How many items can you buy and what delays can you expect with your online food shop?

The government measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus dictate you should not be leaving your house unless you are going to buy essential items like food, medicine or to exercise.
Instead of going out to supermarkets to buy food frequently, many people have turned to online shopping.
If you, or someone you know, is a vulnerable person, you can register yourself or another person on the government’s website here, so people can be prioritised for supermarket delivery slots and other help.
But since this surge, keeping your fridge, freezer and kitchen cupboards stocked however is proving difficult as delivery slots are much less frequent than usual.
Supermarkets have also announced changes in its product purchasing restrictions, Aldi and Morrisons have removed all of their caps on food and household items.
Morrisons has launched a Ramadan food box to help its Muslim customers observe the holy month beginning 23 April. Each box costs £35 and contains staple items such as dates and chicken breast, you can order your box here.
Read more
Although supermarkets have struggled to keep up with demand, most now have more reliable stock with more delivery slots being added and becoming available, so its advisable to continually check back to find delivery slots and to sign up for accounts. Once you have a delivery slot booked, most supermarkets let you amend your order.
While other shops, including Sainsburys and Iceland, are prioritising the elderly and the vulnerable, and are emailing these customers to confirm theyve been prioritised.
Marks & Spencer has partnered with Deliveroo to deliver around 60 M&S items such as milk and bread. In Aldi and Asda stores, they have introduced a “no-touch rule” to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
On Asda’s website, it says: “Were asking customers to only touch items they intend to purchase and to use cashless payment wherever they can to minimise contact. There will also be clear signage, directional barriers and floor markings to help you move around our store easily and maintain a two-metre distance from other customers and our colleagues.”
Aldi has revealed that its staff may ask customers to only touch trolleys they intend to use. It has also joined the free school meal voucher scheme, allowing families to redeem free school meal vouchers electronically or via post to use in-stores. Sainsburys, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and M&S are already part of the scheme.
Police have issued warnings to Tesco and Morrisons customers to remain vigilant, following reports of scam emails and Whatsapp messages referencing the coronavirus and offering free vouchers. According to Action Fraud, the Police’s fraud team, more than £2.3m has been lost by more than 1,000 customers.
To keep you up to date with the latest changes from the supermarkets, weve compiled all the information you need to know to organise your next food shop.
You can trust our independent roundups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Minimum spend: £25
Delivery waiting time: Iceland has removed its restrictions on home delivery, which is now available to all customers, with customers over the state pension age (65+), self-isolating and vulnerable people like the disabled prioritised.
The website shows there are delivery slots available from today up until Wednesday 6 May, but they’re currently fully booked.
According to the supermarket, it will be releasing delivery slots during the day, so make sure you check back.
Deliveries may be delayed and the supermarket has said its likely that some online orders will be missing items due to the high demand.
Only available to existing customers? No, but you can only order online if you fall into the vulnerable category
Delivery locations: You can check your postcode on the website, but deliveries are only available to those over 65 years old and the vulnerable.
Rationing: Iceland is currently limiting the purchase of anti-bacterial soaps, toilet roll, pasta and wipes though it has not specified what this limit is. It also has unspecified purchasing restrictions on all other items but is urging its customers not to stock-pile and only buy what you need.
Store opening times for key workers and the vulnerable: The last hour of trade in Iceland stores will be dedicated to NHS customers, with photo ID as proof. In its food warehouse stores, NHS workers will be allowed early access for the first-hour trading at 7am. Again, this varies by stores, so make sure to check your nearest store online.
Shop at Iceland now
Minimum spend: £40
Delivery waiting time: Morrisons has advised booking delivery slots as far in advance as possible, but there are currently no slots available on its website. There’s an average of a 3-minute wait to get onto the website.
On the website it says: “Please note, delivery slots are limited. We are doing everything we can to increase the number of delivery slots and capacity we can accommodate.”
It is directing customers to its food boxes, which it says it has good availability of slots for and are accessible to all. Starting from £30 they consist of essential food and household items for vegetarians, meat-eaters and families.
It has also created Ramadan boxes for its Muslim customers, containing staples such as dates, almonds and a peri-peri chicken platter for £35.
The supermarket has teamed up with Deliveroo to offer a 30-minute delivery system to help those who cannot make it to the shops get essentials. It will be available from 130 of its stores and will be offering around 70 products, including chopped tomatoes, bread and chicken, along with some ready-meals. Prices will be the same as they are in-store, plus a £4.99 delivery fee.
Is it only available to existing customers? No, but you will need to register an account with them in order to shop online.
Delivery locations: There is currently no confirmation that different locations across the UK will be affected more than others.
