ContributorsPublishersAdvertisers

The 5 best places to order groceries online in 2022

Insider
Insider
 2022-01-25

Prices are accurate at the time of publication.

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4Th1ZW_0dvXpy9v00

Online grocery shopping is an incredibly convenient way to shop while avoiding crowded aisles and rogue shopping carts in the parking lot. Though it's not for those who want to pick their own fruit or get the double coupon discount on pasta, shopping for your groceries online is a great way to save time if you're willing to relinquish some control.

Of course, you should expect to pay a bit more than you would if you shopped yourself. Most online grocery stores and delivery programs include subscription costs, delivery fees, and the option to tip your shopper or driver — which we suggest you do. Some services have steeper fees than others, but all are convenient ways to get what you need.

In our guide to the best online grocery stores, we break down all the costs, how the services work, and more, to ensure your produce and pantry items arrive fresh and in a timely manner. Learn more about how Insider Reviews tests and researches kitchen products and services .

Here are the best places to order groceries online in 2022

Best for shopping local: Instacart
Instacart partners with local grocery and convenience stores in your area, doesn't require a membership to shop, and is available in most zip codes throughout the country.

Best for bulk items: Boxed
Boxed delivers bulk items at discount prices without a membership fee and the delivery fee is waived for all orders over $49.

Best on a budget: Walmart
You can get the same low prices with Walmart Grocery as you've come to expect with the big-box store.

Best for Amazon Prime members: Amazon Fresh
Access to AmazonFresh is included with your Prime membership, and you'll get free delivery on grocery orders over $50.

Best for organic groceries: Thrive Market
If you prefer organic, Thrive Market has a huge selection of fresh produce, dry goods, and more.

Best for shopping local
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4Ra1qx_0dvXpy9v00
$3.99 FROM INSTACART


Instacart partners with local grocery and convenience stores in your area, doesn't require a membership to shop, and is available in most zip codes throughout the country.

  • Delivery fees: $3.99 for same-day delivery on orders over $35; can be $5.99-$9.99 for popular delivery time slots
  • Other possible fees: Heavy item, alcohol, service, pickup
  • Premium membership option: Instacart Express ($99/yr) gets you unlimited free delivery for all orders over $35 and lower service fees
  • Contactless delivery available: Yes, leave at door
  • Accepts EBT: EBT cards are accepted at participating Aldi and Food Lion stores; EBT cash is not accepted

Pros: Shop via your local grocery store, no membership required, most widely available grocery delivery service

Cons: 5% service fee, delivery fees go up at more popular times

Instacart is the industry leader in grocery delivery, serving 85% of households in the United States and 70% in Canada. Its far reach is due to its strategy of partnering with local grocery stores for distribution, so you can shop local and get the food you need from the stores you already trust and patronize.

To start shopping, you simply enter your zip code and your email address. From there, you select the store you want to shop from — I had 29 options to shop from in my Brooklyn neighborhood including Fairway, Shop Rite, and even non-grocery stores like Petco, CVS, Walgreens, and Target.

You can browse through the store's offerings based on categories like produce, snacks, drinks, etc., or you can search for the item you want using the search bar at the top of the page. If an item is low in stock, you can authorize a replacement product if your shopper can't get their hands on the original item. You can also choose to not replace it, and the cost of the missing item will be deducted from your bill.

With Instacart , your order will be handled by one of their shoppers who goes to the store, shops for your items, and then delivers them to you rather than being fulfilled at a warehouse and then shipped to you via a postal service, so you can expect a bit more care to be taken with your fruits and vegetables.

You can get your groceries delivered in as little as an hour or you can schedule them to be delivered to you up to a week in advance. The more immediate slots often have higher delivery fees, so it might be smart to plan ahead and save a couple of bucks.

It's highly suggested that you tip your shopper for their service. If you're putting in a big order and you pick a slot with a low delivery fee, the additional cost will likely be worth it, but it can be hard to justify the extra dollars on small orders.

Read our full review of Instacart here.

Best for bulk items
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3zXhyI_0dvXpy9v00
$6.99 FROM BOXED


Boxed delivers bulk items at discount prices without a membership fee and the delivery fee is waived for all orders over $49.

  • Delivery fees: $6.99 on orders under $49, free on orders over $49
  • Other possible fees: None
  • Premium membership option: Boxed Up ($49/yr) gets you free shipping on orders over $20, cashback rewards, and exclusive discounts
  • Contactless delivery available: Yes, leave at door
  • Accepts EBT: No

Pros: No membership required, prices match or beat big-box bulk stores like Costco

Cons: Doesn't sell perishable items like produce

When you think of bulk grocery shopping, big-box membership-oriented stores like Costco or Sam's Club probably come to mind. But if you're looking to buy in bulk, save while doing it, and avoid membership fees, Boxed is here to make that a reality.

