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While there certainly are worse chores, trips to the supermarket can be time-consuming and stressful. And that’s under normal, everyday circumstances! Now, when we’re all practicing social distancing and in some areas self-quarantine to help stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), going to the grocery store feels even more daunting than usual, especially for anyone over 60.
While there are some restaurants and cafes providing take-out and pick-up, it’s likely that you’ll be cooking multiple meals a day in your home during the next several weeks which means you’ll need plenty of groceries. Luckily, there are a number of grocery delivery services available that enable you to shop for food and beverages and receive your purchased goods without ever leaving the comfort (and safety) of your home.
Grocery Delivery Services and COVID-19
Generally, the process involved in grocery delivery services is pretty straight forward. You sign up for a service that meets your needs, select your groceries through an e-commerce shop, pay online with a credit card or PayPal, and then your groceries arrive at your doorstep during the specified delivered window. So easy!
However, due to the extenuating circumstances related to COVID-19, more people are turning to grocery delivery services for their weekly grocery haul. And as a result, there are disruptions to the usual process. The biggest issue you should be prepared for is a delay in deliveries, sometimes by several days. “We are experiencing very high demand and long customer service waits,” reads a service warning on Fresh Direct’s website.
Additionally, the inventory is low for many suppliers. In an email to existing customers, the team at Imperfect Foods explained that they may see limited inventory in the coming weeks, along with delivery delays.
Companies are also taking the necessary steps to ensure that your food is safe. In addition to stressing that there is no evidence yet to support the transmission of COVID-19 through packaging, Imperfect Foods communicated that their delivery drivers are “equipped with disposable gloves and disinfectant, and have been instructed to use the gloves and discard them after each delivery. Your box will be dropped off at your front door … your driver will avoid ringing doorbells or touching anything other than the box directly.”
Whether you need to turn to a grocery delivery service to stock your fridge without breaking quarantine or you’re looking for a long-term solution for your busy life, there are many promising options serving regions throughout the country.
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Walmart Grocery Delivery
$30 minimum order total, $7.95 – $9.95 order fee
Where to sign up: Walmart
Walmart is known for its inexpensive price tags and huge selection of, well, everything, and that includes groceries! Using their app (iOS, Android) or website, you can shop online and have your goods delivered in select locations, or pick a time that’s convenient for you to swing by and pick up your order. A recent 5-star review reads: “I absolutely love Walmart grocery! You can go online and take your time and get the things you need and make changes within a certain time frame. You can also do price checks. It’s like shopping but from home.” Keep in mind that there’s a $30 minimum for deliveries and pickup, but you can skip the order fee ($7.95 to $9.95) by joining the Delivery Unlimited program for $12.95 per month, which is the way to go if you plan to make more than one order per month.
$35 minimum order total, no delivery fees
Where to sign up: Amazon
ATTN Amazon Prime members! Are you taking advantage of Whole Foods Market delivery service through your Prime membership? You can skip the long lines and the commute to the store, and get your grocery order delivered with Prime (or use their pick-up service and select a time to swing by and get your groceries). From organic produce to ‘Animal Welfare Certified’ meats to fresh flowers and frozen pizzas, you’ll find it all through the Whole Foods grocery delivery service. As a Prime member, you get an extra 10% off sale items, plus access to special weekly deals.
Delivery fees start at $5.99 for non-members. Free delivery on orders $35+ with a $149-yearly membership
Instacart partners with nearby grocery stores you already shop at to bring everyday essentials and other goods right to you. They offer same-day delivery in many cities around the country, and you can join their yearly membership program called Instacart Express. This program gets you free delivery on orders over $35, plus you benefit from reduced service fees and no extra costs during peak delivery hours. So this is worth considering if you plan to use your grocery delivery service often.
Starting at $69 per order, with 30% off your first delivery of $99+
Where to sign up: Hungryroot
For a service that falls somewhere between a standard grocery delivery and a meal kit, check out Hungryroot. You personalize your grocery order each week and they help you turn those ingredients into healthy meals you’ll love through recipe suggestions. Hungryroot believes that eating healthy is personal, and their service is built around the idea that it can be easy and simple to eat healthy and nutritious foods when you have the right ingredients in your home. Plus, there’s no pressure to order every week or sign up for a long period of time — you can skip a week or cancel anytime.
This 5-star review says it all: “Hungryroot is awesome! Convenient, healthy, and delicious. I work multiple jobs and am always on the go, so it’s such a pick-me-up to have nutritious and satisfying meals I can throw together quickly. The versatility is great, too: you receive a few core ingredients like sauces, grains, and pre-cut vegetables, from which you can make a variety of dishes using their suggestions or your own recipes.”
$30 minimum order total
Where to sign up: Fresh Direct
Fresh Direct is a robust online grocer serving the New York City metropolitan area. In addition to delivering to families and individuals, they can handle large orders for businesses and catering events with prepared foods, party platters, and baked goods. As a bonus, they also deliver wine, beer, and spirits. Fresh Direct gets its food and beverage supply directly from the source — cutting out the middleman, so you know more of your money supports local farmers, artisans, and fishermen.
$30 cart minimum in some areas, $4.99 – $5.99 delivery fee
Where to sign up: Imperfect Foods
With a mission to “eliminate food waste and build a better food system for everyone,” Imperfect Foods is a standard grocery delivery service with a twist. They offer ‘imperfect’ but healthy and delicious produce, meat, eggs, dairy, and many affordable pantry items, all of which are up to a 30% discount compared to grocery store prices due to their ‘imperfect’ status. Items get the ‘imperfect’ label and become available through the Imperfect Foods delivery service for a variety of reasons, like surplus/excess inventory, cosmetics, (scarred fruits and vegetables), packaging changes, and more.
Since they offer a variety of discounted organic foods, in addition to non-organic, Imperfect Foods is a great option if you’re looking for a way to buy organic food at a budget-friendly price point. Each week, you’ll get preselected items in your cart based on your dietary preferences, and you can add new items or remove anything you don’t want. Imperfect Foods is one of the companies running a packaging return program to help with recycling. (Note: the program is paused for right now due to COVID-19)
Starting at $22 per week
Where to sign up: Misfits Market
Misfits Market delivery service is similar to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, and members love this food delivery service. One enthusiastic review reads: “I couldn’t possibly love this organic produce sharing, food waste eliminating, healthy options for all startup any more…Weekly meal prep + general menu planning made so much easier.”
Each week you receive a box with mixed fruits and veggies, delivered right to your door. All produce is certified organic and non-GMO, and Misfits Market prices are up to 40% less than grocery store prices. They currently offer two box sizes. The smaller one is called The Mischief, and it includes approximately 10-13 pounds of organic produce, which is best for serving two people each week. The larger box is called The Madness and includes around 18-22 pounds, serving up to five people for a week. While you don’t have the option to customize the items in your delivery each week, you can select to have deliveries once a week or once every two weeks.
Farm to People
Starting at $25, plus $10 off your first order. Free shipping on orders over $50
Where to sign up: Farm to People
Another CSA-type option is Farm to People. Guaranteeing fresh and ethically-sourced foods from across America, this food delivery service is “the farmer’s market delivered.” You have the option to subscribe to one of three farm boxes — small ($25), medium ($35), or large ($45), which are stocked with a rotating selection of fresh fruits and veggies that are picked to order so that no food goes to waste. But you’re able to swap out items you don’t like with ones you’ll love and use. You can also shop groceries a la carte, and pick from an assortment of items that extend beyond produce, like baked goods, seafood, meats, ferments, eggs, and dairy.