Get Your Grocery Order Delivered Fresh, Straight to Your Door

article by Nicky Hoseck
April 13, 2020
Over 75% of Americans are under stay-at-home orders due to coronavirus and, for the immuno-compromised, the elderly and the quarantined, grocery stores are effectively off-limits, leaving many looking for alternatives.

Meal delivery services are one option but maybe over-subscribed or not deliver to your area. They can also be more expensive than normal groceries which is why an online grocery shopping delivery service is often a better option.

While those forced to stay at home currently may switch back to traipsing up and down the aisles of their favorite grocery store once the coronavirus subsides, others may be unwilling to give up the benefits of grocery delivery services.

Even if you’re only looking for a temporary solution during this unsettling period, it’s worth finding the right one because you may discover that, once you’ve got a grocery delivery service for lockdown, you’ll want to keep it for life.

Why Not Try a Grocery Delivery Service?

Imagine you could type up your shopping list, send it off into the ether and, an hour later, have all the items on that list delivered to your door? That’s what online grocery shopping delivery is, and you don’t need to imagine because, like coronavirus, it’s already here.

Whether you’re looking for a grocery delivery service to replace your weekly shop or just want a one-off delivery to stock up your pantry, the best grocery delivery services will be able to meet your needs. From specialized services focusing on organic fresh produce, to department store giants like Walmart offering home delivery services for everything from smartphones to new tires for your car.

Online Grocery Shopping Delivery During Coronavirus

With so many people staying at home, some of the big grocery delivery services are struggling to keep up with demand while others are facing disruption of services as their workforce goes on strike. Instacart and Amazon Fresh are two of the biggest grocery delivery services in the US but they rely on in-store shoppers to fulfill online orders and collect the items on each customer’s list.

As the fear of contracting coronavirus soars, these in-store shoppers are “demanded the company provide gloves, hand sanitizers, and disinfectants, hazard pay of $5 per order and an expansion to the current sick-pay policy”.

Their demands are fair but, as employers figure out how to resolve the problems, so their delivery services are taking a serious knock at precisely the time when they’re needed the most.

While some services only deliver to specific areas in the US, others operate nationwide, providing housebound customers with everything from fresh produce to non-perishables like toilet paper and cleaning supplies.

Specialized grocery store delivery services like Farm Fresh to You focus on fresh fruit and vegetables while more general services, like those of Winn-Dixie or Costco, supply everything you would find in a grocery store, including over the counter pharmaceuticals.

Many grocery delivery services are limited in terms of either the products they can supply or the locations they can deliver to. Peapod, for instance, pulled out of the MidWest last month for logistical reasons but has expanded its service over the years to include 13 states, although it remains primarily focused on New York, New Jersey, and New England.

Although meal kit delivery services are usually happy to leave your products on the doorstep, grocery delivery services don’t have the same refrigerated packaging to keep perishable goods fresh, so you need to be at home when the delivery is made. That’s not a major issue at present but may become one if you decide to continue using a grocery delivery service after the lockdown is over.

Because only special delivery trucks can be used to transport fresh produce, as the demand for grocery deliveries increases, so many companies are struggling to get their hands on enough trucks (and truck drivers, for that matter).

Even the best grocery delivery services are struggling so you may well experience one or two bumps in the road when you first attempt some online grocery shopping. Big companies like Target have limited items in stock, while others are struggling to keep their websites up and running as traffic increases

There are reliable options out there, however, and we’ve tried to find a few lesser-known services that can still take on new customers and accept new orders. You may have to wait a week or two for your goods to arrive, however, as most services are too booked up to provide quick delivery services.

The Benefits of Grocery Delivery Services

Anyone who’s ever been ill or injured will understand how challenging stocking the pantry can be if you can’t physically get to a grocery store. The coronavirus and subsequent lockdown have left many scouring the internet for grocery delivery services who wouldn’t normally need or use one.

Once the pandemic is over, however, some of those users may be unwilling to return to their previous grocery shopping habits, having discovered the benefits of having your weekly shop delivered to your door.

For one, you won’t have to drive to the grocery store every week, negotiating the traffic jams and coughing up for parking. By avoiding the grocery store, you’ll also avoid the unhealthy and costly temptations of those pesky processed foods that are as bad for your budget as they are for your health.

