Food

How lazy must you be to have toast or fish fingers and even a tea delivered to your door


Fancy a bacon sandwich? Scrambled egg on toast, perhaps? Or just a nice cup of tea? Wait. No need to pop to the kitchen and exert yourself boiling the kettle or putting bread in the toaster.

Just press a few buttons on your mobile phone instead and a man on a motorbike will deliver these simple staples straight to your door.

Made in Chelsea’s Georgia ‘Toff’ Toffolo shocked fellow contestants on a panel show recently when she admitted a ‘five times a week addiction’ to ordering bacon sandwiches via phone app service Deliveroo.

More bemusing still, the food came from a restaurant ‘45 seconds’ from her front door. Toff, 25, defended her habit on the basis that there is ‘nothing better’ than eating a bacon buttie with ketchup in bed.

Helen Carroll (pictured) gave her verdict on the craze for ordering basic meals, after a week of ordering dishes from Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat to her North London home

Helen Carroll (pictured) gave her verdict on the craze for ordering basic meals, after a week of ordering dishes from Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat to her North London home

And she is far from the only card-carrying member of the ‘Lazyroo’ generation, with delivery company algorithms showing that orders of basics such as baked potatoes and omelettes are on the rise.

And despite this generation’s apparent care for the environment, their Uber Eat-ing habits (another popular delivery service) have serious consequences for the planet.

In March, King’s College London’s Dr Gary Fuller, an air pollution expert, said a ‘proliferation of motorcycle-based deliveries’ is a main reason for the 11 per cent year-on-year increase in motorbike use in the capital since 2010.

Consequently, levels of fine particulate pollution in London have fallen at a quarter of the rate of those in Paris, where delivery meals haven’t taken off in the same way.

For one blissfully idle week I decided to live like a minted millennial and have food that you could easily whip up yourself brought to my door by the companies that service the streets around our North London home; Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat.

Each of these services deliver food from a host of different restaurants, meaning delivery times and food quality vary depending on location, but here’s how the costs stacked up compared to the time and money it would have taken to cook the same meals myself…

Monday

Breakfast: Toast and Marmite, £2.

Delivery: £3.50 travelling 2.8 miles, a 14-minute drive.

Helen says she could make toast and Marmite for about 23p at home, she was unimpressed by the breakfast she received from one delivery service after waiting 14 minutes

Helen says she could make toast and Marmite for about 23p at home, she was unimpressed by the breakfast she received from one delivery service after waiting 14 minutes 

At home: Three minutes to make at a cost of about 23p.

Price difference: £5.27.

I’m not sure I’ll ever live down the shame of answering the door in my dressing gown to a helmeted takeaway delivery man at 8.30am. Worse, the toast was pale and had not been hot enough to melt the butter and was stone cold by the time it arrived, loose in a polystyrene box.

Lunch: Chips in pitta bread, £3.50.

Delivery: £3.50, travelling two miles in eight minutes.

At home: Oven chips take 15-20 minutes to bake, 10 to fry. A portion would cost roughly 18p plus 10p for a single pitta bread.

Price difference: £6.72.

There’s a reason we say ‘cheap as chips’. This was a very generous portion in a polystyrene container, but sadly they were far from piping hot.

Dinner: Jacket potato with tuna sweetcorn mayonnaise, £6.

Delivery: £3.50, travelling 2.8 miles, a 14-minute drive.

At home: A jacket potato can be cooked in the microwave in 10 minutes. Half a tin of tuna and half a tin of sweetcorn, plus mayo and a spud cost no more than £1.18.

Price difference: £8.32.

This was a tasty spud with a generous topping, which kept me full all evening, and it was a joy avoiding the onerous task of making dinner.

Helen believes she could've saved £6.60 by making honeyed porridge at home in the microwave in just 2.5 minutes

Helen believes she could’ve saved £6.60 by making honeyed porridge at home in the microwave in just 2.5 minutes 

Tuesday

Breakfast: Honeyed porridge, £3.30.

Delivery: £3.50 to travel 2.2 miles in 13 minutes.

