Asda tries out unattended food deliveries as customers return to the office

Asda tries out unattended food deliveries in bid to maintain shoppers’ appetite for grocery drop-offs once they return to the office

  • The supermarket is installing delivery boxes outside of customers’ homes
  • Food inside can stay fresh for up to 4 hours and is securely locked
  • Leaving deliveries unattended could make grocery shopping more convenient as many people stop working from home

Asda is trialling food deliveries that will be left outside customers’ homes unattended, as it prepares for a time when more people will be returning to their place of work.

Shopping will be delivered within a four-hour delivery window whilst a customer is away from home, with the boxes fixed securely outside.

The metal containers can keep chilled and frozen items cold for up to four hours and are a suitable size for a ‘regular’ shop, the supermarket said.

The service is free to use throughout the trial, and Asda hopes it will make grocery drop-offs more convenient in a post-lockdown world.

Asda is trying out unattended food deliveries in bid to make grocery shopping convenient

The trial is currently taking place with a small number of customers, predominantly in Yorkshire but also in locations in the North East, Wales and the South.

The shoppers currently testing the service will provide feedback to the store.

How does it work? 

Those signed up to the trial will have metal boxes fixed to the ground or an outer wall of their home. 

Shoppers then fill their basket on Asda’s site as normal, before choosing a four-hour delivery slot. 

The delivery drivers will bring the shopping to the metal box, entering a one-time code that allows them access to the box to make a single delivery. They will then lock it securely until the customer arrives home.

Two box sizes are being trialled depending on the size of the household, which can accommodate four or six tote bags of shopping respectively. 

Insulating materials are being used to maintain the correct product temperature when shopping is placed in the box, and to ensure items are not affected by hot or cold weather.

Customers can bring their food inside when they arrive home, and lock the box behind them.  

The boxes will stay outside of the customers’ home unless they no longer want to use the service. 

It is hoped the trial will appeal to those who are reverting back to ‘normal life’ after lockdown and will be out of the house more often.

It is hoped the trial will appeal to those who are reverting back to 'normal life' after lockdown

It is hoped the trial will appeal to those who are reverting back to ‘normal life’ after lockdown

Supermarket sales soared during 2020 as grocers benefited from having essential retailer status. 

Data from Kantar recently revealed that Asda was the fastest-growing of the big four retailers for the first time in nearly two and a half years. 

Whilst its larger stores were visited less often by shoppers looking to stay local in the early days of the pandemic, footfall has now returned strongly. 

Its share of the market increased by 0.4 per cent to 14.8 per cent during the 12 weeks to 18 April 2021 compared to the same period a year ago, on the back of 8 per cent growth. 

Home deliveries increased dramatically as a result, with Asda increasing its delivery capacity from 450,000 to 850,000 slots a week since the pandemic began.

Simon Gregg, vice president of online grocery at Asda, said: ‘We are pleased to be trialling an unattended delivery service as we continue to innovate and learn from new initiatives to help enhance our grocery home shopping offer.

‘As things begin to open up again, the boxes provide a convenient way for customers involved in the trial to take delivery of their regular shop while they are not at home.’

Asda is in the midst of a £6.8million takeover by the billionaire Issa brothers who agreed to buy the retailer last year.

Last week, the two offered to sell 27 of their petrol forecourts to ease concerns of potential fuel price hikes raised by the Competition and Markets Authority.

As a result, it is likely the duo will avoid a full probe by the watchdog.  

It said this week: ‘The CMA considers there are reasonable grounds for believing that the undertakings offered jointly by Mr Zuber Issa, Mr Mohsin Issa and TDR Capital LLP, or a modified version of them, might be accepted by the CMA under the Enterprise Act 2002.’