In a bid to avoid crowded supermarket aisles and tills, more consumers than before are ordering their groceries online in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.
However, the load seems to be proving too much for some e-grocer portals.
Here are the current wait times for most of the major online delivery websites (subject to change).
Carrefour: expect up to a two-week wait time, so orders placed on April 7 will arrive between April 20 and 23. As the the website notes: "We are experiencing exceptionally higher delivery demand resulting in longer waiting period.
"However, to meet our customer’s requirements of daily essential items, our CarrefourNow - 60minutes delivery service - is operating as usual."
Union Co-op: all delivery slots booked for a full week at the time of publishing.
Choithrams: expect a week-long wait time.
Lulu: all delivery slots full for the entire month of April at the time of publishing, so orders placed on April 7 can be expected on May 8.
Instashop: delivery within the hour from smaller grocery shops in your neighbourhood, some delays reported from bigger supermarkets.
Kibsons: expect a week-long wait time.
Fresh to Home: delivery on the same day if you order before noon, and the next day if you order before 9pm.
These supermarkets and online vendors aside, here are some others you can turn to.
NRTC Fresh: for fruits and vegetables
See the full list of grocery stores in the UAE here (delivery is subject to availability).
What hygiene measures are delivery services taking?
The National reached out to some online vendors to know how they are stepping up their hygiene measures, of which the teams from Carrefour and Kibsons responded with the following.
Carrefour: "In addition to our stringent sanitisation standards, Carrefour has put in place a set of measures across markets to ensure the safety of our customers and employees. These include ongoing cleaning of floors in areas with fresh foods, twice daily cleaning of all walls and work surfaces, and daily cleaning of all equipment. Our staff are asked to sanitise their hands every hour and, as an extra precaution and in customer contact areas, we've stationed hand-sanitiser dispensers for shoppers at the entrance, fresh food sections and at cash counters. Moreover, to ensure complete store hygiene, counters are cleaned with bleach twice a day.
"The freshness and quality of our food products is our top priority. As such, we are providing masks and gloves to all staff stationed at fresh food sections, including the bakery. For all online orders, we’re ensuring that delivery drivers and food packers abide by strict hygiene standards by wearing gloves and masks.
"Given the current need for heightened hygiene practices, all common-contact areas are disinfected every two hours using approved sanitisation products. As an added precaution, we’re also checking the temperature of staff daily when they arrive at work. Staff warehouses, toilets, tabletops, and sinks in the staff kitchen and bathrooms are also cleaned every two hours.
"We’ve also designated members of staff to the specific task of disinfecting trolley handles after each use once they’re returned to the parking bays. Additionally, cash counters and belts are disinfected twice daily."
Kibsons: The regular ISO 9001 and 22000 safety protocols aside, Kibsons founder Halima Jumani says all operations staff "have been extensively briefed about the situation, the potential repercussions and the significance of enhanced hygiene without negligence".
She adds that the team is committed to enforcing the following practices that “significantly enhance our hygiene to keep our team and customers as safe as possible” in the upcoming days.
- All operation staff are checked for body temperature at the beginning of the shift.
- All operations staff are required to wear safety gloves and masks while at work.
- All staff are required to wash their hands as frequently as possible during the day.
- All suppliers have been notified to follow the above hygiene precautions while delivering at our premises.
- All frequently touched surfaces are regular sanitised and wiped throughout the day.
- We are ensuring that the delivery boxes are 100 per cent clean, food-grade-certified and brand new straight off the press.
- All delivery vehicles are washed and cleaned three times more frequently than before.
- Our drivers understand the importance of frequently sanitising their van interiors, being cautious during transit, and using safety gloves for delivery.