Covid-19 Woolworths Essential Box - Review

It’s not self evident whether the promised $80 box is offering food value.

Would Choice be able to promptly arrange with volunteers/members who are ordering this product to share details of what is delivered?

It may help others if Choice staff can also add/provide a comparison of the Products/brands typical retail pricing to assess the value of the package and quality of the selections. It appears there is some flexibility in what you can include. Coles are supposedly going to follow. Reviewing which is providing the best outcome might create an opportunity to review this monthly?


I was considering it, but it will have a lot of product I can’t (or shouldn’t) eat so I’m going to sit tight for a while. Theres no swapping things out for other things so its the store making a decision about what should go in. I suspect there will be a lot of junk.

As for Coles, still waiting for their COPS thing so I would not hold my breath that they actually will follow. Could not organise a pissup in a brewery, that lot.


Sounds like it could be a magnanimous ultruistic gesture; OR, an opportunity to sell a range of products that have the biggest $ returns.

It will be difficult for Choice to review becaue “The actual brand or products you receive depends on your location and availability.


It would be interesting to know what the current total retail price for the same goods are compared to the $80 box price delivered. I expect that the total retail price of the goods will be slightly less than $80 with the difference being delivery.

Maybe if one has time (a community member or Choice), one could work out the cost using the Woollies website and the list from the page provides by @mark_m.


Having done some work in ‘conditions’ where the only job was ‘make it happen’, there comes a time when value is having food in one’s hand that is edible. There is nothing secondary that matters, although one can wring ones hand, analyse and applaud or criticise the provider. If Woolies can reliably provide a box of sustenance and some other bits and things to carry on, for those that need it, never out of stock and everything is edible or usable whether 1 or 5 health star items, good or poor value, it serves a real need according to everything I read in the media.

The box is aimed at those without a friendly neighbour or family member to help out where there is no acceptable / practical alternative. Online shopping? There are still many reports of 25% of items out of stock at fulfilment, so that is not a guaranteed meal plus whatever and can create angst and anxiety.

Unless it is clearly a cynical rip I give credit for the effort, unless the effort is one of those 75% marketing 0~25% reality ‘projects’.


I applaud the initiative, no cynicism required.

If it was a care package as a donation it says one thing.

As a paid for delivery package that reaches where Woolies does not usually provide home delivery, it should at least be reliable and have a reasonable contents list. Note that it is on a progressive roll out with other states perhaps one to two weeks off inclusion. It is not a silver bullet.

It’s a consumer service that can be very effective, or not. How well it meets the needs Woolies identified?
In true Choice style if it delivers successfully it deserves a rating. If it struggles, constructive feedback on behalf of consumers would be a fair call.

Woolies is struggling to provide home delivery. It has separately put in place a priority system for those who have no alternative.

Consider also:
The current shortages of many key products have a cause. If Woolies cannot keep up with the reduced needs of the priority customers and the essentials packages, we may have a more fundamental problem for all consumers. Choice is well placed to respond on behalf of consumers if these two initiatives are not delivering.

Objective data required.
edit, note added
It is perhaps more of a concern that the initiatives and responses of the big grocery retailers/chains are being monitored and assessed. How best to do so, are there are other suggestions?


As the box cannot be customised at all for some the box will not be a satisfactory choice. They perhaps need to consider that some choice needs to be allowed eg change meat for vegan, tea/coffee for other choices, milk substitutes for those who cannot tolerate milk. The idea is great just maybe it needs some fine tuning.


I hope you get the box OK - using Woolworth PRIORITY delivery service - we ordered today Thursday) and the first delivery date was Monday afternoon. Hmm great priority. This is from a company that on the first day of new restrictions we ordered milk and bread from them and were told no stock. In the end, the wonderful Salvation Army, managed to obtain both from a local Coles on the same day and quite late in the afternoon. You cannot get any support from Woolworths - the wait on the 1800 number was over 60 minutes last week, and no one is answering the local numbers. Perhaps we need a RC into supermarket behaviour during the Covid-19 epidemic. Coles seem to have better stocks of the essentials than WW.


Don’t know anyone who used the woolworths services but the Coles online shopping services for the the vulnerable is also quite limited. Please see here: COVID-19 Coles/Woolworths Claim that they are helping the vulnerable (eg elderly/disabled)


Here’s what’s in the box. I’d be willing to bet it comes nowhere near $80. Can somebody let me know? Thanks.


In the same email,

It may not contain everything you need and it may not be perfect, but we want to make sure at the very least you have the basics. Rest assured we are not profiting from providing this service.

As I posted previously, making something happen reliably in ‘a situation’ has different economics than in most any other situation. But I agree $80 seems high. The wobble is that they will pack what they have in hand and it might vary from Woolies brands to major brands item by item. The price of any item (eg ‘canned soup’) might vary by 100%; they probably price the pack using the highest not average prices. As a business that makes sense to ‘make it happen’ while a consumer may see it differently.

The ingredients list looks to require a 15-16kg parcel depending on how you allow for jars, tins etc.

I guess you need to allow for packaging and the cost of delivery anywhere in your state. The cost is included in the $80.00. Woolies typically charge $15 minimum for home delivery from your local store. The standard home deliver is not parcel postage packed for delivery by comparison.

Are the contents per the list what we would select? No way, in particular if that was going to be our fare for the next month!
If we were post cyclone trapped and need a weeks emergency supplies? I’ve seen worse in ration packs, but not this century.


IE the standard pre discount or specials RRP, which is the same thing.


The pack would certainly change our eating.
We’ll use the flour to make damper to use the jam & soak up the baked beans sauce. Presumably that’ll give us diarrhea, otherwise we wont be able to use up the soap & toilet paper before the next delivery.
Just can’t figure out how to use that much sugar.

Startrack will deliver that size article for a business at a cost of around $15 dollars to most places in Australia.

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Caramel slices, honey comb, fudge, boiled lollies, … or door stop if you don’t have some suitable ingredients to add? The ants will surely appreciate the last option.

Our mum prefers 3 heaped per cup of tea, might also help. Although she is in lockdown in aged care for now. Might need a forth if long life milk is the go to.

So allowing $5 for packaging and a box, a target retail value of $60 for the contents. :thinking:

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My boxes arrived today, a day later than originally stated but this was explained in the tracking information as due to high demand for Australia Post delivery services. Delivery was quick and contactless. Packing was sufficient but not excessive. The contents were a mix of Woollies own brand and known brands, mostly Australian. One of the boxes is quite heavy and may need to be unpacked in place if lugging it would be a problem. I costed the contents using the Woolworths web site and it came to about $70 leaving $10 - 12 to cover postage and handling. Some items in my box are not currently available for general on line purchase so I had to do a bit of estimating. As another poster commented, the contents are not designed for special diets. My mum would have been quite happy with the contents being a fan of tomato soup, wafer biscuits and well sugared tea. I will enjoy the multi grain rolled oats, the tuna and of course the toilet paper and flour.


Hi @cjmhw2, welcome to the community and thahk you for posting information on the Woolworths essential box. Many of us did wonder what was inside and the monetary value of all the products. What you have posted is very informative to others thinking if it is value for money.