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Gluten-free Food Shopping: Ocado

A copy of an Ocado ‘didi-delivery’ created by the artist Carol Cook. Photograph: Ocado/PA

I used to think that Ocado was reserved only for the yummy mummies and red trouser brigade, but I have recently become a convert. I have found that Ocado is actually a great place to shop for gluten-free food, and good quality food in general.

It is not the cheapest place to shop compared to supermarkets like Aldi, Lidl or Asda, but as the Coeliacs amongst you will  know, cheaper food is often off-limits anyway, as many companies use wheatflour to add bulk and keep costs down. If you succumb to the more high end products on Ocado then it is easy to spend a lot. However. If you shop carefully and take advantage of the decent offers and ‘essential’ range, it is actually not much more expensive (if at all) than the high street supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s. They even price match with Tesco, so if your shop is ever more expensive, you get a nice little money off voucher for next time.

I have made a list of pros and cons for your delectation.

PROS:

–          HOME DELIVERY. I adore not having to traipse around a supermarket and then face public transport weighed down by heavy plastic bags (particularly depressing in bad weather). If you don’t have a car/hate shopping/don’t live near a big supermarket/aren’t able to get out and about, then the Ocado van is a godsend. If you book enough in advance and go for an off-peak time (or get a smart pass), you can get free delivery.

–          AMAZING SELECTION OF GF PRODUCTS. Ocado’s GF selection is unrivalled in my experience; they bring a lot of specialist gluten-free brands under one roof and clearly list all ingredients. They even have a tickbox for ‘gluten-free’ (and other dietary requirements) to narrow things down, and the website in general is easy to navigate.

–          AVOIDING IMPULSE BUYS. I find shopping online helps me to budget, and helpfully removes a lot of the temptation of instore marketing. Seeing the figures on screen in black and white makes it a lot easier to keep track of spending, and it is simple to add or remove items to keep within your budget.

CONS:

–          MINIMUM SPEND. There is a £40 minimum spend on the site, which is a bit of a kicker if you just want a few things or are trying to stick to a smaller budget. The way I have gotten around this is by doing a big shop once every two weeks to stock up, and picking up extras from the local shops if needed.

–          LACK OF REALLY CHEAP PRODUCTS. While I appreciate that part of the Ocado brand is their stocking of quality items (and I do love a bit of quality food) sometimes for basic things it is cheaper to stock up elsewhere. In Sainsbury’s for example you can buy a tin of chopped tomatoes for 31p, while the cheapest option on Ocado is around 55p.

–          OCCASIONAL REPLACEMENT/OUT OF STOCK ITEMS. If you are shopping in person and the supermarket is out of stock of your favourite item, you know immediately and can find an alternative. I have had a couple of occasions when I have only found out that Ocado didn’t have one of my products after I had placed my order, which can be somewhat frustrating. (This has only happened with a couple of items over about 8 orders).

Overall, though I could probably save a bit of money if I bought entirely from ASDA smartprice, shopping on Ocado really works for me and makes shopping for gluten-free food that much easier.

5 Comments

  1. Pingback: LIDL: A Gluten-free Guide | Gluten-Free in London

  2. Great article! They do have a lot of gluten free products and it looks great – but I am put off by the price. I am sure I will give in at some point.

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