At home: 2.5 minutes in the microwave for about 20p a bowl.

Price difference: £6.60.

I love porridge with honey but having someone else cook and deliver it felt ludicrously decadent. It came in a plastic tub, was deliciously creamy and still hot.

Lunch: Cheese on toast (two slices), plus cup of tea, £6.50.

Delivery: £3.50 to go 1.2 miles in eight minutes.

At home: Five minutes under the grill for the food and two minutes for the cuppa. Even with a generous 80g helping of cheddar, you’d be pushed to spend £1.

Price difference: £9.

There is no justification for spending £10 on this. While the cheese was deliciously melted it had, inevitably, begun to congeal by the time it arrived. As for the tea, let’s just say it’s a good thing I take mine weak.

Dinner: Baked beans on toast (two slices) £4.20.

Delivery: £3.50 to go 1.2 miles in eight minutes.

At home: This can be on the table in three minutes. As a tin of beans costs as little as 23p, you get a whole portion for around 17p.

Helen says she can see her kids being tempted to reorder hot dogs and chips for dinner, although it can be made for approx 95p at home

Helen says she can see her kids being tempted to reorder hot dogs and chips for dinner, although it can be made for approx 95p at home 

Price difference: £7.53.

The beans were already cold and the bread inevitably soggy.

Wednesday

Breakfast: Two crepes with sugar and lemon, £10.

Delivery: 50p to travel 1.3 miles in seven minutes.

At home: Five minutes to make and you could buy the flour, milk and eggs for two large crepes for 50p.

Price difference: £10.

The sugar was sprinkled inside the pancake and they came with a tiny tub of lemon juice. Anything so thin couldn’t possibly stay warm, however, and I had to reheat them.

Lunch: Houmous with pitta and salad, £5.

Delivery: £3.50 travelling two miles in eight minutes.

At home: Chopping the salad would take five minutes, while scooping out houmous and warming pitta bread can be done together. Approximately 70p per portion.

Price difference: £7.80

This is my staple weekday lunch and while the salad was tastier than my usual, I couldn’t possibly justify paying 11 times as much.

Helen says the French toast she received from her local takeaway was fancier than anything she would make

Helen says the French toast she received from her local takeaway was fancier than anything she would make

Dinner: Hot dog and chips, £6.50.

Delivery: £3.50 travelling 1.3 miles in eight minutes.

At home: Hot dogs can be heated during the 20 minutes the oven chips take to bake. Approx 95p.

Price difference: £9.05.

While this would come low on my list of favourite meals, I can see my kids being tempted to order it next time both parents are working late!

Thursday

Breakfast: French toast, £8.

Delivery: £3.50 travelling 2.8 miles in 14 minutes.

At home: I could do my own version within 20 minutes for 70p.

Price difference: £10.80.

Egg, milk and bread with chopped banana is pretty basic. But this was fancier than anything I would attempt. A treat.

Lunch: Soup of the day and bread, £6.

Delivery: £3.50 travelling 2.8 miles in 14 minutes.

At home: Fresh soup can be whizzed up in an hour. Quicker still is heating up ready made versions, which cost around £2 plus 6p for the bread and butter.

Price difference: £7.44.

Helen was unimpressed with the soup of the day she received as the flavour wasn't specified

Helen was unimpressed with the soup of the day she received as the flavour wasn’t specified 

This had no indication of what flavour that day’s offering was — I hazarded a guess at broccoli and stilton — in a Pepsi Max-branded paper cup. As promised there was bread, one white buttered slice that was rough around the edges by the time it arrived.

Dinner: Scrambled eggs on two slices of toast, £5.

Delivery: £3.50 travelling 2.8 miles in 14 minutes.

At home: The only thing more fabulous than fluffy scrambled egg is that you can make it in 10 minutes. A good portion costs 50p.

Price difference: £8.

Cooled rapidly in their polystyrene containers. Reheating in the microwave turned them rubbery to the point of being inedible.

Friday

Breakfast: Buttermilk pancakes with Nutella, £5.75.

Delivery: £3.50 travelling 2.8 miles in 14 minutes.

