Amazon grocery shopping: 'Supermarkets should be quaking in their boots', says food expert Andrew Webb

Amazon grocery shopping: 'Supermarkets should be quaking in their boots', says food expert

Amazon is rolling out a new online food shopping service

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Supermarkets should be "quaking in their boots", says a leading food journalist who has described Amazon's move into online grocery shopping as "a game changer" for the industry in Britain. 

The online retail giant has today launched a full virtual supermarket in the UK, starting with same-day delivery in central and east London and planned to roll out to other parts of the country over time. Users will need to be members of Amazon Prime and pay a fee of £6.99 per month. 

Amazon already sell a small amount of fresh food and dried products such as pasta and cereal in Britain through their Prime Now service. A similar full 'grocery store' scheme has been in place in the US since 2007.

Journalist Andrew Webb, author of the book Food Britannia, believes Amazon's move could alter the way we shop.

"Is it a game changer? I think it probably is," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer.

"The supermarkets must be quaking in their boots. They've had a lot of chance to get this right and they're quite embedded in their delivery.

"Amazon coming in is like someone gatecrashing the party."

While acknowledging that online grocery can be a difficult area in which to make a profit - "people still like to look at the fresh food" - Webb said that the move could benefit small food retailers who team up with Amazon. 

"This could be a real opportunity to connect with the little guy and use that service," he said.

"Just as [Amazon] allows people to [sell] self-published books, some of the smaller companies who haven't got this massive logistical juggernaut but are just making superb brownies or whatever [could benefit].

"Teaming up with those sorts of producers and providers could add that high-value, low-weight small item [Amazon are] missing."