Rationing: Morrisons has removed all purchasing restrictions on its products, but any shopping in-store will be limited to one trolley per customer.
Opening times for key workers and the vulnerable: Morrisons has extended its opening times from 7am-8pm, Monday to Saturday and in England and Wales, Sunday opening hours will be 9:30am-4pm.
It has introduced an NHS hour at all of its stores Monday to Saturday from 6am-7am and between 9am-9:30am on Sundays.
Morrisons has also launched a click and collect food box service for NHS staff, to help health workers access essential groceries.
After placing an order through a dedicated website, NHS staff will be able to collect a food box from an allocated collection point in hospital car parks, to make it easier for them to collect essentials after their shift has ended. The scheme started at two Leeds hospitals, with collections on Monday and Thursday between 6am-8am for night shifts and 4pm-6pm for day shifts.
The boxes are available for both vegetarians and meat-eaters and are priced at £30. They both include essentials such as toilet roll, pasta, rice, tinned goods and fruit and vegetables.
Shop at Morrisons now
Minimum spend: £0
Delivery waiting time: The supermarket has launched Aldi Food Parcels for £24.99, allowing customers to order groceries online for the first time. The parcels are 14kg, filled with 22 food items and household products such as pasta, tea, coffee, antibacterial hand wash and toilet roll.
The price includes delivery and the website says: “Its a great shopping solution for vulnerable people and people who are self-isolating.” It’s is limited to one per customer each week and is not available in store. Order it here.
You may be put in a queue to enter the website, with an average waiting time of one minute and the supermarket has said that due the high demand, its food parcels may not be available all day, but continue to check the website as it is replenishing stock every day. Food Parcels will be delivered within two to three working days.
The current delivery time frame for all other deliveries is between three and 10 working days. It has also introduced free delivery on wine and specialbuy products where possible.
You can also shop essential items such as cleaning, children and baby products alongside its garden shop and health and beauty range.
The supermarket has launched a Shopper Voucher scheme to enable those unable to leave the house, self-isolating or vulnerable to use online or in-store. The vouchers are available in amounts of £5 or £10, and can be bought on before being posted, free of charge, to any address in the UK. They can then be given to volunteers to shop on a vulnerable person’s behalf.
Aldi has also announced the return of its popular baby and toddler event, launching great value offers, both in-store and online, across a range of essentials, including nappies, baby food and wipes. The event started on 5 April online and began 13 April in-store.
It has also joined the free school meal voucher government scheme, allowing families to redeem vouchers in store. Vouchers are delivered by post or electronically online. According to, parents will be able to order Aldi vouchers from the week commencing 27 April.
Only available to existing customers? No, and you can checkout as a guest without registering with just your email and address details.
Delivery locations: Aldi delivers across mainland UK but expects potential delays in Mitcham, Hayes, Gatwick, Borehamwood and Waltham Cross.
Rationing: It has removed its product restrictions with the exception of wine and spirits, which are limited to orders of up to 12 bottles.
Store opening times for key workers and the vulnerable: The supermarket has announced it will be extending opening times to 10pm between Monday and Saturday, and its dedicating browsing time for emergency workers (NHS, police and fire service) 30 minutes before the regular opening times every Sunday along with priority ahead of queues every day, will be opened up to other key workers including care home workers, St. John’s Ambulance staff and first responders. You will need a relevant ID in order to enter the store.
The elderly, (over 70) and most vulnerable will be able to browse in-store 30 minutes early between Monday and Saturday.
It is asking customers to only touch the trolleys you intend to use and is providing sanitation stations at the front of its stores to help customers disinfect their hands, trolleys and baskets.
Shop at Aldi now
Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
1/12 New York
2/12 New York
3/12 Denver
4/12 Denver
5/12 Chicago
6/12 Chicago
7/12 Detroit
8/12 Detroit
9/12 Houston
10/12 Houston
11/12 Los Angeles
12/12 Los Angeles
1/12 New York
2/12 New York
3/12 Denver
4/12 Denver
5/12 Chicago
6/12 Chicago
7/12 Detroit
8/12 Detroit
9/12 Houston
10/12 Houston
11/12 Los Angeles
12/12 Los Angeles
Minimum spend: £40
Delivery waiting time: Asda has increased the number of delivery slots available from 450,000 to 700,000 per week. It has also contacted over 242,000 people identified by the government as extremely vulnerable and has seen orders placed by 115,000 from this number.
However, it has currently sold out of online delivery slots and click and collect slots up until 14 May, and is asking customers to shop in-store when possible to allow vulnerable people to use the online delivery slots.
It will only be showing delivery or click and collect slots for the week ahead.
