Tesco delivery changes: are online shopping charges going up - what is Tesco Whoosh, where is it available?

The supermarket has announced it will hike minimum spend and charges for home deliveries - a move customers say will disproportionately affect elderly and disabled people

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Tesco has announced changes to how its delivery system works as it continues to overhaul the services its customers can expect.

The supermarket has made several major changes to its operations in recent months, some of which have proven to be controversial. In March, it said its Clubcard points rewards scheme would become less generous, with vouchers worth twice their value at partner businesses rather than the triple boost people previously received.

It comes after the UK’s largest retailer moved to paperless coupons and a more personalised voucher scheme, whilst also altering the terms of its meal deal offering. The chain has also taken to issuing warnings about expiring Clubcard vouchers during the cost of living crisis.

Other major high street stores have also been adjusting their loyalty schemes of late. Boots will make its Advantage card scheme less generous later this year, while Tesco’s competitors, such as Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose, have adjusted their offerings over the past year.

So, what has Tesco announced about deliveries - and what will it mean for your online shopping and your wallet? Here’s everything you need to know.

How is Tesco changing deliveries?

Two key changes to Tesco’s delivery service are set to kick in from Tuesday 2 May, according to a blurb on its website. The headline change is that the minimum spend for home delivery will rise 25% from £40 to £50. A delivery fee will then apply on top of your shop unless you are on Tesco’s delivery saver plan.

For customers who don’t hit this total, a £5 basket charge will be applied - up from the £4 it currently is. This charge will add to your Clubcard points total. Click and collect will continue to be set at a minimum of £25 across all Tesco stores.

Tesco deliveries will become more expensive for some shoppers (image: Adobe)Tesco deliveries will become more expensive for some shoppers (image: Adobe)
Tesco deliveries will become more expensive for some shoppers (image: Adobe)

Tesco told The Sun that it was the first change to its delivery service prices for eight years and that it would “ensure we can continue to serve our online customers as effectively as possible”.

However, people have reacted furiously on social media, with some pointing out that the changes will disproportionately impact customers who are homebound - particularly those whose age or disabilities prevent them from travelling to a store.

One person wrote on Twitter: “@Tesco why are you putting disabled/housebound people at a disadvantage by increasing delivery basket value threshold but Click+Collect stays the same? I depend on delivery. Disabled people are more likely to lack transport & live in poverty. This is wrong.”

Another customer said: “@Tesco this increase in minimum spend for delivery will penalise my elderly mum for being widowed - what are you thinking?” Several others criticised the changes in light of the cost of living crisis.

One said: “Really helping the people that are struggling. Who’s [sic] stupid idea is this.” A further unhappy customer wrote: “Yeah, this isn’t every little helps @tesco, £45 maybe but £50 is quite the jump…how’s this helping right now, considering Tesco’s profits. Surely worth a rethink?”

Tesco’s UK and Ireland business posted operating profits of £2.2 billion for 2022 off the back of almost £50 billion in sales. These profits were 16% higher than those it gained in 2021 (£1.9 billion), with sales having climbed from £48.8 billion.

When compared to other supermarkets offering delivery services, Tesco’s move means it will become something of an outlier on minimum spending. Most other supermarkets require a minimum spend of £40, with charges of £3 on anything below that figure. At Sainsbury’s, the charge is £7.

Tesco staff are going to receive their second pay rise in 2022 (image: Tesco/Parsons Media)Tesco staff are going to receive their second pay rise in 2022 (image: Tesco/Parsons Media)
Tesco staff are going to receive their second pay rise in 2022 (image: Tesco/Parsons Media)

What is Tesco Whoosh?

The news comes after Tesco announced that its rapid delivery service Whoosh is now available from 1,000 stores. First launched in May 2021, the service offers people the chance to order food or snacks from what Tesco calls a “curated list” of between 2,500 and 4,500 products.

Operating out of Tesco Express shops, Whoosh delivers to customers in as little as 30 minutes for a fee of £2.99 for any orders that cost £15 or more. The supermarket says its rapid delivery service now covers 55% of UK households.