Stop! Read This Before Food Shopping Online

Posted by: Ellen Schuster, BA, MS on Monday, August 20, 2018

Stop! Read This Before Food Shopping Online

Article originally appears in the August 16, 2018 issue of the SNEB eCommunicator

Think you know about online food shopping? If you think fees, membership dues or speedy delivery are the only factors to consider, read on! (Note: This article doesn’t address meal delivery services, a topic covered previously.)

Overview
>>>Are grocers solving the e-commerce riddle?
Only 2% of grocery sales come from online sources yet there’s a lot of activity. If it seems like every grocery store is going online, here’s a birds-eye view that confirms this. Who will be successful? Customer experience is high on the list.
https://www.fooddive.com/news/grocery--are-grocers-solving-the-e-commerce-riddle-depends-on-whom-you-ask/528005/

>>> From The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Complete Food & Nutrition Guide by Roberta L. Duyff, 2017, 5th Ed, p. 158, the author shares important factors to consider when choosing a grocery delivery option including whether you want to buy nonperishables or fresh food; brand availability; fees - membership or delivery; minimum order requirements; availability of a local grocer offering delivery without a fee; when/where does delivery occur; promotions, discounts or coupons offered. Ms. Duyff also reminds online shoppers to access food labels and the possibility that your search may list more expensive items first before generic, store brands. If you want to order produce, consider buying options that won’t bruise easily such as apples. Finally, an online chat with a dietitian/nutritionist is a nice option to have. (Note, Kroger’s OptUp provides nutrition scores, alternative food options and other functions - more @ https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/kroger-launches-optup-app-300681172.html.)

>>> 13 things you need to know before grocery shopping online
Tips such as making sure there’s good customer service and using a mobile app to place orders.
https://www.rd.com/advice/saving-money/grocery-shop-online/

>>> How to do your grocery shopping online
Step-by-step guide includes finding an option for your locale, making sure the delivery service ships fresh foods to your area, checking your order for accuracy and making sure you aren’t charged fees more than once.
https://www.wikihow.com/Do-Your-Grocery-Shopping-Online

>>>This Unmillenial Life podcast, The Grocery Delivery Episode, 41 min, Season 1, Ep. 37, May 13, 2018: ~10 min in to 34 min in (Instacart, Shipt, PeaPod, WalMart, Amazon Fresh - availability varies by location)
Overview of major grocery delivery options. Notes that many don’t honor manufacturer coupons. Some have limited time free trial periods. What does the future hold? With the popularity of Alexa, more voice ordering. 

Different delivery services
>>>Do on-line grocery stores really deliver?
Based on over 1700 survey results, Consumer Reports looks at customer satisfaction for AmazonFresh, Instacart, PeaPod and FreshDirect.
https://www.consumerreports.org/grocery-stores-supermarkets/do-online-grocers-really-deliver/

>>>Absolutely everything you need to know about online grocery shopping
Cost & availability of Instacart, Google Express, AmazonFresh, PeaPod, Fresh Direct and others.
https://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/how-we-grocery-shop-online-now-article

>>>15 best grocery-delivery services that are worth the money (gallery)
Instacart, AmazonFresh, PeaPod, Vons/Safeway, FreshDirect, Google Express, Costco and more (including some meal delivery services). Cost, delivery area is provided as well as as an assessment if the service is worth it.
https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/food/6-grocery-delivery-services-worth-money/

>>> Shipt 101: 5 things to know about the Target-owned delivery service
One person’s experience includes the observation: ‘prices are typically higher with the app.’ After ordering, the person writing this article went out and bought the same products in a local store and provides a side-by-side price comparison.
https://clark.com/shopping-retail/food-restaurants/shipt-grocery-delivery-kroger-price-comparison/

>>>Top 5 delivery services reviewed 
Instacart, Shipt, PeaPod, WalMart, AmazonFresh - includes geographic availability, fees, prices and coupon policy.
https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/food/best-grocery-delivery-services/

>>>2 New easy ways to shop at Costco without actually going to Costco
Some prices higher than found in the store.
http://time.com/money/4972239/costco-groceries-deals-online-shopping-amazon-whole-foods/

Grocery delivery for low income audiences
Amazon offers Prime membership to Medicaid recipients
Amazon began discounting their Prime membership to Medicaid recipients March 2018. Prime costs $12.99/month, the discount will drop it to $5.99/month and includes free fast shipping and video streaming. This move comes after Amazon began offering discounted memberships to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients last year. Will low income people take advantage of this discount? Amazon says it has been pleased with the response to the discount offered last year to those on SNAP. Barriers to membership include not having a credit card and not having a safe place to deliver packages. More @ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amazon-com-healthcare/amazon-offers-discount-prime-membership-to-medicaid-recipients-idUSKCN1GJ1ZZ

Packaging and the environment
Online grocery shopping: easy for you, maybe not the earth
One professor’s research shows that grocery delivery is better for the environment (less gas emissions) but packaging/waste, well, that’s another story.
https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/16/fashion/online-grocery-shopping-easy-for-you-maybe-not-for-the-earth.html

One last thought...
When food shopping online how easy is it to track shrinking food packages/product downsizing? This is a troubling trend - https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Grocery-Products-Shrinking-in-Size-Prices-Staying-the-Same-450384113.html - and often the price for a smaller food package isn’t reduced. Just think back to when individual yogurt containers were 6 or 8 ounces. Today they are 5.3 ounces or less. When you shop online you don’t see the container or package which makes it harder to alert you that your package has shrunk.