The Perks and Pitfalls of Grocery Delivery

by Sandra Rosenbluth

Grocery delivery services have become popular in the last few years, but they may not be for everyone. Here’s the lowdown to help you decide if grocery delivery is right for you.

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Pick your produce with Instacart.

Back in the good old days, getting food delivered meant two things: pizza or Chinese. Now, with companies such as Diningin.com and GrubHub.com, you can get all sorts of fully prepared restaurant meals delivered to your door. This is a great feature for those who are short on time. While trudging to a far-away grocery store, spending time perusing aisles, and lugging bags of produce home by foot can be both a hassle and incredibly time consuming, most Friedman students know the merits of a healthy, home-cooked meal. Fortunately, if you’re willing to shell out a few extra bucks, the answer is out there. It’s grocery delivery.

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 3.29.40 PMSome companies don’t specifically have a delivery fee. Boston Organics delivers a box of local, organic produce once a week on a set day (that is determined by your location, not what works for your schedule). There’s limited control over what goes into Boston Organics’ boxes. While you can specify the proportion of vegetables to fruit you prefer and can put certain items on a permanent “no” list, the box is filled with what’s fresh and local that week. This might mean you have to get creative with your recipes; however, the boxes start at only $24 for a decent number of items, and you don’t have to waste time browsing through and choosing your produce every week.

Amazon Pantry is another delivery service offered free to its Prime members (so not truly free, but part of the benefits package). You can add items to your “pantry” as you need them (no produce), and once you hit $10, the items will ship to you. The things you can buy come at a greatly discounted price, but if you need anything with urgency, you’re out of luck.

imagesThe benefits of grocery delivery do outweigh some of the glaring negatives. It saves time that would otherwise be spent at the store, and you don’t have to deal with the hassle of lugging groceries home. (If you like to drink large amounts of seltzer water or order toilet paper in bulk, this is a serious plus.) Additionally, stores will occasionally send you special deals, like free delivery (Instacart offers free first delivery if over $10 is spent). Price discounts happening in-store at Stop&Shop also apply to Peapod orders, so you can still take advantage of sales.

Whether or not you use grocery delivery really depends on your lifestyle. Having a car likely makes a big difference, as does your proximity to stores. If you have the funds, you should probably try it at least once before making any judgments, especially if there are a lot of bulky or heavy items that you need.

Maybe you’ll find that grocery delivery isn’t for you. Or maybe you’ll realize it’s just what you need to help you make more meals at home.

Goodbye, pizza and Chinese, and hello, home-cooked deliciousness.

Sandra Rosenbluth is a second-year Nutrition Communication student whose favorite season is Fall. She is excited for apple-picking and changing leaves, but not what comes after (aka, icy winds and snow).

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