Whilst there are plenty of reasons why making a move abroad is a great idea, there can also be lots of things that we will miss along the way; family, friends and familiar home comforts.
British food and groceries usually feature very low down on lists of what’s important… until, that is, you start to realise what you’ve left behind!
In this guide to importing British goods, groceries and foods, we’ll look at the best worldwide delivery options that can reunite you with your favourite brands: including some of the most popular UK snacks, confectionary, tinned products, cosmetics and even UK pet products.
- 1 How to Get British Goods Delivered Abroad
- 2 Sites That Deliver British Food and Groceries Worldwide
- 3 Basket Comparison
- 4 Delivery Comparison
- 5 Tips for Buying British Goods Online
How to Get British Goods Delivered Abroad
Whilst you are still here in the UK, you may not even consider what foods you might end up missing.
Many of us take them for granted.
Or, you might have decided that you will be fully embracing the culture and cuisine of your chosen new homeland. Others may have overlooked this detail and thought that they could probably purchase their favourite products abroad…
The fact is that, yes, in many countries, British products are available but often come at a massive premium whilst other brands just don’t travel to your new neck of the woods.
For some people, that won’t be a problem; they either pay the extra or simply swap a familiar brand for a new one whether it’s breakfast tea, tinned beans or cereal.
Yet, there are those comfort foods that we all crave from time to time for which there might not be a suitable alternative abroad; a Fray Bentos Steak Pie, a can of corned beef or Marmite!
Even if you are prepared to pay extra, such things may not exist in your new local supermarket. So, apart from relying on friends to send you ‘emergency’ packages, what’s the solution?
Well, the days of stocking up a suitcase on return visit to family are long gone as the combination of the internet and cheaper worldwide distribution networks now means that buying British groceries online is a viable alternative.
Sites That Deliver British Food and Groceries Worldwide
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular websites where you can buy British groceries and have them imported to your home country.
These sites are all tremendously popular with UK expats and Brits in the forces.
January sales apply even to UK expat groceries, it seems!
Probably our favourite site for importing British groceries overseas is the aptly named British Corner Shop.
(The corner shop, incidentally, is another thing you’ll miss when you’ve been overseas too long!)
The website is well designed and offers an intuitive shopping experience.
You need to ensure that you have selected the correct country in the top right hand corner of the website before you proceed; this will ensure that the relevant products are displayed when you search as some items cannot be purchased in certain countries.
Shopping is as easy as typing in a keyword and, with predictive guessing, the search field will try to complete your entry. You can also browse for products using either a brand name or via categories such as by shelf type or popular products. British Corner Store also specialises in exporting goods specifically purchased at Waitrose.
The site purports to offer over 12,000 products and there is certainly a good range available under the common categories.
There is no ability to enter an entire shopping list as you currently can on domestic sites such as Sainsburys or Asda so you do have to select each product individually.
As far as worldwide delivery goes, we found every country on our test list and the choice of location was extensive including Europe, Asia, America, Africa and many remote islands too.
They charge by weight for volume with three bandings of dry goods; up to 1kg, up to 2kg and up to 10kg. The basket screen is very useful in that it keeps a running total of the estimated weight of your delivery. So, if you are about to place an order for products that weighs 8kg then it is cost-effective to purchase another 2kg worth as your delivery costs will remain the same.
Price comparisons on a sample basket have been made below.
Delivery times vary by country with Europe taking around 5-7 working days on economy and 4-8 working days by courier.
All deliveries are 100% insured and guaranteed.
Lastly, the site does bring up some useful reminders and warnings that are pertinent to your basket and location which are useful; things like whether the food you are ordering is likely to be fresh upon arrival and whether it is likely to melt in transit (chocolate in Kuwait might not go the distance)!
All in all, British Corner Shop is an excellent service used by thousands of British expats. We can recommend it for ease of use, diversity of products, and the underlying value.
Brit Superstore is an intuitive online service and features large images and clear descriptions in an easy to read font. The products are categorised well and you can browse by aisle, category or using keywords.
There is a good range of products available from a variety of British supermarkets and we were only unable to find one product or alternative.
The site keeps details of your basket updated which includes a gauge of how much the shipping charges are estimated to be including the next price bracket by weight. This is a handy feature allowing you to make the most of one delivery without incurring additional shipping costs.
There are a range of delivery options from economy prices to faster courier services and allows plenty of flexibility.
You are also able to view the prices (and pay) in GBP, USD, EUR, AUD and CAD.
The site runs plenty of offers and promotions like those you would benefit from in the UK including bulk purchases and BOGOFs (buy one get one free).
British Superstore also runs a loyalty programme awarding points on every spend which can be redeemed against future purchases.
The site has a slightly dated feel with small images and fonts making it less easy to navigate and to browse for products. The range is good but not as comprehensive as some other sites. You can browse by keywords or by popular shelves, brands and categories such as offers, bulk buys or seasonal goods.
We were not able to find all of the goods on our sample shop and some products had no suitable alternatives.
