I recently tested out a new online grocery ordering and delivery service in my area, mostly because I got a discount through a group coupon and I was curious about how it worked. The service offered organic and health-focused grocery items as well as organic fresh fruits and vegetables. After registering, you simply shop online once a week, or set up a standing order, and your groceries are delivered right to your door.
Pros: The primary advantage to online grocery shopping seems to be convenience. Spud, a west coast based delivery service, suggests that their service also offers huge environmental benefits by reducing grocery store car trips and plastic bag use while expanding the organic market.
With the service I used, the prices seemed to be comparable to your average grocery store. They also had weekly specials and deals. If you order more than the very-easy-to-reach minimum of $32 worth of groceries, delivery is free. So that's some money saved.
Cons: Despite the special, reusable insulated packaging, many of my frozen items had begun to defrost. Also, you either have to be home to receive the delivery or trust your neighbors with your food box sitting outside your door. In my case, that's not a problem but it could be an issue for some.
Having tried it once, I'm not so convinced but then again I'm not trying to shop for a large family whilst holding down a demanding job. Food-geek that I am, I actually enjoy grocery shopping and getting out of the house. I spend too much time staring at my computer screen as it is, so adding on my weekly shopping didn't help.
What I didn't miss: crowded isles made worse by spacey shoppers and piles of to-be-stocked merchandise. But that's another post.
Have you tried out one of these delivery services? Sara Kate tried out Fresh Direct in New York City a little while ago; here's her review.
(Image: Dana Velden)