christmas feast online

Christmas Dinner, Delivered: Online Grocery Dishes Up Value and Range in the UK

Like every Christmas season, the holidays are a time for reflecting, relaxing and…eating! So with only matter of weeks to go before we put ourselves into a self-induced food coma, we explored how UK online retailers are stacking up when it comes to Christmas-oriented online grocery Product Ranges, Pricing, and Availability. With Amazon’s move into the UK Grocery market earlier this year via AmazonFresh, Sainsbury’s offering more convenience and fulfilment options, the number UK shoppers turning to online grocery shopping shows no signs of slowing. 

uk online grocer christmas

Online Grocery is Big Business in the UK at Christmas—and Getting Bigger!

Globally, the UK has one of the highest rates of online grocery penetration. In 2015 spending reached almost £9 billion on online grocery according to IGD. With more than 10% of consumers shopping for groceries online in 2015, this is set to grow further in 2016. Britain is set to lead Europe in Christmas spending with over £77 billion with the average household spend on Food & Drink to be £233.55. Scrooge would not be happy with this wasteful spending! But your family might!

Shopping for Christmas Dinner is Easier Than Ever Thanks to Same-Day Delivery 

Many of the dishes mentioned Charles Dickens’ famous novel, ‘A Christmas Carol’, are still found on our Christmas tables today. Roast potatoes, ham, apple sauce, and sage and onion stuffing remain as  popular today as they were nearly 200 years ago. The Christmas goose has taken a a back seat in recent years, with turkey the preferred Christmas dinner centrepiece across UK households. While unlike Santa, your boss wont deliver these, but don’t worry as UK retailers have been pushing greater delivery options this year to combat the arrival of AmazonFresh to these shores.

All I want for Christmas is…Data

all i want for christmas is dataWe took a look at the key ingredients of a traditional Christmas dinner to see what selection major UK online retailers have on offer. The analysis centred on AmazonFresh, ASDA, Ocado, Sainsbury, Tesco, and Waitrose, and compared their ranges favourite UK Christmas dishes. Ocado has the largest Christmas dinner offering with 119 products followed by AmazonFresh (in second place with 105 Christmas food-related products). Side dishes and sauces led the ‘Dinner Share of Shelf’ with 56% of products falling into this category, while of the 44% of Christmas meat dishes, 27% of these were Christmas turkeys, while goose made up a measly 2%!  

Turkeys Rule the Roost

Unsurprisingly, turkey wins the ‘Battle of the Birds’, with more than 10 times as many turkey choices available across UK retailers compared to the more traditional Christmas goose. We may need an updated version of Dickens’ classic tale, as finding a turkey twice the size of Tiny Tim might prove a difficult delivery challenge for grocers. Ocado and Waitrose offer the greatest breadth and depth of range when it comes to turkeys while AmazonFresh has the largest goose range with 4 available online. In fact only Amazon, Ocado, Tesco, and Waitrose are currently offering Christmas goose to consumers so far this year. Asda, Sainsbury’s, and Tesco are all offering fewer turkey options than AmazonFresh, perhaps demonstrating Amazon desire for dominance in the UK grocery market.

Tiny Tim will be happy with all retailers stocking a wide selection of his favorite Christmas dish, sage and onion stuffing. AmazonFresh, in particular, who again has the largest choice of sage and onion SKUs followed by Sainsburys. Ocado wins on mince pies, while Tesco has the lead when it comes to roast potatoes.

Which Online Grocer Offers the Best Value for Christmas Dinner?

Considering the core ingredients to a traditional Christmas feast, which UK retailer is offering the best value? Sainbury’s has the best value with a full Christmas dinner for under £30 with the prized Christmas turkey having the biggest impact on this years feast. Tesco has the cheapest apple sauce and sage and onion stuffing on average, while Asda’s mince pies will fly into Santa’s sleigh at the cheapest cost. 

online grocery delivery dinner ingredients

UK Christmas shopping habits are changing, with  ‘one big food shop’ having had it’s day with less than 3 in 10 consumers shopping this way in 2016. Grocery is moving online with greater breadth and depth of range of products as well as increased inconvenience. One thing is certain this year, with more of our grocery shopping moving online, most UK retailers are ready for us to splash out on everything we’ll need for a classic Christmas feast ordered online.




John Neilson

John Neilson

John Neilson is the Global Head of Professional Services at Clavis Insight providing market research data and analysis to help global Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) manufacturers understand the eCommerce landscape. He has over 10 years of experience and expertise in the FMCG retail and insight industries.

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