Delivery costs are calculated at the checkout but you can estimate the costs in your basket at any time. The charges do vary even within a country and they do not ship everywhere in the world.
Any goods that are seized by customs are not refundable so you should ensure you have read our section below on ‘Important things to remember’.
BritStore is another trading platform run by the same company as Brit Superstore. The website is slightly different and the results are displayed in another way; however the prices and service are exactly the same.
The site is easy to navigate and offers a similar range of products to the other sites we have reviewed. Products that are available include health and beauty, dried goods, household and pets as well as toddler and baby.
You can easily search for items using a keyword or by browsing the individual sections. Orders take 5-10 days to be processed and you will need add the delivery time on to this. This can mean that orders take up to 3 weeks from payment to receipt.
Prices ranged across the board and, though we did not include them in our basket sample comparison, they did not have all of the products we searched for. The site do ask that if you cannot find an item that you contact customer services and they will be able to help source this for you.
However, the general range is good and includes a section dedicated to Marks and Spencer goods which might interest some.
Using 20 foods that Brits are most likely to miss, or be unable to buy, whilst abroad, we’ve put together a cost comparison of the top three online stores.
|Product||British Cornershop||British Shop Abroad||Brit Superstore|
|Branston Pickle (360g)||£1.89||£2.00||£2.29|
|Kelloggs Crunchy Nut Cornflakes (500g)||£3.99||£3.68||£3.69|
|Heinz Salad Cream (425g) Squeezy||£3.39||£2.99||£2.74|
|Yorkshire Tea Bags 80s||£3.89||£4.49||£3.95|
|Cadburys Dairy Milk (200g)||£3.79||£2.99||£3.00|
|Warburtons Crumpets (6 Pack)||£1.45||£1.69||Unavailable|
|HP Sauce (450g) Squeezy||£3.59||£2.25||£2.45|
|Crawfords Custard Creams (150g)||£1.39||*£1.09||*£1.39|
|Irn Bru (8 Cans)||£6.29||Unavailable||£4.99|
|Batchelors Mushy Peas (300g)||£0.99||£0.99||£0.99|
|Paxo Sage & Onion Stuffing (190g)||£1.69||£1.79||£1.95|
|Fray Bentos Steak & Kidney Pie (425g)||£2.89||£3.39||£3.19|
|Jacobs Cream Crackers (200g)||£1.69||£1.65||£1.39|
|Walkers Salt & Vinegar Crisps (6 Pack)||£1.59||£2.59||£2.43|
|Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup (400g)||£1.69||*£0.63||£1.45|
|McVities Jaffa Cakes (12 Pack, 125g)||£2.39||£1.89||£2.04|
|Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles (125g)||£1.69||£1.99||*£2.04|
|Tetley Earl Grey Tea (50 bags)||£2.99||£3.29||£3.83|
|Heinz Baked Beans (415g)||£0.75||£1.19||£1.20|
|Cadbury Cream Egg (std. 40g)||£0.89||£0.69||Unavailable|
|Total No of Products Matched||20||17||17|
|Total No of Products Unavailable||n/a||1||2|
Items marked with an * differ slightly from the target product but have been replaced by a suitable alternative for comparison purposes.
Items marked unavailable offered no suitable alternatives.
Basket totals marked with ** are not complete.
To give a fair comparison on delivery costs, speed and quality of the packaging, we’ve chosen some popular destinations for a range of expats whether moving for work, with family or through retirement plus we’ve also chosen the remote island of Nauru as our wildcard destination.
The total weight of our basket is approximately 7.5kg with volumisation and packaging taken into account.
|Product||British Cornershop||British Shop Abroad||Brit Superstore|
|UAE||£39.99||Unable to ship||£26.14|
|Brazil||£89.99||Unable to ship||Unable to ship|
|Nauru||£89.99||Unable to ship||£109.96|
*Cheapest option quoted.
|British Shop Abroad||Brit|
|Australia||4-10 Days||2-10 Days||1-6 Days|
|Greece||5-7 Days||2-10 Days||1-6 Days|
|UAE||4-10 Days||Not available||Unknown|
|Singapore||4-10 Days||2-10 Days||Unknown|
|Thailand||4-10 Days||2-10 Days||Unknown|
|USA||4-10 Days||2-10 Days||1-6 Days|
|South Africa||4-10 Days||2-10 Days||Unknown|
|Brazil||4-10 Days||Not available||Not available|
|Nauru||4-10 Days||Not available||2-10 Days|
Tips for Buying British Goods Online
There are some limits to what you can purchase online and some countries may not allow certain products.
There are some Muslim nations, for instance, that do not allow pork products in to the country and the USA does not currently allow beef products from the UK due to the current situation around foot and mouth so do check the local laws to avoid falling foul of them.
You should also be aware that each country has different rules around the cost of customs clearance on groceries. It is best to check locally so that you are not surprised by a huge customs bill.
Have you used any of the UK expat grocery delivery services mentioned in this post?
Let us know your reviews, experiences and recommendations. Plus any other services we have missed!