You'll find all your favorite brands in oversized quantities at wholesale prices. Its private brand, Prince & Spring, also offers household essentials for excellent value and quality.

Insider Reviews freelancer Holly Johnson used Boxed to order staples for her family, and she was thrilled to find such low prices. She wrote, "Using Boxed for bulk supplies lets me keep my grocery orders to a minimum while getting good prices on the staples my family loves. I know because I have taken the time to compare pricing for bulk purchases at Costco and Amazon, and Boxed is comparable or better most of the time."

Small and handy perks, including free samples with your order, a group ordering feature, and a convenient reorder feature, also make shopping easier. Be on the lookout for frequent coupon deals.

Keep in mind that Boxed only sells non-perishables at this time.

Read our full Boxed review.

Best on a budget
$9.94 FROM WALMART


You can get the same low prices with Walmart Grocery as you've come to expect with the big-box store.

  • Delivery fees: $9.95 on all orders
  • Other possible fees: None
  • Premium membership option: Walmart Plus ($98/yr) gets you free delivery on orders over $35
  • Contactless delivery available: Yes, leave at door
  • Accepts EBT: Yes on pickup orders

Pros: Prices are the same as in-store, no service fees beyond the $9.95 delivery, free pick-up option, free delivery for Walmart+ members

Cons: Can only schedule for same-day or next-day delivery, can't see delivery availability until after you fill your cart

While many grocery delivery services charge a premium on products, Walmart's prices remain consistent whether you're buying in-store or online for delivery or pick-up, making it the most budget-friendly choice for grocery delivery.

Through Walmart Grocery's online portal or mobile app, you can search for and select groceries from all aisles of the supermarket, from dry goods to frozen pizza to milk, eggs, and produce. A Walmart employee will go through the store and put your order together for you, scanning each item as they go to ensure you get everything you paid for.

Upon checking out, you'll select whether you want to pick up your order from a local store or have it delivered to your home. If you select pick-up, you'll head to the Walmart location you select and pick up your order at whatever time you choose. There's no additional fee to pick up your groceries, so you'll just pay for the items themselves. It's also encouraged to tip your delivery person, but it is not required.

You can choose one-hour time slots for delivery on your desired day. If you need your order within two hours, there's an Express option at checkout for select stores.

Read our comparison of Amazon Prime and Walmart+ here.

Best for Amazon Prime members
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2eVq8J_0dvXpy9v00
$0.00 FROM AMAZON


Access to AmazonFresh is included with your Prime membership, and you'll get free delivery on grocery orders over $50.

  • Delivery fees: Free on orders over $50
  • Other possible fees: None
  • Premium membership option: None
  • Contactless delivery available: Yes, leave at door
  • Accepts EBT: Yes, and a Prime membership isn't required

Pros: Free access with Amazon Prime membership , free delivery over $50, Whole Foods 365 products available, can order through Alexa

Cons: Must be a Prime member to order

Not to be confused with Prime Pantry where you can bundle non-perishables and household goods in order to qualify for Prime shipping, AmazonFresh is a standalone service and Amazon's answer to the digital grocery stores like Walmart Grocery and Instacart. Unlike Prime Pantry, AmazonFresh allows you to order produce, dairy, meats, and other perishable items on top of pantry staples and dry goods.

You'll have to be a Prime member to access AmazonFresh , so if you're not already paying the $119 annual fee for Prime, you might be better off checking out the other grocery delivery services in our guide. You can also sign up for a free 30-day trial to take advantage of AmazonFresh as well as more than 20 other benefits.

If you're a current Prime member, AmazonFresh is by far the most affordable way to get groceries delivered.

The interface looks exactly like you're shopping on Amazon — because you are. Scroll through carousels of categories like produce, meat, and snacks, or use the search bar at the top of the page to find exactly what you're looking for. Each item has a quick-add button that places the item right in your card. Because Amazon owns Whole Foods, you'll also be able to order Whole Foods' 365 brand from AmazonFresh .

Though you can opt for contactless, unattended delivery, there's also the option for attended delivery, which lets you receive your items directly from your delivery person. If you order any alcohol, you'll have to select attended delivery so they can verify your age with an ID.

Best for organic groceries
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0U3jF8_0dvXpy9v00
$9.94 FROM THRIVE MARKET


If you prefer organic, Thrive Market has a huge selection of fresh produce, dry goods, and more.

  • Delivery fees: Free on orders over $49
  • Other possible fees: None
  • Premium membership option: The service itself is a membership
  • Contactless delivery available: Yes, leave at door
  • Accepts EBT: Not currently, but you can apply for a free membership

Pros: Makes it easy to shop according to diet, makes natural and organic foods more accessible

Cons: Membership required, no perishable foods available

Thrive Market is the only grocery delivery service in our guide that requires a membership to shop — $60 for the year or $9.95 for a monthly membership — but the service guarantees you'll save enough to make up the cost. If you don't save $60 in a year, they'll credit the difference towards your next year of membership. Orders under $49 have a $5.95 shipping cost.