At home: I’ve never made these fluffy, American-style pancakes, but Google tells me they can be rustled up in 20 minutes and you could make a stack for £2.

Price difference: £7.25.

Delicious — but they would surely be even more delicious hot from the frying pan, rather than tepid after a motorbike ride.

Lunch: Poached egg on two slices of toast, £4.50.

Delivery: £3.50, travelling 1.2 miles in eight minutes.

At home: Four minutes to cook and roughly 42p for two rounds.

Price difference: £7.58.

Helen says she could make poached eggs on toast for roughly 42p for two rounds, the version from the delivery service had hardened by the time it arrived

Helen says she could make poached eggs on toast for roughly 42p for two rounds, the version from the delivery service had hardened by the time it arrived

I’m partial to a poached egg but these looked very sad at the edges of two large slices of toast. As they cooled en route they also, predictably, hardened so I missed out on the deliciousness of runny yolk.

Dinner: Four fish fingers and chips, fruit juice, £6.20.

Delivery: £3.50, going 1.2 miles in eight minutes.

At home: These can be cooked from the freezer in 15 minutes for 78p, plus 15p for the juice.

Price difference: £8.77.

The fish fingers were too well done for my taste, which may be why they stayed relatively hot. I won’t be rushing for more.

Saturday

Breakfast: Bacon sandwich, £5.

Delivery: £3.50, travelling 2.8 miles in 14 minutes.

At home: My husband whips up a bacon sandwich in 15 minutes and, even with a couple of rashers in each, they cost about 50p.

Price difference: £8.

This was very tasty, though the bacon could have been hotter. In my pre-parenthood days I can see I might have been tempted on the occasional bleary-eyed weekend. But five times a week, like Toff? I’d need a second mortgage…

Lunch: Ham and mozzarella toasted sandwich, £5.

Delivery: £3.50, travelling 2.8 miles and a 14-minute drive.

Helen says her delivery of omelette and chips took eight minutes to arrive but she could make the same dish in seven minutes

Helen says her delivery of omelette and chips took eight minutes to arrive but she could make the same dish in seven minutes

At home: These take around seven minutes in a sandwich toaster and make an easy after-school snack costing roughly 60p a pop.

Price difference: £7.90

These really do need to be eaten hot as the mozarella goes unpleasantly stringy when it cools.

Dinner: Omelette and chips, £6.20.

Delivery: £3.50, travelling 1.2 miles in eight minutes.

At home: I can whip up an omelette in seven minutes — and a plain one, like this, for no more than 40p. Chips were 20p more.

Price difference: £9.30.

No insult to the chef, but omelettes go rubbery fast. Luckily it responded well to a blast in the microwave.

Sunday

Breakfast: Traditional English breakfast, £9.

Delivery: £3.50, travelling 2.8 miles and a 14 minute drive.

At home: It takes around 30 minutes to prepare a fine English brekkie, for about £3 a portion.

Price difference: £9.50

This was perfect for a Sunday morning and, as it came in a lidded foil container, still hot. The portion sizes were generous.

Lunch: Sausage sandwich, £5.

Delivery: £3.50, travelling 2.8 miles and a 14-minute drive.

Helen claims handing the money over for this Penne Arrabiata dish made her feel nauseous

Helen claims handing the money over for this Penne Arrabiata dish made her feel nauseous 

At home: Frying sausages takes 10 minutes, healthier grilling 25. Using quality sausages will cost around £1.20 per sandwich.

Price difference: £7.30.

I’m fussy about the standard of processed meats I eat and these were pretty good.

Dinner: Penne Arrabiata, £9.50.

Delivery: £3.19, travelling 1.3 miles in nine minutes.

At home: Can be knocked up in 20 minutes costing 50p a portion.

Price difference: £12.19.

Tasty enough, but the mark-up is astonishing. Handing over the money made me nauseous.

Grand totals 

A week of basic meals on demand for one person cost a whopping £192.34. I could have made the same using budget supermarket ingredients, and buying in bulk, for ten times less at just £18.22.

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