The coronavirus pandemic has caused Americans to change their spending habits in many ways. Grocery delivery services have always saved time and hassle but now also represent an important way to reduce risk of contracting COVID-19 exposure.
The time saved by using grocery delivery services remains a significant benefit. If you were to assign an appropriate dollar value to the time spent grocery shopping, a delivery service is often actually cheaper than doing it yourself. After all, time and hassle are some of the reasons why Americans are not all growing their own produce.
Here are a few grocery delivery services that can help make life more efficient and keep coronavirus exposure to a minimum:
- Amazon Fresh.
- Amazon’s Prime Pantry.
- Amazon Now.
If you shop for groceries and produce at a variety of stores, Instacart might be a good choice. Instacart delivers from a variety of grocery stores, liquor stores, pharmacies and even from Costco and BJ’s Wholesale. With Instacart, you can get a membership at $99 per year for free delivery on orders of $35 or more. Or forgo the membership and pay $3.99 to $7.99 per delivery. However, Instacart does mark up their products and also charges service fees. Its delivery fee is per store, so it’s best to limit the number of stores from which you order. If all that sounds good, note that Instacart is expanding its geographic coverage, so check its website to see if and when Instacart is available in your area.
Peapod is a little different in that it operates its own warehouses (sometimes in partnership with Giant and Stop & Shop stores) instead of sending shoppers to their favorite stores. Peapod does not require a membership but charges a delivery fee that varies between $6.95 for orders of $100 and more to $9.95 for a $30 order. Also, Peapod has a $30 minimum per order. Peapod offers the additional convenience of meal kits, which is another excellent way of saving time and hassle. Another bonus is that Peapod will deliver alcohol in many locations, provided you have proof-of-age ID.
Amazon Fresh no longer requires a separate fee in addition to a Prime membership, but now requires an “invitation,” which is Amazon’s way to limit usage until fulfillment capacity catches up with demand.
Amazon Fresh’s prices are generally higher than those of traditional grocery chains, but you get free same-day delivery for orders over $35. One downside of Amazon Fresh is that you cannot use traditional brand coupons like at a grocery store. However, you can get Whole Foods store brand 365 products, which are often higher quality than other store-brand products.
Amazon’s Prime Pantry
Prime Pantry no longer requires a separate membership but is available to all Amazon Prime members for no additional fees other than the required Prime membership of $12.99 per month or $119 per year. With that, you pay $5.99 for delivery for orders under $35 and get free delivery on orders of $35 or more. Prime Pantry is limited to household products and dry groceries such as snacks, beverages, beauty and cleaning products. Fresh produce is not available through Prime Pantry. Also Prime Pantry does not offer same-day delivery but ships in pantry boxes using ground shipping for delivery in one to four business days.
Amazon’s Prime Now
Amazon Prime Now is included with the $12.99 per month Amazon Prime membership and offers same-day delivery in select zip codes for a variety of grocery and household products from Amazon and Whole Foods. Prime Now does not allow you schedule a delivery time window but does offer free two-hour delivery of all kinds of products including groceries, household products, toys, electronics and even pet supplies.
If you are still not sure, remember that it costs nothing to try most of these grocery delivery services. If you haven’t already, it is worth experimenting to see how some of the best grocery delivery services can help save you risk, time and hassle and streamline your life.