Ocado dodges Christmas ‘upset’ with turkey alarm

Ocado has created a “centrepiece alarm” to ensure shoppers are not robbed of their Christmas dinners by item substitutions.

If orders are missing a turkey, meat joint or whole salmon, staff will be sent on mopeds to find a replacement.

“Can you imagine how upset a customer would be if we didn’t deliver their turkey for Christmas?” Ocado Retail boss Mel Smith told The Times. “We can’t do that to them.”

This is made possible by the 90,000 grocery lines – more than a big supermarket – that Ocado carries in its warehouses.

READ MORE: Roboshop: Is Ocado the future of supermarkets?

Iceland has set up a similar “turkey insurance” scheme after warnings of festive shortages.

The first 150,000 people who signed up will receive a turkey between 11 and 17 December, with the frozen food retailer pledging to pay the cost of late deliveries.

Elsewhere in her Times interview, Smith took aim at on-demand grocery startups, which have attracted investment worth billions during the pandemic.

“I really struggle to see the route to profitability and I have a lot of insight into those economics,” she claimed. 

“With our Zoom service, we can immediately be profitable.”

However, when ignoring exceptional income, Ocado Group made an £80.9 million loss in the six months to 30 May.

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