The Best Places to Buy Groceries Online

If you’ve been to a grocery store in the past few weeks, then give yourself a little slap on the wrist, you non-social-distancing-enough person, you! Now, give that smarting slapped spot a little rub, you and I are both being too hard on you — after all, even in the days of the COVID-19 pandemic and the general self-imposed American lockdown, you still have to eat.

order online grocery delivery
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However, getting the groceries you need to feed your family does not mean you need to go to the grocery store, not when there are so many ways to order groceries online. We’re not talking about just bags of chips and boxes of mac and cheese — we’re talking about fresh meats, produce, beer, eggs, cheese, bread, beer, butter, flour, beer, and all the other stuff you usually count on having in your kitchen.

While we’ll be discussing national options for grocery delivery, know that many smaller chains and one-off markets have also set up new ways to get foodstuffs to customers with minimal contact, so call up the local grocer in your town and ask if they have any social distancing protocols in place. Some shops now provide special hours for immune-compromised shoppers, for example, or offer contactless curbside pickup when you order online or by phone. A global pandemic need not curtail the shop-local mentality. (But health and safety come first, folks.)

Walmart

Delivering to your door in 46 states

Walmart will deliver your selected groceries direct to your door in hundreds of cities across almost every state in America, with apologies to folks from Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, and Vermont. They offer just about every food your family could want, with the catch being that in the days of COVID-19, the available delivery slots are snapped up fast. So use a bit of AI to help you: Brandon Warman, co-Founder of Cooklist, an app that helps you shop for groceries at the best price and make meals out of the foods you already have, says the service now offers you a way to be (almost) sure your order gets through. “Cooklist allows you to place an order for groceries from Walmart ahead of when new time slots become available,” he explains. “[The app] will place the order for you in the middle of the night when the new time slots become available to ensure you get an order in before the new slots get booked up.”

Whole Foods Market

Partnered with Amazon, of course

Got an Amazon Prime membership? Of course you do. Then you have access to free grocery delivery from your local Whole Foods Market. Just hop onto Amazon, click the “Whole Foods” tab under the main search bar, and start adding broccoli, flax waffles, kidney beans, chicken and sage sausage, avocados, and … wait, that’s my grocery list. You do your own thing. Shopping for Whole Foods groceries on Amazon is as easy as using Amazon to order anything else. The issue is that delivery windows are hard to find these days, so be ready to load your cart then check in every hour or so, or frankly every few minutes. We recently got a huge delivery, but it meant refreshing the page about a dozen times one early morning until luck struck.

Amazon Fresh

Not strictly Whole Foods Market

Up until late last year, Amazon Fresh cost $14.99 on top of your Prime membership. Now, you can get free Amazon Fresh deliveries provided you’re ordering more than $35 worth of groceries. Which, of course you are. Amazon Fresh shoppers will stick with Whole Foods when they can, but branch out to other markets when Whole Foods isn’t an option, thus offering grocery delivery to more folks around the nation. Delays and tight windows to book delivery are the current norm, so be ready to load your cart then refresh all morning hoping to score a slot.

Target

Same-day delivery with slim pickings

In 2017, Target acquired Shipt, a company that employs thousands of personal shoppers who, in many markets, will go about hand-selecting the groceries you add to your cart and will get everything to you fast, often within the hour. To get started, go to Target, click “Same Day Delivery,” then choose “Grocery” and start browsing. The process is easy, but note that at a cursory glance of the local Target, about half of the fresh produce items were listed as “unavailable or delayed.”

Peapod

Serving the East Coast only, but still

If you live in the American Mid-Atlantic or Northeast, you may well be able to order all of your groceries from Peapod, including booze, meal kits, and plenty of fresh foods. Peapod partners with Stop & Shop, which has more than 400 locations around the northeast, and if you live in range of a Stop & Shop, you can place as large or small a grocery order as you want for just $9.95 per delivery.

Instacart

Partnered with Costco and Sam’s Club even if you’re not

Instacart has teamed up with all sorts of grocery chains, from Aldi to Shop Rite. Better yet, their shoppers can pull foodstuffs from the shelves of places like Sam’s Club and Costco, which require memberships, and deliver you with no membership required. If you get an Instacart membership, you’ll pay $99 per year and get free deliveries. Nonmembers pay as little as $4 per delivery during non-rush times and $10 when demand is high. Note that Instacart tends to add about 3% onto food costs, so those low rates are only part of the story.

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