Thanks to our business model, we’re not bound by traditional shelf space requirements – this lets us give independent, up-and-coming suppliers a chance in the spotlight, and a home in our aisles.
So, why should you supply Ocado?
- National exposure: our grocery delivery service reaches over 70% of the UK.
- We scale with you: because we store all products in warehouses and not shops, we’re able to stock the smallest of ranges, and grow with you.
- Media and promotion support: Our marketing teams offer bespoke support, and will help you draw up both media and promotion plans that suit your budget.
- Digital retail: we’re at the forefront of the online grocery revolution. Supplying Ocado will make your product or range a part of this new wave of retail.
- We can support the smallest of the suppliers: our unique model means we often request new suppliers start with single case deliveries to our Customer Fulfillment Centres (CFCs). We’ll also provide a list of recommended hauliers if you’re unable to organise your own transport. We’re with you, every step of the way.
- Inclusive: we pride ourselves on being an inclusive retailer, so it’s important to us that every Ocado Retail supplier (established and prospective) feels equally supported and fairly treated by us.
We’re always on the lookout for the next big thing in the world of groceries, so we’re not interested in making you jump through endless hoops to get in front of our buyers. All it takes are these three steps:
Step 1: the application form.
Tell us about the product or range you’d like us to list by completing our online application.
Step 2: buyer review.
One of our buyers will review your application and decide whether your product or range is a good fit for Ocado. You can expect to hear back from them within eight weeks.
Step 3: result.
If successful, one of our Buyers will be in touch to set up a meeting, or you could be invited to one of our ‘Meet the Buyer’ days. If our Buyers decide we’re not a good fit, you’ll be given a reason why.
We’d love to work with you and look forward to seeing your application.Apply now
Being involved in Ocado’s Britain’s Next Top Supplier Competition has been an amazing experience for us. Initially it gave us the opportunity to present our products to a buyer and get their feedback, as well as gaining an understanding of how Ocado work with suppliers. Being named as winner has meant our products have been listed and we’ve been able to promote them using the prize marketing budget of £50,000, something we definitely wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.
For us, there’s no better feeling than launching a small supplier with ocado.com and helping them grow. Over the years we’ve supported hundreds of new, up-and-coming brands like Higgidy, Hiver Beer, The Garlic Farm and Sweet Revolution, all through Ocado’s Britain’s Next Top Supplier (BNTS) competition.
Speaking about BNTS and its importance to Ocado, Rose Price, Head of Buying at Ocado, says: “We founded Britain’s Next Top Supplier with the aim of discovering the most unique and exciting small food and drink suppliers in the UK. Small businesses are integral to Ocado, making up 70% of our supplier base, and we are dedicated to helping them bring their businesses to the next level by selling on a national scale to over 680,000 active customers.”
Successfully shortlisted entrants are invited to deliver a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style business pitch to our expert judging panel. The winner will be listed on ocado.com for several months, with the option to extend, and will receive a generous media promotion package.
If you’re a new or small producer and your product isn’t stocked at another major supermarket, or on Amazon, then you’re exactly who we want to see.
And don’t worry about size of your range. Being an online supermarket means we don’t have to fill up shelf space with huge quantities of stock – we can work with even the smallest quantities.
“We are looking for suppliers who show innovation and enthusiasm, presenting high-quality, great tasting products with a strong sense of provenance. We want to see small business founders who are as passionate about food and drink as we are, and who bring something new to the table.” – Rose Price, Head of Buying at Ocado.
Just so you’re aware, your product or range will need to have retail-ready packaging with accreditation (SALSA/BRC) to ensure the product has passed safety checks.
We consider entries from January–April each year.
The answers you need, and a
glossary that decodes Ocado.
The first step is to complete our Become a Supplier online application. Once we’ve checked out your application, the relevant Buyer will use the information you give to decide whether your product is a good fit for Ocado.