Thrive Market is so confident because it sells natural and organic products at wholesale prices — an average of 25 to 50% cheaper than what you'd find in stores. When you sign up for a membership, you'll take a short quiz that helps Thrive Market determine your shopping preferences, and from there it will begin to curate a selection of products it thinks you'll enjoy. They can be found in the "My Aisle" section of the site, or you can search and shop for the things you usually enjoy, though you won't find brands like Doritos or Coca-Cola on these virtual shelves.

Thrive Market is great for those with dietary preferences. You can sort and shop according to diets like keto, paleo, and vegan, so you don't have to worry about looking up the ingredients of every new product you might want to try.

Senior reporter Mara Leighton tried Thrive Market and was impressed by its mission to close the gap between organic foods and their traditionally high costs. She wrote, "If you spend a lot of time researching/want to eat healthy foods, have a dedicated diet or food restrictions, or consistently buy organic or non-GMO foods online, you'll likely find at least a few compelling benefits to Thrive Market ."

One major downside is the inability to shop for fresh produce and other perishables. Your grocery box is packed and shipped through the mail, unlike other grocery delivery services that hand-deliver your goods. The exception here is that you can buy boxes of meat for shipment, but only in large quantities such as six cuts of beef, chicken, or seafood. You can also buy whole turkeys or hams. If you do buy meat, it'll ship frozen and separately from your nonperishables.

If you're looking for healthy snacks and pantry staples, want to discover new brands you haven't tried before, or want to shop according to a diet without having to worry about accidentally buying foods you can't actually eat, Thrive Market is a great way to do that.

Thrive Market helps your dollar stretch further on natural and healthy foods, especially considering these products tend to have a higher markup at normal grocery stores.

Read our full review of Thrive Market here.

What else we considered
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=16dzL4_0dvXpy9v00

FreshDirect: I've used FreshDirect on and off for the past few years, and I've always been happy with their user interface, product selection, and customer service. For next-day delivery, you'll have to order by either 6 p.m. or 11 p.m. the night before, depending on the time slot you select, but you can also schedule a delivery up to a week out. There's a flat $5.99 delivery fee on all orders unless you sign up for DeliveryPass which entitles you to unlimited free delivery. A 6-month DeliveryPass, which costs $79, gets you free delivery and allows you to reserve delivery timeslots in advance. There's also a $39 option to access free delivery and reserved timeslots from Tuesday to Thursday.

FreshDirect didn't make our top picks because of how geographically limited the service is. It's only available in certain areas of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, and Washington, DC.

Here's our full review of FreshDirect .

Misfits Market: Senior reporter Connie Chen tried out Misfits Market — a convenient source for non-GMO and organic produce. Misfits sells produce that has cosmetic imperfections and would have otherwise gone to waste. Stock fluctuates based on seasonality and location, so we recommend ordering early in the available window because items may sell out quickly.  You can choose the day of your delivery and easily change the date or cancel a shipment.

This service doesn't ship to California, a big reason why it isn't in our top picks. However, the produce was fresh, delicious, and affordable, so it deserves an honorable mention.

Read our full review of Misfits Market here.

Peapod: The service formerly known as Peapod now has you shopping directly from the Martin's, Stop & Shop, and Giant websites. Choose the local store closest to your region, and then sign in with your Peapod account information, which will let you access your past orders and rewards points. Each store has slightly different service fees, so check directly with your preferred store.

It was once again geographic limitations that kept Peapod out of our top picks, as it's only available only in the Northeast.

Shipt: Shipt and Instacart are very similar. Both services are widely available geographically and allow you to shop from local stores with the help of a personal shopper who will pick up and deliver your goods. Unlike Instacart, Shipt requires a membership to shop — $99 annually, or $14 a month. It also partners with fewer grocery stores than Instacart, which is why it loses out to Instacart for the best place to buy groceries online from your local stores.

Costco: Costco has long been the go-to store for bulk shopping, and you don't have to be a member to shop its offerings online. Non-members are subject to some fees that members can avoid like a $3 delivery fee for orders over $75 and up to $15 on orders under $75. There's also a 5% non-member surcharge on all orders.

One major downside to shopping at Costco online is that they really only sell non-perishables and household goods like paper and cleaning products. Boxed is similar to Costco in that it offers bulk items at prices comparable to Costco — no membership required and no surcharges. Boxed also offers perishable items, so it's a better one-stop shop than Costco.

More places to shop for groceries and pantry staples online
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1XR1Jt_0dvXpy9v00
Read the original article on Insider

Comments / 0

Comments / 0