Amazon Grocery Store: could you save money on your weekly shop?


Updated on 21 February 2019 | 7 Comments

I tried to buy all my food, drink and cleaning products from the online giant for a week. Here’s how I got on.

When online marketplace Amazon announced its decision to enter the grocery market a few years ago, us personal finance journalists smelled a whiff of something revolutionary in the air. 

We could buy our jacket potato fillings alongside our DVD boxsets. 

A few years later, the only person I know who uses it is my friend's mum. 

So, I decided on an experiment. I'd enter my family's weekly shop into Amazon and compare how the cost stacked up against a high-street supermarket (Tesco) and a discounter (Aldi).

If you're curious about the contents of my fridge, you can see the items on my list at the bottom of this article, but it's all the usual stuff most families need.

Note: this is just meant to reflect my experience of shopping on Amazon, and is not a definitive investigation! Please share your experiences in the comments section at the end of the article. 

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How did I get on?

First off, I entered my grocery list into Amazon. Of the 21 items I wanted, I could find 16, so occasionally I had to compromise on my preferred brands but it was pretty easy to find alternatives I could live with.

Really, the difference between Andrex loo roll and Cushelle doesn't keep me awake at night!

I had to buy 12 cans of coke instead of my usual eight, hardly a huge compromise (and it's not like the product is likely to go off). 

Unless you're super picky, I can't imagine these brand swaps would be a problem and you often find some pretty bizarre substitutions with the big four supermarkets.

The problem was the five items I couldn't source. Try as I might, I couldn't get my hands on a single pepperoni frozen pizza (only in bulk, as pictured below), mixed veg, apples, fish fingers or chicken breast fillets.

Get up to 9% back on your next Amazon shop! Simply sign up to Topcashback then look up Amazon for more information.

Trying to buy a pepperoni pizza on Amazon

If I were genuinely using Amazon for my weekly shop, I'd need to buy these staples elsewhere and double the amount of time spent looking for groceries. Err, isn’t online shopping meant to make your life easier?

Another problem, almost all the items on my list were available exclusively to Amazon Prime members. Fine if you're a member, but not so great if you need to join up and shell out £7.99 a month (although you can of course get a 30-day free trial).

This week's cheap supermarket offers and deals from Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose

Did Amazon save me money?

Doing the sums, my Amazon shopping came to £61.62, plus £3.99 for delivery and remember, I was five items light. Then, there's the Prime membership to factor in at £7.99 a month (or £79 a year).

How would this stack up against the rivals? Entering my shopping into Tesco, I found every single item and all my favourite brands for £69.48, plus a £6 delivery charge.

All in all, the cost at Tesco is roughly equal when you factor in my missing items and the Tesco experience was far more straightforward than the Amazon experience (see below for some of the quirks I encountered with Amazon).

An Amazon grocery warehouse in Berlin (image: Monika Skolimowska/DPA/PA Images)

And what about the discounters? I checked out Aldi. Not surprisingly, it offered very few of the brands I prefer and I wasn't able to find two items, but my total shop came out at a far more appetising £43, which would save me approximately £80 a month. 

But it is worth noting that only two of the items were available for online as Aldi is really designed for those willing to shop in store. Obviously, this would save me on delivery costs, but I really just don't have the time.

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Would I use Amazon again?

Probably not. It may have its deals, but nothing that would knock my socks off and nothing more exciting than you could find elsewhere. Plus it's certainly not the easiest site in the world to use, especially if you're new to it. 

First off, there's a relentless push to buy in bulk.

I entered "Heinz baked beans" into the search bar and was initially presented with the option to buy £42.99 worth. I wanted a snack for me and my boyfriend, not a lifetime supply!.

Where on earth would any typical household find the space to store £43 worth of beans? I'd need to convert the spare bedroom into a baked beans emporium.

Get up to 9% back on your next Amazon shop! Simply sign up to Topcashback then look up Amazon for more information.

How many beans do you really need?

I eventually found the four-pack I was looking for, but it felt like a lot of work, certainly compared to the major supermarkets' sites.

Another problem is the bizarre items often suggested based on your search terms. A search for "Richmond sausages" yielded The World Encyclopedia of Meat Game and Poultry. At this point, the shopping experience felt a little farcical.

