Grocery delivery services compared

Our survey rates grocery delivery services for customer satisfaction.

20jul grocery delivery services hero

More of us are getting groceries delivered to the door. It’s a convenient way to shop but how do delivery services measure up? To find out, we asked consumers to rate the companies they’d used.

Supermarkets

% very satisfied

Countdown pipped New World for customer satisfaction with grocery deliveries. Seventy-three percent of Countdown shoppers were very satisfied with the store’s service. New World scored 61 percent.

Countdown customers were also more likely to recommend the store’s service: 90 percent gave it a tick while 82 percent of New World customers recommended its service.

Across both supermarkets, about a quarter of customers experienced a problem with their order. Common issues included not getting the items ordered, goods not being delivered and special deals not being available. That said, most of these problems occurred during lockdown.

Getting a delivery slot during lockdown was another issue at both supermarkets. One shopper commented they “had to stay up until midnight to be able to book a delivery time […] which was stressful”.

Another tried at midnight, 1a.m. and the crack of dawn but couldn’t get a slot.

Bruised apples, rotten avocados and meat too close to its use-by date were bones of contention for a few shoppers. One customer complained about limp celery and “carrots covered with black mouldy areas”, while another had wilted greens.

If you get sub-par produce, ask the store to replace the item or give you a refund (see “Your rights if things go wrong”).

Meal kits

% very satisfied

Seven out of 10 shoppers who got meal kit deliveries were very happy with the services and 84 percent would recommend them. Just six percent were dissatisfied.

We received enough responses to rate two meal kit companies: My Food Bag and Hello Fresh.

My Food Bag customers were the happiest, with 79 percent very satisfied. Hello Fresh scored 63 percent.

Eighteen percent of those who’d used a meal kit service experienced a problem with their order, such as goods not being delivered or arriving damaged, or not getting what they ordered.

“About once a month some ingredients are missing,” one respondent said. While a credit was given for the missing item, the shopper had to go to the supermarket to get the item, which detracted from the convenience of the kit.

During lockdown, delayed deliveries were a problem for some. “Late deliveries have caused frozen ice packs to thaw and in one case burst,” one customer said.

Customers were also annoyed by 10-hour delivery windows or boxes being delivered earlier or later than expected.

Small retailers

Total number of small retailers: 175

% very satisfied

People who shopped at smaller food retailers were more likely to be happy with the service, with about nine out of 10 very satisfied with the store they used.

While we didn’t get enough responses to rate individual stores, the trend across the board showed very high satisfaction.

Shoppers were less likely to experience problems: 94 percent of those ordering from fruit and vege services or butcheries didn’t report any problems.

For at least one shopper, there was the bonus of no delivery charge: “Free delivery of meat, fish, bread, eggs and milk was just wonderful.”

Delivery fees

Delivery cost depends on how much is in your virtual trolley. Countdown charges a $14 delivery fee for orders up to $199.99 and $9 if it’s $200 or more. New World charges $15 for orders up to $199.99 and $10 if it’s $200 or more.

If the store doesn’t have the product you’ve ordered, you can opt for the store’s shopper to choose a substitution. If the swap is more expensive, you’ll be charged the same price as your first choice. If it’s cheaper, you’ll be charged less.

If you don’t tick the substitution box at New World, the delivery fee will be based on your final shopping tally. Antoinette Laird, head of corporate affairs for Foodstuffs (owner of the New World brand), said if there’s an issue filling an order, the customer should get a phone call offering alternatives.

At Countdown, if an order can’t be filled or a substituted product reduces the total cost below $200, the customer won’t be charged the higher delivery fee.

Your rights if things go wrong

Missing items? Poor food quality or damaged goods?

Contact the retailer and give it an opportunity to put things right. All goods should be of acceptable quality, match the description and be delivered in a reasonable time (if no time is agreed beforehand).

The store should replace items that aren’t up to scratch or give you a refund if you didn’t get what you ordered.

Charged an unexpected fee?

Delivery services should disclose their fees upfront. Whether it’s a delivery or service fee, you should know about it before you pay. If you feel you’ve been misled about what you’ll pay, try to resolve it with the retailer first. If this doesn’t work, let us know.

Meal kit delivery you didn’t want?

With meal kit deliveries, customer orders are automatically generated each week or fortnight unless you opt out. This should be made clear when you sign up.

If you want to skip a week or cancel the service, you normally need to advise the company in good time. My Food Bag’s deadline for cancellations is midnight on the Sunday before delivery. With Hello Fresh, you need to make changes to your order by 11:59pm on the Tuesday before the following week’s delivery.

Groceries not delivered to your door?

If you live up a goat track or in a rural area, check the retailer’s website to see whether your order will be delivered to your door. Some services won’t deliver to rural areas.

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Member comments

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John V.
12 Jul 2020
Online shopping affects in-store shoppers

I accept that for some people who are unable to easily get to the supermarket online shopping is convenient. The problem is there are now so many staff with their huge trolleys filling the orders for online or pick-up orders (I shop at Countdown Lower Hutt) that they often block the aisles and sometimes make it difficult for in-store shoppers to access the products.

Michele M.
12 Jul 2020
Countdown Delivery Saver

I have been a Countdown online grocery order and delivery customer for nearly 10 years and have found them to be great. Any complaints, they do their best to fix ASAP.

One thing I'd like to say is about their Delivery Saver. For $X for three or six months, you can order as often as you like as long as the order is over $80. For me, ordering weekly, that's about $4/wk.

Lorraine P.
12 Jul 2020
Countdown online shopping

I have to eat humble pie regarding countdown when it comes to their online delivery service. I've been using them for about a year. I'm immuno suppressed so in winter especially it's been brilliant. Covid-19 sure chucked the challenges their way, but I didnt have even 1 hiccup all thru lockdown. I'm in Glenfield Auckland so maybe I was just lucky. I did use their online delivery to send "care packages" to family & friends too.

E M N.
11 Jul 2020
Online with Countdowns

I was a Very happy customer until I moved 2 minutes up the road road to our new house.
It took months of explaining and I almost gave up, but they agreed to deliver in the end. Our area is growing and I don’t think their maps were up to date. The service is great. I get a call if they need to change anything and once I was not pleased with something, they immediately did a refund. Highly recommended if you want to budget. You don’t get swayed to buy as you would in store.

Jean H.
11 Jul 2020
Online shopping as well as Click and Collect

I used Countdown delivery during Covid-19 lockdown and after initial hiccups in first 2-3 weeks absolutely brilliant, service is great and now doing Countdown click and collect as easier because I am a carer and they text when goods are ready as a reminder. Tried New World click and collect about 3 weeks into lockdown and was so disappointed, goods were not ready when they said, frozen goods in among lettuce and tomatoes plus it took 12 weeks to get a refund on item not supplied.

Jean H

Jenny W.
11 Jul 2020
Online supmkt shopping

Only used Countdown once & they took $$ from my a/c the day I did the order - even tho it wasn’t being delivered for 10 days (during lockdown). Swapped to New World who initially advise you to hve enough $$ in yr a/c to pay for order, then another text/email 24 hrs before del date, + another notification on day of order that you must hve enough $$ to pay. Veg & fruit always of good fresh standard + they’ve always rung if item unavailable & I hadn’t specified substitute. Great service.