I don’t know if anyone will be interested in this post, but it’s been a topic of conversation between me and my friends for a while now, so I thought maybe some of you would be interested too – how I’ve been grocery shopping.
Since I’m taking every pandemic precaution we can here at my house, I haven’t gone to a grocery store since March. After some trial and error, I’ve got a system figured out that works pretty well. I’ve been strictly doing delivery (and not curbside pickup), so I’ve had to work out a way to get what I want and need from stores that offer delivery. The only thing that I really miss is Trader Joe’s – I really, really wish that they offered some sort of delivery service. But on the whole, I’ve figured out the whole grocery delivery thing.
So, here’s how I’ve been grocery shopping the last nine months.
Whole Foods delivery through Prime Now
I wasn’t actually a huge Whole Foods shopper before the pandemic (just because of location/convenience), but it’s quickly become one of my go-to options because of how easy it’s been. As long as you spend $35 (which is not hard to do at Whole Foods), there’s no charge for delivery. I can typically get a delivery either the same day, or the next day – although at prime times (pun intended) it can be a bit more difficult to find an available delivery. Usually, though, if I keep trying back every few hours, something pops up.
I typically use the app to shop, but you can also shop through Amazon’s website directly – there’s a Whole Foods section where you shop your store. Either way, you choose a 2 hour delivery window, and then you get updates while your shopper picks out your items. If they’re out of something, the shopper might suggest an alternative, which you can either choose to accept or not. I’ve even been able to message the shopper and ask for a different replacement, and they’ve been able to make it work. You have to make sure to remember, though, that the shopping might take place a few hours before your delivery window – so if you have an 8 – 10 AM delivery, you might be getting texts at 5 or 6 AM!
In addition to the more standard items (milk, bread, etc.), I’ve found some really fun things that I might have not ever tried otherwise. Their truffle cheese is incredible, and their tiramisu from the bakery is a new favorite. Plus, their deli/prepared food selection is super great for lunches, or when you want a quick dinner (the salmon teriyaki is delicious). I also realized that they sell Jeni’s ice cream, and I order sooo many cartons of salted peanut butter with chocolate flecks in the summer.
As much as I love Whole Foods, they don’t always have the “normal” brands, and they can be more expensive for certain items. So Walmart delivery (from a local store) has been great for those name-brand purchases that Whole Foods doesn’t carry. When using Walmart, you can either pay for delivery each time, or pay $98 per year for free deliveries. My family has opted for the latter, because it was the most cost-effective for us (the yearly fee has already paid for itself in terms of saved delivery charges). There’s a $35 minimum to get the free delivery from your store, but you can get free two-day shipping with no minimum from Walmart online (rather than shopping your store directly).
The available delivery days/times are generally not far away, but not quite as soon as Whole Foods – they’re between a few days to a week away. You can, however, keep adding items to your order after you’ve selected a delivery time, so you can select one ahead of time and then keep filling up your cart. You just need to plan ahead when picking a delivery day and time. Just like Whole Foods, you pick a 2 hour window on the delivery day. You’re also texted/messaged to approve alternatives for items that they’re out of.
Again, you can also shop through the Walmart app or through the desktop website. I don’t think that the app is quite as intuitive as the Prime Now one is – I’ve had to try a few different search terms to find products that I’m looking for. On the plus side, though, they have so many items, and they do have the name brands that Whole Foods doesn’t always carry. I don’t know that I’ve found any new favorites at Walmart like I have at Whole Foods, but I can get the standard items really affordably.
Just like there have been times when it’s been yard to find toilet paper and Lysol wipes, there have been times where it’s been difficult to find cuts of meat through grocery delivery! I don’t know if it’s just where I live, or if this is a thing that’s been happening to others, too, but some weeks were more sold-out than others. So I did some Googling, and found Porter Road, a Nashville-based butcher that actually ships nationally. I was interested and decided that I might as well give it a try.
It hasn’t been as hard to find meat locally anymore, but I still haven’t stopped my Porter Road deliveries! I’m really impressed by the quality of the meat – it has all been really, really good. I’ve been able to make some of my favorite restaurant dishes (short ribs, osso buco) and have them still turn out really well at home! I also tried their beef vs. bacon (ground beef mixed with ground pork belly bacon) and OMG, I’ll never have meatballs made with plain ground beef ever again.
Orders from Porter Road are shipped, obviously, rather than delivered – so you don’t choose a delivery window. They do, however, update you via e-mail so that you know what day and when your order will arrive, and they pack it so that it can safely be outside for a bit after delivered without the meat spoiling. Shipping is free over $100, so when I order I’ll place a large enough order to hit the free shipping minimum and then freeze the meat until I’m ready to eat it. It’s been working out really well, and I’m happy to be able to support a smaller business!
You can use this link to get $15 off your first order of $75 or more from Porter Road!
Honestly, I think grocery delivery is something that I’ll largely continue after the pandemic – I’ve found ways to easily (and accessibly!) get most of what I eat regularly. It took some time to adjust and figure everything out, but overall, it’s actually been a positive change.