What's more, Amazon divides its food services into Groceries, Pantry and Fresh (apparently not available in my area of Hull). I constantly flicked between the whole array and, at times, felt a little disorientated.

Maybe I missed some items that were available, but your grocery shop is only meant to take so much time.

Admittedly, it probably gets simpler the more times you use it and I was an Amazon Groceries virgin but, if I'm not saving money, I'm not just sure I'd keep plugging away. 

Amazon is great when I'm looking for the next series of The Affair but, when it comes to shopping, it just felt like too much work and few savings for the average family.

Have you bought groceries on Amazon before? Did you find it easy to use? And cheap? Let us know in the comments section below.

My shopping list

Shopping list item

Closest match on Amazon

Closest match at Tesco

Closest match at Aldi

Skimmed milk (one pint)

Morrisons long life British semi-skimmed milk (one pint)

Tesco British skimmed milk (one pint) 

Scottish whole milk (500ml)

Saxa table salt (750g)

Saxa table salt (750g)

Saxa table salt (750g) 

-

Kingsmill bread (one loaf)

Baker Street rye and wheat

Kingsmill 50/50 medium bread (one loaf) 

Soft wholemeal bread 

Colgate mouthwash (500ml)

Colgate total pro gum clean mint mouthwash (500ml)

Colgate Plax cool mint mouthwash (500ml) 

Dentitex alcohol-free mouthwash (500ml) 

Tropicana orange juice (1 litre)

Del Monte orange juice 

Tropicana orange juice original (950 ml) 

Orange juice (1 litre)

Hardys chardonnay (75cl)

Jacob's Creek classic chardonnay (75cl) 

Hardys Crest Chardonnay 75cl 

Fairtrade chenin chardonnay (75cl) 

Smirnoff vodka (1 litre)

Smirnoff red label triple distilled vodka (1 litre) 

Smirnoff red label vodka (1 litre) 

Tamova vodka (1 litre)

Chicken breast fillets (1kg)

-

Butchers choice chicken breast fillets (1kg) 

Chicken breast fillets (700g) 

Domestos bleach (750ml)

Domestos citrus bleach (750ml) 

bleach (750ml)

Power force thick bleach (750ml) 

Andrex toilet roll (four pack)

Cushelle toilet tissue (nine rolls) 


Andrex toilet roll (four pack) 

Quilted toilet tissue (four pack)

Heinz baked beans (four pack)

Heinz baked beans (four pack) 

 

Heinz baked beans with pork sausages (four pack) 

Corale premium baked beans 

Pampers nappies

Pampers premium selection (20 nappies) 

Pampers baby dry (33 nappies) 

Mamia junior nappies 

Princes tuna chunks (four pack)

Princes tuna chunks 

Princes tuna chunks in spring water (four pack) 

Tuna chunks in brine 

Pot Noodle (single pack)

Chicken and mushroom Pot Noodle (four pack) 

Chicken and mushroom Pot Noodle  

 

 

Chicken and mushroom snack noodle 

Richmond pork sausages (eight pack)

Butchers Sundries 

Richmond  skinless pork sausages (eight pack) 

16 Irish recipe sausages 

Cesar dog food (eight trays)

Cesar classics dogs tray mixed selection (four pack)

 

Cesar turkey and lamb dog food tray (five trays) 

Earls chicken dog food

Birds Eye fish fingers (10 pack)

-

Birds Eye fish fingers (10 pack) 

Northern Catch 10 cod fish fingers 

Diet coca cola (eight cans)

Diet coca cola (12 cans) (£4.50)

Diet Coke (eight pack)

Vive Cola (six pack) 

Goodfella's pepperoni pizza 

-

Goodfella's deep pan pepperoni pizza 

Thin and crispy pepperoni pizza 

Birds Eye mixed vegetables (one bag)

-

Birds Eye steamfresh  classic garden mix vegetables (540g) 

Four seasons mixed vegetables (1kg) 

Braeburn apples (six pack)

-

Tesco Braeburn apple (minimum five pack) 

-

Total cost

£61.62 (plus delivery and Prime membership)

£69.48 (plus delivery)

£43

Have you tried buying groceries from Amazon? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

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