Asda dishes out ‘highest’ rate of grocery substitutions, finds Which?

56 per cent of shoppers at Asda received a substitution in their most recent online grocery shop, according to a new Which? survey.

The consumer champion surveyed 3,000 people about their latest grocery order in October and November last year.

The rate of substitutions at Asda was higher than the average of around a third – 34 per cent – across all UK supermarkets.

The research found that one customer at Asda reported receiving cans of beer instead of washing powder as a substitution, while another received fruit-scented shower gel instead of fruit.

Sainsbury’s had the second highest proportion of substitutions, with two fifths of customers receiving a substitution. This was followed by Morrisons, where a third of customers had received unsuitable alternatives such as onions instead of cheese and onion crisps.

Which? said that while substitutions are generally just seen as a “nuisance”, they could also have more serious implications.

Several shoppers with dietary requirements told the organisation that they had received unsuitable substitutes such as regular cheese instead of lactose cheese or ready meals containing meat when a customer was vegetarian.

“If the item you’ve ordered is out of stock, well-chosen substitutions can be really handy - but our research has shown that all too often the replacement item is inappropriate or downright bizarre,” said Ele Clark, retail editor at Which?. “Shoppers have the right to reject substitutions at the point of delivery, or you can sometimes opt out of receiving substitutions altogether.

“If you end up with an unwanted substitution after the driver has gone, contact the supermarket and ask for a refund - some have handy online tools to make the process easier.”

Retail Systems has reached out to Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons for comment.

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