFresh, you have to go back into your basket and it’s more of a faff.

    There is a lot to choose from and we were excited to pop in a few treats, as one of AmazonFresh’s main selling points is its range of artisan lines. Think Daylesford sausages and Primose Bakery biscuits. They went straight into our basket, unplanned. This could get expensive.

    But the range goes quickly from everyday essentials from Morrisons to more expensive Borough Market-style producers, with not a lot in between.

    Confusingly, it also shows unavailable items, which is frustrating – but it also lets you know that you can choose a new delivery time for when they are next available, but doesn’t say when.

    But wait, what’s this? McVitie’s Digestives at £21.36?! We thought it was supposed to be great value. On closer inspection, it was actually a pack of 24 x 250g packs. That’s a LOT of biscuits! Not one we’d want to pop in our basket by accident. We spotted a few packs bundled together this way so if you’re not careful, you could end up with wholesale quantities at your door or end up scratching your head as to how the bill racked up so quickly.

    For same day delivery, you need to order before 1pm and you’ll get your shopping after 5pm. We ordered at 5pm and managed to book a one-hour slot from 8am the next morning, which is an excellent turnaround on last minute orders.

    The delivery

    At 7.45am, we got an email saying our shop was on the way and it arrived at 8.02am, just 2 mins into our slot! It arrived in a small non-refrigerated van, with all the fresh food packed with in boxes with ice packs and two men who came in to help unpack.

    Our delivery from AmazonFresh

    Everything comes in colour-coded paper bags; blue for fridge stuff and grey for the cupboard. Nothing was overly packaged. You don’t get a paper receipt, but an email told us there were no substitutions…

    The case of the missing items

    Once the delivery guys had left, we spread the shopping out on the table. It was a good family shop. But where were the Daylesford sausages and bacon or the Primrose Bakery biscuits? Where was the Parmesan? They just hadn’t shown up and when we went back to check our email, they were never on the list… It was confusing and disappointing, as they had gone into our basket at the start.

    Our food shop including plenty of vegetables and store cupboard essentials

    Would we use it again?

    Yes and no; on one hand, it’s really tempting to give it another go, as we already have Amazon Prime and there are some interesting items available. Plus, the amazingly quick turnaround and the option of same day delivery could be a real lifesaver in future. But at the same time, the missing items with no warning was annoying to say the least – if they had been essential for one of our planned recipes, it would have upset our meal plan for the week. If you have to nip out to get extra items, it defeats the point on online shopping in the first place.

    As it was day one, we hope that these glitches will get ironed out, but we’ll be sticking with our usual weekly shop until then…

    Have you used AmazonFresh yet? Do you think you will in the future? Comment below