Many grocery stores offer discounts to those shopping online so using their delivery services can save you money as well as time. Using a service like Farm Fresh to You also takes away the challenges involved with trying to track down organic produce. Although organic and sustainable produce is becoming more popular, in some areas, it is still difficult to find, especially at the moment, when farmers are scrambling to meet the demand.

If you find it difficult to get out and about at the best of times, you can reduce that stress by using a grocery delivery service. Similarly, if you’re stuck at home because a broken ankle has left you temporarily incapacitated, don’t forget that there are grocery delivery services that can make your life easier.

The Best Online Grocery Delivery Services

#1 Peapod

Peapod is still going strong despite the added pressures caused by the coronavirus and is one of the few services with a nearly complete range of products valuable, including essentials like bread and milk, convenient, healthy meal kits, and luxury items like pastries and wine.

Don’t expect to get a delivery date any time soon, however, as the waiting list is longer than usual with most customers waiting at least eight days for a slot and many areas with no more delivery dates left available for the next two weeks.

One of the benefits of using Peapod grocery delivery during the coronavirus is that they provide a relatively unique “climate-controlled delivery and white glove service”. It also has contactless delivery services that are perfect for those who are in quarantine or who are trying their utmost to avoid infection.

One of the perks of Peapod grocery delivery is that you can browse the aisles virtually much as you would do in a physical grocery store, so you can compare prices, assess different brands, and decide exactly which cuts of meat look the most tempting.

Although Peapod’s service is excellent and its produce affordable, its delivery fees are a hefty $9.95 per order, although you can save around $3 by agreeing to a larger time window. In other words, if you don’t mind sitting at home for three hours or more, waiting for your delivery, you can get a discounted rate which, at present, it’s perfectly feasible as nearly all of us are under strict instructions to stay at home.

Aside from the high delivery fees, Peapod is an excellent grocery delivery service, with a wide range of competitively priced products, user-friendly apps, and, under normal circumstances, reliable next-day deliveries.

#2 Winn Dixie

Based in Florida, Winn-Dixie offers an easy way for users to order online and can deliver in as little as one hour. Nor only does Winn-Dixie have a wide range of fresh staple foods like bread, fruit, vegetables, for users in Florida, it will even deliver alcohol as well so you can treat yourself to a special meal complemented by a celebratory glass of wine at the weekend.

With Winn-Dixie, users can specify their preferences with regards to fresh produce and communicate with their designated shopper via the company’s user-friendly mobile apps. If an item on your list isn’t in stock, your shopper will suggest alternative items that are. You can also look over your shopper’s shoulder when in the fresh produce section to make sure you get that bunch of bananas that has a combination of ripe and not so ripe fruits, for example.

There are few things Winn-Dixie can’t deliver, although prescription medicines aren’t available for home delivery and nor are lottery or gift cards, tobacco products, or propane tanks.

The only downside of Winn-Dixie is that users must commit to a monthly or yearly subscription, so if you want a one-off service, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for an ongoing online grocery delivery service, however, Winn-Dixie is an excellent choice, although it probably won’t save you a great deal of money.

Winn-Dixie’s subscription fees are pretty hefty, with an annual subscription costing $8.25 per month, and a monthly one, $14. Delivery is free for some customers, like Shipt and Instacart Express members, but even then, only on orders worth $35 or more. Those wanting to place a smaller order must budget an additional $7 for delivery fees.

Although Winn-Dixie isn’t nationwide just yet, it does deliver to the south-eastern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi. For those in these states, Winn-Dixie is a slick and reliable service that will deliver all your necessities to the door. It doesn’t even need to be necessities – you throw yourself a stay-at-home party with treats from its well-stocked deli department and a bottle of wine thrown in for good measure.

#3 Farm Fresh to You

This home delivery service specializes in fresh, organic fruit and vegetables, while also supplying additional farm produce, like pasture-raised eggs and dairy products, honey, hand-crafted preserves, and honey. It’s a great way to make sure all the fresh produce you eat is of the highest quality and from certified organic sources.

Farm Fresh to You caters for all sizes of households and offers three different sizes of farm boxes while giving users six choices of what comes in those weekly boxes. You could choose the no-cooking option which will see a variety of fruit and “fast, easy-to-prepare vegetables” delivered to your door each week.

