Grocery Delivery Services are Growing in Popularity

Grocery Delivery Services are Growing in Popularity

American consumers have more options to buy food than ever. Recently, grocery delivery services have taken a page from online take-out websites, multiplying in number and popularity and sparking a trend that has become widely adopted by many working adults.

While some companies exclusively offer shipment of pantry foods and supplies, others tout fresh fare, including the same meats, produce, and dairy available at your local grocery store. Even your local grocery store has likely converted or considered offering neighborhood delivery as they compete to stay ahead of trends. These are some unique offerings of today’s virtual markets:

Subscription Meal Services – Blue Apron, Plated, and Hello Fresh are just a few of the services that plan your weekly or daily meals for you, box the ingredients with refrigerated packs and drop them off at your doorstep. Subscription meal services take the brainwork and time out of planning and shopping so that all you have to do is prepare the meals using their step-by-step manuals, and enjoy.

The downside here is cost, as the services range anywhere from $40-$80 for a few meals. With subscription meals, the boxes only deliver the portions that you need to cook the specified servings. Think, two basil leaves, as opposed to a full container. If the meal is basic like grilled chicken with asparagus, you ultimately are paying more for the convenience, but a more involved meal could be closer to a good deal.

These services often tout “green” values – the pre-measured portions cut down on waste and unused groceries. Many also use recyclable boxes, as well reusable ice packs to stick in your lunch box.

In terms of food choices, most offer vegetarian-only boxes, or allow you to check your food preferences for meals customized to you. With pre-programmed meals, you will sometimes receive meals that you don’t personally like or would ordinarily not choose to make.

Grocery Delivery Services – Ranging from a big company like Amazon Pantry, to the urban pantry service Boxed, to corporate grocer giants PeaPod, FreshDirect, Target and Walmart, it is easier than ever to stock up your pantry with food, cleaning and pet items. With less than a few clicks of your mouse, you can search and find the individual food and supplies you need. Many have a flat delivery fee based on your location, or offer you a pro-rated service based on the volume of goods, such as Amazon Pantry which charges $5 per box with a $100 Amazon Prime membership. These services are extremely convenient (no more lugging 50 lbs. of food back to your house) and competitively priced with local markets. Depending on where you live and the average market prices, FreshDirect and PeaPod can sometimes offer the same name-brand products for dollars cheaper. The downsides are the planning and wait time needed for delivery, which is typically 2-5 days.

Local Grocer – Ask your local market if they deliver. Many offer phone or online orders, and provide a designated delivery window. Local stores need to maintain the same demand levels as before the booming delivery trend, so they are willing to accommodate you as a loyal customer. They also often source local produce that supports the nearby farms.