How hard is it to book a supermarket delivery as lockdown 3 begins?

Suffolk supermarkets have no free delivery slots for the next few weeks Picture: PA

What is availability like for deliveries from leading supermarkets as we go into the third lockdown? - Credit: PA

As Suffolk goes into lockdown again, along with the rest of England, are you finding it hard to book a supermarket delivery?

Since the first lockdown in March last year, more of us have started using grocery deliveries or click-and-collect services to avoid having to mingle with other shoppers in-store.

Tesco at Copdock, Ipswich. Cars outside the store

Customers are having to book well ahead for Tesco deliveries in Ipswich - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

But the high demand has meant it can be hard to book a slot from your chosen supermarket at a convenient time.

If you are a vulnerable shopper, you should be able to get priority slots. Most people who this applies to will have been contacted with information about priority shopping during the initial lockdown, but if you need more information or to register, visit the government website. 

When we carried out a spot survey of the main supermarket websites, availability varied. Some companies, such as Ocado and Waitrose, had no delivery slots available for Ipswich customers when we looked, while others, such as Iceland, could offer deliveries as soon as Thursday.

Customer experiences

Members of the Suffolk Coronavirus Updates Facebook group have been sharing their experiences of online shopping.

Kate Viscardi said: "Waitrose gave us priority right back at the start of the pandemic because of husband's age and health. They've been great throughout, the only thing is the need to get onto the site as soon as the slots open. Some people must be sitting on their computers at midnight waiting - the slots for popular times book up so fast." 

Tracey Poll said: "Never any slots available for delivery or click and collect, and I live in Ipswich so plenty of supermarkets are available.

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"Instead I go every other week and scan as I shop. I used to like going to the supermarket to get away from the kids for a few hours, now I dread going and hate that people can’t seem to socially distance because they have a mask on."

Waitrose at Futura Park, Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Waitrose had click-and-collect slots available for Ipswich customers when we visited, but the current delivery slots had all been booked - Credit: Archant

Snap survey of delivery availability

This is our survey of delivery and click and collect availability - but this was just a snapshot of the sites on Tuesday, as slots are constantly being booked up and new slots added. Also delivery pass holders may see slots further ahead on some sites.

Slots for delivery to Ipswich customers were available from Sunday, January 10, onwards when we looked, but some popular times were already sold out. Click and collect slots were available from Thursday, with good availability from Sunday. New delivery passes are not currently available to buy.

There was good availability for delivery on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday when we looked, including £1 saver slots, with click and collect also available. Delivery passes for regular deliveries are still being advertised on the Sainsbury's website.

There was a good selection of slots available from Sunday, onwards. It is possible to book ahead right up to January 25.
There was also good click and collect availability from tomorrow onwards. Morrisons also has a doorstep delivery service which is now available to anyone who is self-isolating living within 10 miles of a Morrisons store. Delivery passes are still being advertised.

When we visited the site, all delivery slots for Ipswich Extra customers were fully booked up to January 19, with availability from January 20 onwards. A few click and collect slots were available on the evening of January 9 at Ipswich Extra, with good availability for click and collect from January 12 onwards.

The Ocado website showed as having no slots available up to Monday, January 11, with no further days showing.
New sign-ups for Smart Pass are currently paused.

Delivery slots were fully booked up until January 15 when we visited, with no further dates showing. Some click and collect slots were available from January 9, with better availability from January 12 onwards.

This supermarket chain had good availability for deliveries to Ipswich customers from Thursday afternoon onwards when we visited the website. It offers free delivery to customers spending more than £35.

Convenience stores
If you don't need a big shop but just a smaller delivery of essentials, perhaps because you need to self-isolate at short notice,  there are various options for quick deliveries.

The East of England Co-op offers same-day deliveries from many of its stores, including a number in Ipswich, via the Snappy Shopper website and app. Deliveroo also offers same-day grocery deliveries from stores including Morrisons, One Stop and East of England Co-op.

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