Other options include:

  • Traditional CSA – this box contains products from the founders’ farm, Capay Organic, and neighboring partner farms only, giving you a locally sourced seasonal mix of fresh produce
  • Mixed fruit and veggie – this is Farm Fresh to You’s most popular box, containing a range of vegetables suitable for cooking up a meat-free storm several times a week, and plenty of fruit to keep your energy up in between meals
  • Veggie only – designed to meet the needs of juicing enthusiasts and those with a flair for cooking who want a variety of flavors and nutrients to spice up their meals
  • Fruit only – a delicious selection of juicy organic fruit for bakers, juicers, and those wanting a stash of healthy snacks to enjoy during the week

Farm Fresh to You’s weekly boxes start at $27.50 for a small one, which contains enough fresh produce for two people, up to around $60 for a monster box that’s packed with nearly 20 different fruits and vegetables and can feed six to eight people.

Although pricey and highly specialized, for those of you on a health kick or who want to give your immune system a natural boost, Farm Fresh to You has got it covered. Farm Fresh to You is easy to use and has quality products to offer, but its delivery areas are limited to regions within easy reach of its suppliers, like Arizona, California, and Oregon.

#4 Costco

This nationwide grocery delivery service uses another nationwide delivery service to, well, deliver its service. Costco Grocery is an online service that uses Instacart’s personal shoppers and delivery trucks to fulfill customers’ same-day delivery orders, while its two-day and standard deliveries are handled in-house.

Given the current demand, there’s little point in paying extra for same-day delivery as Costco Grocery’s website states that same-day deliveries are now taking up to five days, and two-day deliveries between five and six.

To access all the benefits, goods, and discounts from Costco Grocery, you first must become a member of the service which is easily done via its website. Standard membership costs just $60 annually, while the executive level is double that but gives its members an annual 2% reward off everything they spend with the service.

If you prefer, you can shop as a non-member, but this will mean you can’t access member-only items nor enjoy the special offers and discounts available to members.  You’ll also find the overall cost increases as you pay for extras like service and delivery fees, which are included for members.

While Costco Grocery doesn’t have the prettiest of sites, especially not compared to likes of Farm Fresh to You, it does the job, just don’t expect any virtual aisle browsing! You can shop by category so it’s simple enough and, when you find a product you want, just add it to your shopping cart with a click of your mouse.

Costco Grocery is more flexible than either Peapod or Farm Fresh to You, and you can use it as a once-off service to stock up on non-perishables, dried and canned foodstuffs as easily as you can use it as your main source of fresh weekly produce.

Although some items are currently limited to just one per user, few of Costco’s virtual shelves are empty, unlike some of the country’s grocery stores, many of which have been stripped of staples ranging from bread and milk to meat and toilet paper”.

While delivery is free for orders over $35, Costco Grocery adds a decent percentage onto each item so, instead of paying $14 for a pack of 12 paper towels, you’ll probably end up paying closer to $20.

Nevertheless, given the convenience of having everything delivered to your door, paying that little extra still gives you good value for money and means you can shop without fueling the spread of the coronavirus.

Conclusion

As more states issue stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus outbreak, so more people are turning to cyberspace for their grocery shopping, socializing, and even for virtual fitness classes. Although many grocery delivery services are struggling to meet the needs of America at this difficult time, the best are courageously carrying on.

Well-known grocery delivery services like Instacart and Amazon Fresh have been completely overwhelmed by the pressure resulting from this unprecedented health crisis, leaving lesser-known companies picking up the pieces.

According to the editor of SupermarketGuru.com, Phil Lempert, says the industry’s inability to keep up with demand “has pointed out that there’s a frailty to [grocery] delivery [services]. It can handle 3% or 4% of the nation’s groceries, but if we double, triple, quadruple that, it just doesn’t work”. Given that statistics suggest a 50% increase in the number of Americans using online grocery delivery services over the past month, it’s hardly surprising the industry is struggling.

A couple of weeks ago, Amazon Fresh posted a banner on its site, warning customers that, “Inventory and delivery may be temporarily unavailable due to increased demand” – a warning that prompted some of its customers to turn to social media platforms to vent their frustrations.

In the meantime, the likes of Peapod and Winn-Dixie are capitalizing on the demand for grocery delivery services and working hard to earn their respective corners of the market. Grocery delivery services may be struggling, but, if you’re willing to wait, exhibit a bit of patience, and shop around – if you’ll excuse the pun – you’ll be able to find the best grocery delivery service to meet your needs, both during the coronavirus outbreak and, potentially, after its all over.