All products must be delivered to our Customer Fulfilment Centres (CFCs), in Hatfield, Hertfordshire; Dordon, West Midlands; and Erith, Kent.
We deliver to parts of England and Wales (for now). We’re expanding all the time, but if you have a specific postcode in mind, check www.ocado.com/postcode
Not initially – we’re a growing organisation with a rather busy post room. Please complete the online application first, and when your application has been reviewed, the relevant Buyer will ask if they’d like samples.
We don’t have range windows – we’re always on the look-out for great products. Fill out our online application form and once its been reviewed, the relevant Buyer will be in touch.
Our Buyers want to be the first to find new products that aren’t widely available, but they’re also excited to see products with competitive commercials. Do a spot of research and have a look at what we already offer in your category before applying – it may just give you an edge on the competition.
It’s an outline of the range you want to launch with us. If you’re getting in touch about one product, then it’s all about your hero; if you have products in multiple sizes, your range proposal is likely to be a selection of your bestsellers.
An overview of the special offers you want to use to attract our customers throughout your first year with us. Before you speak to a Buyer, have a think about what this plan should look like. Have a nosey at what your competitors are already doing on ocado.com and elsewhere. Don’t forget, it’s important to consider your overall costs when planning this.
Retail-ready businesses can deliver to our Customer Fulfillment Centres in appropriate vehicles (temperature-controlled, if required) on a single case or layer basis, or on pallets, in robust packaging. Retail-ready products have barcodes and date code information – ‘use-by’ and ‘sell-by’ dates, which are compliant with EU/UK labelling legislation. Find out more in the legal FAQs below.
Under European law all food businesses must be registered to an EU address and with a local authority. In the UK, this is Environmental Health. Registering doesn’t cost anything, and you can start the process by contacting the Environmental Health Officer at your local council.
Packaging needs to be robust enough to withstand our picking process, this is especially important if the contents are liquid or fragile. It also needs a barcode and to comply with European Food Information Regulations (feature ‘use-by’ dates, allergen and nutritional information). Extensive information is available on the Food Standards Agency website: www.food.gov.uk.
If a food business believes their product is unsafe, they’re legally obliged to withdraw it from sale and inform customers the reason for withdrawal. A product recall plan details how you will manage this process. It should include an email and telephone number where you, or a senior member of your team can be contacted on a 24/7 basis.
HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) is a food safety management system designed to control hazards at points critical to food safety. Food businesses are legally required to implement a food safety management system based on the requirement of good hygiene practices and HACCP principles. Your local Environmental Health Officer should be able to help with this.
We accept accreditation from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) or Safe And Local Supplier Approval (SALSA).
Yes – we have a weight restriction of 15kg, and product dimensions must be under 534mm x 334mm x 340mm.
We’re the world’s largest dedicated online grocery supermarket. We’re powered by a unique fulfilment and logistics machine – everything we do is designed to give customers the best service possible. Our suppliers deliver directly to our Customer Fulfillment Centres, where products can be put away, packed, and sent out to customers in as little as five hours. We’ve got a short supply chain and rapid turnover, which helps us offer customers a freshness guarantee.
A number of things might affect minimum order quantities, such as the temperature your product needs to be kept at, or the anticipated rate of sale. We will order initial product quantities in either cases or layers, depending on your product. We’re unable to accept initial orders in pallet quantities.
If your application is successful, your Buyer will discuss this with you during the ranging process.
Right now, we’re delivering to over 70% of the UK population through three distribution centres, or Customer Fulfillment Centres, as we call them. These are in Hatfield, Hertfordshire; Dordon, West Midlands; and Erith, Kent.
If your products are chilled or frozen, then you will need temperature controlled distribution. If you don’t have suitable delivery equipment, then once your application is accepted your supply chain contact can give you a list of recommended hauliers.
If your application is successful and you’re unable to organise your own, suitable transport, then your supply chain contact will provide you with a list of recommended hauliers.
