We tried out Waitrose online, on some prompting from friends. The free delivery is great… but the online e-commerce system feels a few years behind Ocado and even Tesco.com. No automated lists, limited personalisation and slow load times make the experience slightly agonising, even in a very fast browser (Chrome, obv). There also seems to be a significantly smaller product range than you’d find on Ocado.
It’s not without its positive features: the shopping basket is very good, as is the offer browser and product information screens. It’s just the actual process of shopping that is a bit too slow and fiddly.
I’m hoping that Waitrose can keep me posted of developments to the site as the Ocado delivery charges are steep and I’m not sure Amanda is sufficiently convinced of the virtues of online grocery shopping to agree to a scheduled commitment (which comps delivery on Ocado).
What do other people think? In store, online, and who with? This is all part of my bid to escape the supermarket lottery of life, which has us stuck with local Tesco storesâ€¦
Description: “A thick and comforting soup made with British peas, smoked ham, celery and a squeeze of lemon juice.” Yep, exactly what it says, although the microwave had this baby so hot the viscosity was probably a little off.
Health: Low cal – 222 calories for a 600g pot. Reasonable on all other scores, good on fibre, could have more protein…
Taste: Pretty good pea & ham soup. Standard. I must admit that I decided to spice it up with my new favourite condiment (Nando’s hot Peri-Peri sauce), not because it needed it – perfectly tasty as pea and ham soup – just that after the initial tasting I decided I wanted a little more kick to my lunch.
Full-o-meter: Not bad. Thanks to hot sauce have drunk two pints of water with lunch so feeling quite full right now. Eaten with two slices of medium sliced wholemeal toast.
Verdict: 4/5. Would have done better if it was a bit more interesting (it’s perfectly tasty, just standard) – but it is nonetheless a solid soup offering from those lovely Waitrose people.
Description: “A warmly spiced soup of choi sum, British chicken and coconut with ginger, lemon grass and chilli.” Hells yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.
Health: Erm, not great. 460 calories for the pot, loads of fat and sat fat, quite a bit of sodium. On the plus side, reasonable amount of fibre and protein.
Taste: Awesome! You can smell the lemongrass from across the room even as it microwaves, and whilst the texture seems a little weak on initial pouring it thickens as the soup cools from boiling (the all important “let stand” period). This soup is tasty, well textured, spicy, meaty and full of useful chunks of veg – deliciously soft and tasty choi sum and still-crunchy water chestnut that actually serves a purpose in this context!
Full-o-meter: Good, as you’d expect from a more substantial soup.
Verdict: 4/5. It loses a point for health. Otherwise this soup is outstanding.
Description: “A creany soup of tomatoes, minced beef, potatoes & rice.” Hrm, ‘cream’ is slightly misleading as cream isn’t in evidence from a flavour perspective, but the single cream does give a smooth texture to the soup as a whole… I didn’t notice the rice, either, but that’s not a complaint.
Health: 398 calories for the pot, which is OK, but reasonably carb heavy – relatively low protein and fibre – and a decent score for sodium.
Taste: Wow. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this that much, having only barely liked Eat’s Goulash… but this is really nice, bolognaise esque (well, the way I make it – which is tomato intensive), with tasty morsels of beef and good quality tomatoes making up the majority of the flavour with the occasional lump of potato for the occasional dose of bland (not a massive fan of the potato when it hasn’t been fried or roasted).
Full-o-meter: OK. Not great. The texture and consistency fills you up on eating, but I have a feeling the nutritional content will mean it doesn’t last the afternoon.
Verdict: 4/5. It’d get a 4.5 if they had a way to get more fibre and protein in there without substantially upping the calorie score. Good on you, Waitrose.
Description: “A hearty and warming soup of carrots, swede, green beans and parsnip with red lentils and pearl barley.”
Health: OK – only 236 calories for the pot so additional sustenance required, but good on all key vital indicators.
Taste: Meh. No interesting spice, no meat for texture – nothing wrong with it for what it is but just totally uninspiring. If they’d swapped out sweet potato or butternut squash for the regular potatoes in there that would have been something.
Full-o-meter: OK. Not great. Too low-cal, not enough protein to really carry you.
Verdict: 2/5. I’m sure it’d rate higher for someone that liked plain vegetable soup, but for me it was a bit dull.
Description: From pack – “A chunky, filling soup of chickpeas, British chicken and sultanas, spiced with roasted coriander, cumin and cinnamon.” Yep, that’s right, emphasis on the chickpeas!
Health: Awesome. <300 calories for a 600g pot, loads of good fibre, low on fat.
Taste: Good, aromatic, thick, tasty near-stew of chucky veg and shredded chicken that is reasonably well spiced. I think it could use a bit more salt and chilli/spice to give it a bit more kick/moreishness, but very tasty. Slightly heavy on the chickpea front, which no doubt contributes to the bulk and health of the meal but feels a bit disproportionate.
Full-o-meter: Pretty good for such a low cal meal – in no small part due to the large number of chickpeas.
Verdict: 4/5. I regularly return to this one, it’s a less guilty pleasure than the Keralan Chicken if not quite as tasty.