New Online Poll Reveals Strange Substitutions in UK Supermarkets: From Sellotape Instead of Toilet Paper to Strawberries as Binbags

New Online Poll Reveals Strange Substitutions in UK Supermarkets: From Sellotape Instead of Toilet Paper to Strawberries as Binbags

From Sellotape instead of toilet paper to strawberries in place of binbags, some of the strangest supermarket substitutions have been revealed in a new online poll conducted by consumer champion Which?. The study found that almost half of supermarket deliveries at popular stores such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Aldi have included a substitute item in the last 23 months. Those with special diets fared particularly badly.

The poll, which surveyed 3,007 UK adults online in October, gathered information on 1,260 online supermarket shopping experiences. Six in ten Asda customers reported receiving a substitution in their most recent shop. One receiving dog chews instead of chicken breasts. Another bewildered shopper received a pack of toilet rolls instead of bread rolls.

Some 59% of Aldi shoppers received unexpected items, including a bag of onions instead of a loaf of bread. Waitrose customers were the least likely to receive a substitution, with only a quarter of those surveyed stating they had. However, one shopper did receive an alcohol-free bottle of wine in place of a standard bottle.

Tesco had one of the lower rates of substitutions. Only four in ten (44%). But one customer complained they received an Easter egg instead of hot dog rolls. Another ordered a roll of tinfoil which was swapped out for a chocolate Santa. Half of customers who had ordered online at Sainsbury’s reported that they had received a substitution. This included shoe polish instead of fruit and bacon rather than BBQ-flavored crisps.

A similar proportion of Amazon Fresh shoppers reported last-minute changes, including one shopper who received Sellotape instead of toilet roll.Iceland supermarkets swapped out products for over a third of its shoppers, and one of them reported receiving strawberries instead of binbags.

Customers with special dietary requirements fared particularly badly across many of the supermarkets, with vegan and vegetarian products often swapped out in place of meat or dairy. The same was true for customers with food intolerances. One shopper, whose partner has coeliac disease, had their gluten-free product substituted with a product containing wheat.

The survey scored each supermarket based on the substitution items they chose. Waitrose fared best, receiving four stars. Aldi, Amazon Fresh, Sainsbury’s, and Tesco scored three stars, while Asda, Iceland, and Morrisons scored just two.

Which? Retail editor Reena Sewraz said, “Product substitutions can be incredibly frustrating, especially if the key ingredient for your dinner is missing. Our research has shown that some replacements can also be downright ridiculous. You have the right to reject substitutions at the point of delivery, or you could opt out of receiving substitutions altogether. If you do end up with a substitution that you don’t want, always contact the supermarket and ask for a refund.”

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