Tesco has boosted its fresh foods offering with the launch of an online counter service that allows shoppers to buy loose items from its speciality counters through the Tesco website.

A new, dedicated ‘counters’ section on tesco.com offers 218 fresh food lines from the retailer’s five in-store counters - butcher, delicatessen meats, cheese, fishmonger and delicatessen pies, savouries and olives - with products ranging from pork chops to fresh sausage rolls and lamb’s kidneys.

Although some of the other mults already make loose counter products available through their websites - Ocado and Waitrose both offer online counter services and Asda also makes some counter products available online - Tesco is the first of the big four to launch a large-scale online counter service and to highlight it in a separate section of its website. 

Crucially, the new Tesco service allows shoppers to buy online counter items in different weight increments, translating the flexibility offered by in-store counters to online shopping - Cathedral City mature Cheddar, for example, is available in 100g increments through Tesco’s online counter, whereas its smallest pre-pack block is 200g. 

Tesco first trialled the online counters concept in February and then started rolling it out across the country in September. 

A Tesco spokeswoman said the retailer had launched the new counter service in response to customer demand for counter products. “We always listen to our customers, and so both the Tesco counters and dotcom teams really wanted to bring our fantastic counters range to our online shoppers,” she said. Further counter lines would be added to the website in the future, depending on customer demand, she added.

Loose counter products purchased through the Tesco website are packaged in the same way as at in-store counters, with online orders distributed from local stores as well as Tesco’s three London-based online-only stores.