As Amazon is reportedly shopping around for a new grocery partner, what online grocery delivery services offer the best deals for consumers?
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The top online grocery delivery services differ on availability, deals and service depending on personal needs. FOX Business examined several services and compared them to Consumer Reports, which evaluated AmazonFresh, Amazon Prime Now, FreshDirect, Instacart, Peapod, Shipt, and Walmart for food safety, freshness, packaging quality, and deals in 14 orders tested in New York, New Jersey and California.
Consumer Reports said FreshDirect padded its groceries the most, wrapping bananas in foam and swaddling a jar of pasta sauce in paper straw. Aside from some past-due eggs from Walmart and moldy grapes from Peapod, all orders came within ten minutes of scheduled arrival.
See the list below to choose what service is the best for you.
Instacart, which can be found in 40 states, plus Washington, D.C., is available along with a variety of grocery stores in your area, including drug stores, pet supply stores and, in some areas, liquor stores. Membership costs $149 per year for the service and customers get free delivery for every order over $35. For all other orders and nonmembers, delivery costs between $5.99 and $11.99, plus tip. They do not accept coupons.
Shipt, identified with its spaceship icon, delivers from local grocery stores in the area. They also offer liquor delivery in some locations. The FAQs section of their website says that “members can expect to pay about $5 more using Shipt than they would on a $35 order purchased in the store themselves.”
The service offers a free two-week trial, charging $99 annually or $14 per month for unlimited free delivery. Members-only get free delivery on orders of $35 or more, otherwise, the order is charged an additional $7 delivery fee, plus tip. As of now, they do not accept manufacturer coupons.
Ahold Delhaize grocery stores, which owns Giant and Stop & Shop, monitors Peapod currently found in New England, the mid-Atlantic and the Midwest. Members can expect to pay $119 plus tax for unlimited deliveries for orders of $100 or more. They offer three- and six-month subscription options for $49 and $69 before tax, respectively, for consumers looking for less of a commitment. With the Peapod exclusive PodPass, any orders between $60 and $99.99 have a delivery fee of $7.95 and users are required to order at least $60 to get the delivery service. Peapod also provides discounts for off-peak times. Coupons from manufacturers are accepted.
WALMART and JET.COM
E-commerce company Jet.com, which is owned by Walmart, prides itself on the variety of items it offers, from yogurt to headphones. Jet is primarily focused on urban-based customers, while Walmart reaches suburban and rural customers. For Walmart, curbside pickup (available everywhere but Wyoming, Montana and New England) and delivery options are available with no annual membership fees. They have in-store pricing and a coupon program.
Jet aimed to serve the local and small businesses of the area with regional cheeses, favorite local flavors and craft and premium beers. Customers can choose three-hour scheduled same-day and next-day delivery windows for groceries, everyday essentials and other merchandise.
Delivery masters Postmates have also partnered with Walmart to deliver customers’ goods for Walmart’s Online Grocery Delivery, which has a flat fee of $9.95 and a $30 minimum order with no price markups.
AMAZON PRIME and AMAZONFRESH
AmazonFresh is available in 15 major cities and costs $14.99 per month, above the annual Amazon Prime membership. There are no additional delivery fees for individual AmazonFresh orders over $35. Amazon Prime members get exclusive discounts and including at Whole Foods stores via their app. Amazon said members have saved over $100 million at Whole Foods since last summer. The member discounts in Whole Foods appeared in stores nationwide last year, about 10 months after completing its $13.7 billion acquisition of the grocery chain in 2017.
Fresh Direct has been a New York City staple for over 19 years and is currently available in several New York and New Jersey areas. Prices are comparable to New York City grocery stores and they have partnered with local bakeries and farms to ensure quality and freshness. Annual membership is $129, which includes unlimited deliveries. Outside of the membership, home deliveries within the five boroughs costs $5.99 with a minimum order of $30.
FoodKick is for Fresh Direct’s members craving cookie dough ice cream ASAP for their movie marathon and are willing to pay a few dollars extra. For a minimum of $30, FoodKick will expedite your grocery needs under an hour for an extra $2. For an annual membership or DeliveryPass, you pay $79 for six months or $129 for a year.
For a few items you need immediately, Postmates will deliver your groceries as well. Depending on your zip code, fees start at $1.99 or, for one $95.88 payment, delivery is free and unlimited for the year. Their website boasts that they offer “on-demand delivery from your favorite restaurants & stores in your city with 70 of the top 100 restaurants in the US available on the platform.” They also work to deliver goods to Walmart customers.
As consumers’ lives become busier, the demand for grocery delivery services has increased -- delivery operations, in general, have grown as well.
UPS, for one, has seen major expansion. Their CEO David Abney recently told FOX Business that Amazon and other online businesses have "reinforced" demand for 24-hour shipping services.