Asda and Sainsbury’s online customers receiving gone off food in deliveries

Asda and Sainsbury’s online grocery customers are routinely receiving food that is already out of date or must be eaten on the day of delivery.

According to a new study from consumer watchdog Which?, dozens of shoppers have complained of receiving gone off food from a number of the UK’s leading supermarkets.

Which? reached out to customers via its social media channels after spotting dozens of complaints about “ruined” meals and shoppers being “put off buying online”.

It spoke to a number of Asda and Sainsbury’s customers, but also heard from customers experiencing the same issues with other leading UK supermarkets also.

One Asda shopper said she received a joint of beef four days past its use-by date, while another received steak which was a week past its use-by-date, though the latter received a refund and £10 gift voucher from the supermarket.

Asda online returns policy states that “customers unhappy with any products can apply for a refund on Asda’s website, or hand the item(s) back to the driver at the time of delivery” to start the refund process automatically.

However, one shopper, who returned hot cross buns to the driver in the same delivery, was unable to spot the expired beef joint before the driver left.

READ MORE: Ocado voted Which? best online supermarket for second year running

The UK’s second largest supermarket Sainsbury’s says that: “If a shorter-life product, including anything dated the day of, or day after, delivery, is due to be included in a customer’s order, Sainsbury’s will email you prior to delivery,” giving customers the option to reject the item on delivery and receive a refund.

Despite this, Which? spoke to a customer who received chocolate mousse with a use-by date on the same day which she was not informed about.

Upon reaching out to Sainsbury’s she said she “didn’t even get an apology”, but instead received a link outlining their short shelf-life policy.

In response to Which?’s evidence, Asda said: “We successfully deliver hundreds of thousands of orders every week and if any of our customers are unhappy with an item that’s been delivered they can give it back to our driver and will be provided with a full refund.

“Our pickers work hard to ensure that the products they choose are well within their use-by dates so our customers get the freshest produce available, but we are sorry if any of our customers feel they have not received the quality they expect.”

Sainsbury’s responded with an outline of their short shelf-life policy: “If a shorter-life product is due to be included in a customer’s order we will email to let them know in advance and they have the option of returning it to the driver for a refund.

“There are some exceptions, such as fresh bakery items and fruit, as they naturally have a short product life.”

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5 Comments. Leave new

  • There is a bigger issue in the industry, after years of cuts there are no longer the staff in-store to make sure that food is correctly rotated and that out of date stock is removed. Tesco has just been fined £7million for selling potentially dangerous out of date food, Morrisons shamed on social media for having a dirty hot food displays. For too long profit has been put before consumer safety and the system is buckling under the strain.

    • Very true at our ASDA store we had 6 to 8 people on shift at the same time per department like ambient, chilled, home & leisure, BWS and so on, now we have just 2, so the shop floor is untidy. The only new staff taken on in the last two years have been drivers and home shopping pickers, most of the drivers leave within 6 months due to the workload. I work on the shop floor and regularly find items out of date whilst I am restocking.
      The Issa Brothers brothers have bought ASDA when they could not afford it meaning the company has now taken on huge debts, alongside a private equity company, they have already spoken of selling of ASDA’s fuel stations, selling off the beloved George clothing brand and selling off store space to concessions offering hairdressing meaning more job cuts in store. They previous company TG group was fined for a serious breach of health and safety, but the Issa Brothers have been awarded titles by the Queen and they have been accused of tax avoidance. We as ASDA workers believe they do not have the best interests of the company at heart, the debt it has taken on could mean it will go the same way as BHS, Debenhams and House of Fraser.

  • I switched from ASDA to Sainsbury’s recently and on my first order received out of date food. The stores say you can check your order at the doorstep and return things to the driver but they are often in such a rush that it isn’t a welcome practice. Sainsbury’s did exactly what you’ve written about, pointed me to their policy. I also found the online refund process for Sainsbury’s to be unnecessarily complicated, hidden behind FAQ links and a dozen mouse clicks. I’m a disabled customer so I have no choice but to rely on home delivery, it shouldn’t feel like an anxiety inducing lottery every time I place an order.

  • As a driver we are under pressure to deliver as quickly as possible, sometimes 6 deliveries in an hour. Pickers have to pick 220 items an hour, customer’s never think of this when they receive there delivery

    • As much as many customers can appreciate that staff may be under pressure, this is never the customers fault, they are paying for a service and it should not be used as an excuse.


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