Special offers are a strong incentive for customers to try something new; remember, online customers can’t touch, smell or compare products like they can in store. Also, each customer sees a different version of the website according to their buying habits. This means that they see products in a different order too. Promotions put products higher up the assortment and give your brand increased visibility.
This depends on lots of things, such as your category, what your competitors are doing, and the retail price of your product. Doing a spot of research online is always a good idea, but a good rule of thumb is to mix reduction promotions (e.g. Save 25%) and multibuys (e.g. 3 for 2).
The art of successful promotions can vary from one category to the next. Head to ocado.com and take a look at the competition in your category – it will give you an idea of where to start. If your application is accepted, your Buyer will happily advise on what they think will work best for you.
Brandbank manages digital brand content. If your application is successful, we will need you to subscribe to Brandbank and upload this information before you can go live on ocado.com. It hosts product information (or ‘back of pack’ as we call it) and high resolution imagery. This is really important for selling your products online, where customers want to see as much information as possible.
There are lots of marketing opportunities available. We offer targeted sampling campaigns, graphic banners on relevant product pages, social media, features in our customer magazine, Ocadolife, and more. If your application is accepted, your Buying Manager will provide you with an information pack, and help you decide what will work best for your brand.
A reference to the temperature your product(s) needs to be stored at. In this case, room temperature.
Product information you’d usually find on packaging, like product description and nutritional information. Some suppliers like to include extra information, such as other products in the range, or awards they’ve won.
A digital content management platform which makes sure your product images and information are readily available. Without it, your product images and information won’t appear on Ocado.
Customer Fulfilment Centre. This is what we call our warehouses, and is where suppliers deliver products, so we can pick, pack and deliver them to customers. Other businesses might call this a distribution centre – but we think they’re so much more that that.
This is a reference to the temperature your product(s) needs to be stored at. In this case, refrigerated but not frozen.
This stands for Food Information Regulation and is the European legislation governing what information needs to be displayed on food products. It includes nutritional and allergy information, as well as use-by and sell-by dates. More information is available on the Food Standards Agency website.
This is a reference to the temperature your product(s) needs to be stored at. In this case, in the freezer.
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, a Food Standards Agency approved system which helps food businesses ensure the food they make or serve is safe to eat.
A third-party who will transport products on your behalf to our Customer Fulfillment Centres.
When Buyers refer to media, they’re talking about advertising on the website – banners, featured products, that sort of thing. Media plans are a bit like promotional plans – it’s an agreement between Buyers and suppliers about brand advertising on our website.
Your product location in our Customer Fulfillment Centres. Products sit in pick faces whilst waiting to be picked by our Personal Shoppers.
Your in-case-of-emergency process for getting products back from customers if there is something wrong. For example, you’d need to know what to do if there was a labelling error, or if the ‘use-by’ dates were incorrect.
Special offers, discounts. Here’s a list of common mechanics:
Link deal e.g. Buy 3 packs of eggs, get egg cup free.
Multibuy e.g. Buy 1, Add 1 Free.
Reduction promo e.g. Half Price, Save 1/3, or £1 off.
An overview of the special offers and marketing activity you plan to run with us throughout the year. Other companies sometimes call this a Joint Business Plan (JBP).
When you’re browsing our site and you click on a product, a small window will pop up showing a brief overview of the product, including image, name, price and description. This is the quickview. You can click through to see more detailed product information – we call this the back of pack (BOP).
This covers businesses and products. Retail-ready businesses are able to deliver products to our Customer Fulfillment Centres in appropriate vehicles – temperature-controlled if required – on pallets and in robust packaging. Retail-ready products have barcodes and date code information – ‘use-by’ and ‘sell-by’ dates, which are compliant with EU/UK legislation. Find out more in our legal stuff section above.
8 or 9 digit number we use to identify each product. Why? Well, long descriptions don’t work very well in Excel, or in algorithms.