Amazon takes aim at Tesco with UK food delivery service

From today, Amazon Prime users in central and east London will be able to order fresh food via the shopping site and get it delivered within a few hours.

The move is an extension of the AmazonFresh service, which has been active in the US since 2007. While Thursday’s launch only includes 69 postcodes across London, Amazon has said that it plans to roll the service out across the UK as a further, unspecified date.

“We are launching with a comprehensive offer in a limited area and will take our time to hone and improve our service,” said Ajay Kavan, vice president of AmazonFresh.

Amazon has previously sold a limited range of fresh produce with Prime Now, but this marks a decided step into territory fought over by Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda, as well as specialist delivery services such as Ocado.

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The food Amazon offers through its service will largely come from Morrisons, following a deal struck between the two companies in February this year. “The combination of our fresh food expertise with Amazon’s online and logistics capabilities is compelling,” Morrisons’ chief executive David Potts said at the time.

Given AmazonFresh’s previous existence in the US, it’s likely that UK supermarkets have long been anticipating the online giant’s move in the grocery space. Sainsbury’s is already reacting to new disruptive forces in the market, being on track to complete a £1.4bn takeover of Argos owner Home Retail.

Amazon’s service will not be free, however. There’s a £79 annual subscription for Amazon Prime in the UK, and AmazonFresh will cost an extra £6.99 per month for the service. Will the overall cost be too much, or will Amazon’s brand of one-click convenience sway customers towards the shopping behemoth?

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