Research has revealed the damaging financial impact that online supermarket shopping is having on some older customers who are shopping in this way to stay safe.
YouGov polling commissioned by older people’s charity Independent Age highlighted how those most at risk from Covid-19 are being unfairly penalised by supermarket delivery fees and minimum spends.
According to the research that more than half (59%) of over 65s are having to buy more than they need in order to reach supermarkets’ minimum spends, with many spending £10-£15 more on groceries every time they shop because of the charges.
Independent Age is urging supermarkets to suspend delivery charges and reduce minimum spends for those people in later life and others at greater risk from coronavirus who have been advised by the government to avoid shopping in stores and are receiving priority delivery slots.
Independent Age chief executive Deborah Alsina said: ‘Although the roll-out of the vaccine offers mounting hope, a return to normality and people feeling safe in crowded spaces like supermarkets still feels distant.
‘Those at greater risk are being asked to continue shielding until at least the 29th of March, and many are likely to be nervous about venturing into busy supermarkets even after shielding ends.
‘So, for those who have no option but to shop online, the costs of supermarket deliveries are adding up. As the lockdown drags on, more and more people are finding themselves in desperate circumstances and are having to make savings elsewhere so that they can pay for access to food.
‘Supermarkets have told us they are doing their best to help customers at greater risk. But, after a year of increased sales for the big chains, we’re calling on them to go one step further.
We urge them to temporarily suspend delivery charges and reduce minimum spends for their customers most vulnerable to the virus.”
The new research comes after a group of leading charities wrote to supermarkets in January asking them to suspend delivery fees for customers who are more vulnerable to the virus and receiving priority delivery slots.
The charities, who represent millions of people at greater risk of Covid-19, say those who cannot shop in supermarkets due to health risks, and at the advice of the government – are being unfairly penalised through delivery charges and minimum spends for online supermarket shopping.
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