Only available to existing customers? No, but you will need to register for an account to order groceries online, and new customers can still register.
Delivery locations: There is currently no confirmation that different locations across the UK will be affected more than others.
Rationing: Asda is removing product purchasing limits in-store and online but has said on its website, “To ensure there is enough for everyone, we will occasionally place purchase limits on certain products that are in high demand. Please shop responsibly so theres enough to go round.”
Opening times for key workers and the vulnerable: NHS and care workers will have priority in-store on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 8am-9am, and browsing time between 9am-10am on Sundays.
On its website, it asks shoppers to “pick up only what you intend to buy” and has installed signage, directional barriers and floor markers to help you do your shopping while maintaining two-metres apart from other customers and staff. 
For customers requiring the use of Asda’s pharmacies in 255 of its stores, CEO Roger Burnley announced that the supermarket will be launching a ‘call and collect’ service, which will allow pharmacy customers to call ahead and order their prescription to then collect their medication without coming inside the store.
It is also offering a prescription delivery service for its extremely vulnerable customers, where colleagues will bring essential medication to customers’ homes.
For those unable to leave the house, self-isolating or vulnerable, Asda has created the Volunteer Shopping Card, which can be bought online and posted or emailed to a volunteer to do their shopping for them. It can be loaded with any amount between £5 and £150, and can be easily topped up with extra funds online.
Shop at Asda now
Minimum spend: £60
Delivery waiting time: Currently delivery slot bookings are fully booked up until 5 May, with more slots being added daily. However, customers who already have slots booked can amend and add to them.
It is prioritising the vulnerable and elderly for both it’s home delivery and click and collect slots, with 25 per cent of orders being committed to elderly and vulnerable customers.
On its website it says: “These customers are being identified using data we currently hold. We are actively working with the UK government to identify further vulnerable and elderly customers.
“We’re doing all we can to make more delivery and click and collect slots available soon. You can still amend or cancel any placed orders as normal.”
Waitrose is encouraging customers to wait for further communication from them rather than getting in touch.
Only available to existing customers? You will need to register for an account to order groceries online and new customers can sign up.
Delivery locations: Waitrose hasnt specified if any locations will be more affected than others.
Rationing: The supermarket has put a temporary cap on items including pasta, tissues, milk, canned goods, and some antibacterial soaps and wipes. However, in-store it has removed restrictions on fresh food, including meat, poultry, fresh soups, desserts, bakery, deli, beer, wines, spirits and ready meals, but its cap on toilet roll, a maximum of two packs per person, remain.
Opening times for key workers and the vulnerable: The first opening hour of every Waitrose store will be prioritised for elderly and vulnerable shoppers and those that care for them, which again varies shop to shop.
For NHS staff, Waitrose is setting aside hard-to-find and essential products, and giving a priority checkout service to ensure NHS workers get through the store speedily.
Shop at Waitrose now
Minimum spend: £25
Delivery waiting time: Tesco has announced it has expanded its home delivery and click and collect slots by almost one million last week, from the 590,000 that it was offering during the first week of lockdown.
To cope with the continued demand, it’s also increasing this number to 1.2 million deliveries per week over the next few weeks, according to Tesco CEO Dave Lewis.
At the time of writing, there are some slots available between 7 and 17 May, with delivery fees costing between £2 and £7.
Read more
Tesco is also prioritising access for people who the government have identified as vulnerable and isolated and are working with the government to increase the slots available to help people who need support but may not be on the critical vulnerable lists.
In a statement, Tesco CEO Dave Lewis said, “We want to continue to free up as many slots as possible, so if you can shop in-store or have someone do it for you, please do.”
The supermarket has also said: “To give us time to pick more online orders, stores which have an online grocery operation will open their doors a little later from 8am. Our customers can check the opening hours for their local store on our website.”
Only available to existing customers? You can register as a new customer on the website, and book a delivery slot once they become available.
Delivery locations: There is currently no confirmation that different locations across the UK will be affected more than others, but you can check your postcode on the site.
Rationing: There will be a purchase limit of 80 items per order. In order to prioritise essential items, Tesco has removed the restriction of three items of one product per customer with the exception of toilet roll and paper goods, household and personal cleaning products including hand sanitisers, packets and tins of food including pasta and rice, fresh eggs and home baking.
Opening times for key workers and the vulnerable: For vulnerable and elderly customers, Tesco stores will be prioritised between 9am-10am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
NHS workers will have access to a dedicated hour every Tuesday and Thursday and a browsing hour before checkouts open on Sundays. 
