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Food Friday: Online Groceries 
25th-Apr-2008 10:59 am
shopping cart
FYI, I'm tremendously sorry for the lag in replying to some of your comments. Lots is getting pushed to the side during this crunch time.

I was talking to drjoan about the rise in prices for food in the US. It's amazing that a 10lb bag of rice used to cost around $8.50, now is heading towards $25. It used to be that grocery shopping when I was back in the US made me despair of UK prices.

Jake noted that in Alabama a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk is around $5, before tax.
Here, for the rough equivalent of a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread, both organic, is $6.96. Yes, that's more, but it's starting to narrow.

An overall grocery shopping trip is still more in the UK, but again, it's narrowing as well.

Our usual modus operandi for groceries is to buy basic veg (cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, etc.) at the Aberdeen Market from the farmer's stand there. Sometimes the eggs come from there as well.

We buy milk, cheese, and yogurt at our local Somerfield.

We're trying to coordinate joining a farm share based in Aberdeenshire. (My schedule has made this difficult recently.)

But, the rest we have delivered via online groceries, usually from Sainsbury's. (Not that Tesco isn't good, so far their delivery people have irked me.)

We stock up on kitchen roll, toilet roll, cat food (wet and dry), kitty litter, tinned veg and soup, frozen sundries, and cleaning supplies.

For Sainsbury's, the delivery fee is £5. Considering the price hikes in bus fare over the last three years (a student day pass when I arrived was £2. It is now £2.30.), paying the delivery charge saves either bus fare for two people (for us both, £5.10) or for two days worth of me going back and forth (£4.60).

There was a grocery delivery service in Chicago as well. I don't remember the name, but I think it had a green pear as a logo. It seemed so decadent to get groceries delivered.

Now, it seems like the normal thing.

Recently, I've had two deliveries in two weeks time. Both were because we were offered £10 vouchers that had expiry dates. But usually, it's a monthly or even bi-monthly thing.

My friend C says that of course online groceries are normal. What's weird is that I bought groceries for Tom online before I moved here. She says it boggles her mind that we managed to 'live together' before we lived together. :)

Online groceries? Any thoughts?
comments 
25th-Apr-2008 10:14 am (UTC)
We have our groceries delivered. We miss Sainsbury's! They were so nice, esp. when compared with the Tesco delivery people we get here in St A! And there organic selection was much better. When we tell friends and family back in the States that our groceries are delivered, they think it's a huge luxury. Of course it is to some degree, but it doesn't really feel that odd or luxurious any more.
25th-Apr-2008 01:11 pm (UTC)
It's still limited to a handful of metropolitan areas in the U.S., because it's hard to make a business of it unless you have lots of customers. A company tried it here in Ithaca last year, but it seems to have vanished.

Amazon sell lots of grocery items as well, though mostly dry goods and packaged foods. I do buy a few things from them, and "subscribe" to a couple of items I buy regularly. As an Amazon Prime member, I then get free second-day shipment, so it's quite reasonable. Unfortunately, too much of what they sell is in bulk packaging, so for example you can't buy a box of cereal. You have to buy a six-pack of boxes.
25th-Apr-2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
Here in Seattle Amazon has been rolling out an "Amazon Fresh" grocery delivery service. I have no idea what their plans are to roll it out elsewhere, but it's made me ponder trying online grocery shopping again--which I haven't done since the height of the dot-com boom when in the west we had both Webvan and HomeGrocer.
25th-Apr-2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I wish Ithaca had more than just amazon.com for grocery deliveries.
25th-Apr-2008 01:05 pm (UTC)
I've never gotten groceries delivered. Between the cost, and the having to be home during a particular window of time, plus my obsessive need to check out (new to me) food products and their kosher status (plus sometimes things change with previously-certified foods), and my preference to pick out my own produce (which I mostly don't get at the supermarket any more, but sometimes fill in from there, depending), it's never seemed appealing. (I know, I'm strange.)
25th-Apr-2008 01:57 pm (UTC)
I'm with you (minus the need to pick kosher). Hassle aside, I kind of actually like to go grocery shopping (although the lines can be annoying sometimes).
25th-Apr-2008 01:51 pm (UTC)
I think if you compare the cost of owning a car with paying to have your groceries delivered it is really not that decadent. $10 for delivery of all your groceries is definitely a small price.

I will gladly do it when I live over there.
25th-Apr-2008 02:47 pm (UTC)
I will agree with this, if I didn't very intentionally live within walking distance of all my grocery stores, I would seriously consider having groceries delivered regularly. As it is that's what I do with my organic produce in the winter, since it's harder to get to the farmer's market on the bus (the one near me is only open May - Nov).
25th-Apr-2008 03:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, grocery delivery, how I love thee!!

I used it faithfully in the UK (Tesco, it was the best for us) and when we moved here I really missed it. It's so much more expensive here (somehow $10-13 seems SO much more expensive than gbp5-6), and I do have a car here, so it didn't seem reasonable. But I recently had a coupon for free delivery so I gave it a try and it was heaven. I am hooked :) I posted one entry about the ordering experience and I keep meaning to post another about the actual delivery, which was prompt (dead in the middle of my 2 hour window) and the quality of the products, which was excellent (and I had even ordered some fruit and veggies to test out their picking process).

I love it ever so much. Here we have two choices I am aware of - Safeway and Amazon Fresh.
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25th-Apr-2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
Sainsburys are SO expensive for most of the stuff I'd buy - my trolley would cost me about twice as much.

25th-Apr-2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
I think in your case, where you don't have a car, and you live at the top of a flight of stairs, it makes sense to get your groceries delivered, saves you hassle of having to carry that many bags of heavy stuff back from the shops, especially if you have a lot of tinned or liquid stuff.

For me, with a car, it wouldn't make as much sense, it's easy for me to load the trolley in the store, dump it in the boot of the car, drive home, reverse up the drive and carry the stuff into the house, minimal effort. I'd definately not like to contemplate trying to get a weekly shop home from tesco/asda to the house.
25th-Apr-2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
I've had Tesco deliver a couple of times and hated the stupid unhelpful drivers and had a row with them over the fact they put a few or sometimes one item in a plstic carrier bag so ended up with a ludicrous number of plastic bags.

We don't have a car so it seemed like a good idea but I kinda like food shopping, but I also discovered with both our crazy changable random working hours we can't plan for meals so we kept having to chuck things out that went off. I prefer to shop almost daily for fresh stuff on the way home from work so it gets eaten and we've dramatically cut down on waste.

I do do a big household items shop every so often to buy things like washing powder and loo paper and heavy non perishables like tinned food and pasta, but haven't even done that in a while after I refused to deal with Tesco anymore!
25th-Apr-2008 06:52 pm (UTC)
We get all our shopping from Abel and Cole (abelandcole.co.uk). They are faultless and we have cut our shopping bill quite substantially by using them. Everything is seasonal. If you fancy grapes out of season, well tough, you can't have them. Plus it stops us picking up stuff we don't need in the supermarket. The delivery drivers are really helpful and if I'm in will bring the boxes into the kitchen for me.

Anything else we need in the week we get from Waitrose.

I'm afraid I wouldn't set foot in a Tesco for a variety of reasons. Or an Asda. And Sainsbury's food is just not very good.
25th-Apr-2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
We use Peapod occasionally. It's very convenient when we're out running around all week and don't have time to shop. We share a login to the website and add to the grocery list while we're at our respective offices.

An organic loaf of bread + 1 gallon of milk here in Connecticut would run me about $9. I wish it was $6.96, but that's barely enough for the gallon of milk!
25th-Apr-2008 09:59 pm (UTC)
want.
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