Waitrose food ordered online is more likely to go off sooner than its major rivals, a new study has found.
The upmarket chain came bottom of a list which ranked chains by the longevity of items delivered via online shopping services.
Tesco came top, closely followed by Asda and Ocado, all of whom were found to be selling products which lasted more than 10 days from the date of delivery.
In contrast, Waitrose’s food only lasted 8.6 days – or 207 hours – on average.
Consumer specialists Which? carried out the research using a team of 12 undercover shoppers.
Each ordered the same 16 perishable goods from six major supermarket chains and tallied up the number of full hours remaining from the time of delivery to midnight on the use-by date for each item.
They then calculated an average time per supermarket and ranked all six by the freshness of their products.
Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket, came top of the pile for freshness, with items lasting an average of 11 days.
Best and worst supermarkets for freshness
- Tesco products lasted 264 hours or 10.98 days
- Asda products lasted 252 hours or 10.49 days
- Ocado products lasted 249 hours or 10.39 days
- Sainsbury’s products lasted 230 hours or 9.60 days
- Morrisons’ products lasted 221 hours or 9.19 days
- Waitrose’s products lasted 207 hours or 8.63 days
The supermarket showed the expected shelf life of perishable items on its website and had no examples of damaged packaging or food that had gone off by the time it was delivered, unlike some rivals.
Tesco was closely followed by Asda, which had an average of 10.5 days of shelf life on its products on all grocery items, although it did deliver one pack of bacon on its use-by date.
Meanwhile, online-only rival Ocado was just behind Asda with an average life of 10.4 days for products.
Waitrose, which launched its own online business last year after ending a partnership with Ocado, was bottom of the table, with items lasting an average of 8.6 days.
The supermarket also delivered two packets of beef that appeared to have gone off, despite being within their use-by dates.
Responding to the findings, Waitrose said: ‘We always train our Partners to pick products with the longest best-before date for online deliveries – we’re sorry this fell short of our high standards and are committed to making this better for our customers.
‘From time to time we sometimes shorten the date codes on certain fresh produce to ensure it’s at optimum quality – so this may also have been a factor behind the results.’
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