Shop at Tesco now
Most supermarkets are struggling with demand, but advise customers to check back regularly (iStock)
Minimum spend: £40
Delivery waiting time: Sainsburys has prioritised an additional 150,000 delivery slots for elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers, but there is currently no slots available for delivery or click and collect, however, it says to keep checking.
Last month, Sainsbury’s made 600,000 delivery slots available for home delivery and click and collect, and is continuing to add more over the coming weeks.
On its website, it says: “If youre over 70 years of age, or youre extremely vulnerable and live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, you can get access to priority home delivery slots by calling us at 0800 953 4988.
Read more
“You can get access to priority home delivery by visiting and searching ‘coronavirus extremely vulnerable’.” The supermarket has said it’s already contacted 270,000 customers who they identified as elderly or vulnerable based on the information it has.
If you are self-isolating and having a home delivery, you should let Sainsbury’s know so you give the drivers the appropriate delivery instructions.
Only available to existing customers? Yes, Sainsburys has paused all-new online registrations.
Delivery locations: You can check your postcode on the website to see if Sainsbury’s can deliver to your area.
Rationing: According to Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe, limits of two per person will remain on pasta, long-life milk, antibacterial products and some tinned and frozen foods. Any other product restrictions have been lifted.
Opening times for key workers and the vulnerable: For the elderly, disabled and carers, Sainsburys is dedicating 8am-9am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for shopping. NHS and social care workers will be able to shop in supermarkets for 30 minutes before they open, from 7:30am-8am, from Monday to Saturday.
Shop at Sainsburys now
Minimum spend: £0
Delivery waiting time: Home deliveries are currently unavailable and orders have been suspended, but all existing orders will be delivered. It has also temporarily closed its “food to order” service, however, existing orders will be fulfilled.
However, it has partnered with Deliveroo to deliver 60 Marks & Spencer products, such as milk, bread and juice to customers across the UK through the app. There is a minimum spend of £10 and delivery is free.
It has also created food boxes, starting from £15, filled with fresh produce and meat, a vegetarian option, and kitchen essentials such as pasta, sauces and tinned foods that will feed a family of four. They are limited to one box of each type per customer.
M&S is asking people to shop in-store instead: “We have reserved the first hour of trading on certain days for our older and vulnerable customers, and for our brilliant NHS workers.”
Only available to existing customers? Once M&S is taking orders again and slots are available, you will need to register an account to order groceries online.
Delivery locations: There is currently no confirmation that different locations across the UK will be affected more than others.
Rationing: Marks & Spencer has placed a limit of two items per customer across all its groceries.
Opening times for key workers and the vulnerable: The first hour of trading in the supermarket is on Monday and Thursday for older and vulnerable customers. For NHS and emergency workers, it is Tuesday and Friday.
These new adjusted hours do not apply to petrol stations and shops in railway stations.
It has also introduced a dedicated banking hour for NHS and emergency service workers between 6pm-7pm everyday.
Shop at M&S now
Minimum spend: £15
Delivery waiting time: Delivery slots with the Co-op are mostly fully booked up, but the supermarket advises to continuously check back for more availability. At the time of writing, there are currently some delivery slots available on 4 May.
Only available to existing customers? No, but you will need to sign up in order to arrange delivery of your shopping once slots are available.
Delivery locations: The service is currently available in some areas of London, Bristol, Brighton, Manchester, Southampton and Bournemouth. It will soon be available in more areas of Manchester, as well as Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Birmingham.
Rationing: When delivery slots do become available, you will only be able to order up to 20 items. Selected products will be limited to two per person, but vary store to store, so check your local for details.
Opening times for key workers and the vulnerable: For NHS workers, vulnerable customers and people that care for them, Co-op stores have dedicated from 8am-9am Monday to Saturday and 10am-11am on Sundays to accommodate them.
Shop at Co-Op now
Minimum spend: £40
Delivery waiting time: Ocado has no slots available, but is prioritising customers identified as vulnerable for slots that will be available on general release for the next 24 hours.
On its website, it says: “Customers with a delivery or who have been notified as a priority customer, you can log in to do so. We will be updating delivery slots on a daily basis so please check back regularly if you do not see any slots available at the time you log on.”
Read more
Only available to existing customers? Yes. On its website, it says: “If you are not on the priority access list, there are no general release slots available for you at the moment.”
Delivery locations: There is no confirmation that different locations across the UK will be affected more than others.
Rationing: Ocado is restricting some products to one or two per order, but for the most accurate information on which products this affects, you will need a delivery slot first.
It has also stopped selling heavy bottled water to free up space in vans, which allows it to deliver to an extra 6,000 homes a week.
Shop at Ocado now
For information on Amazons deliveries click here, and for the online food boxes still delivering, visit here
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.