grocery cartsWhen I was working outside the home, I depended heavily on grocery delivery. It could be aggravating -- I hated that I couldn’t see the weekly produce specials, and if they didn’t have a particular item in stock, I might get a surprise. But for basic staples, it really couldn’t be beat.

Now that my schedule is more flexible, I do the shopping myself, usually with two girls in tow. It’s a hassle, but it means I can see if Trader Joe’s has those dairy-free mochi desserts, and get in on the Whole Foods meat specials, and hit Safeway for toilet paper.

But there are days I dream of the delivery guy magically whisking my purchases up the stairs with no parking, no crying, and no trying to decide which child to put back into the car first. Rumor has it that Walmart is testing out home delivery, so I'm clearly not the only one. So I did a quick, unscientific survey of grocery delivery services. Would one work for you?

Grocery delivery works in two ways: either a local store delivers by truck, or mostly-nonperishable items are shipped by FedEx or UPS. Neither is particularly green, except neither is driving your SUV to the store.

I compared prices on a few staple items that I buy a lot -- your staples may vary. And I may have missed some options! If so, let me know in the comments!


NetGrocer
How Delivered: FedEx
Where Available: Nationwide – cost depends on distance
Can I Get Meat? Nope
How Long Does Delivery Take? 3-7 days
Extra Cost/Fees? Really only makes sense if you’re in the Northeast.
Earth’s Best Stage 2 Jars: $0.95 each
Half Gallon Milk: Weirdly unclear
Arnold/Oroweat Bread: $5.89/loaf

Safeway/Vons
How Delivered: Truck
Where Available: Northern California and scattered other cities (see site)
Can I Get Meat? Yes, including organic
How Long Does Delivery Take? Next-day service is available
Extra Cost/Fees? Vary by delivery time and window.
Earth’s Best Stage 2 Jars: $0.95 each (cheaper in-store)
Half Gallon Milk: $1.99
Arnold/Oroweat Bread: $5.49/loaf (cheaper in-store)

Amazon.com
How Delivered: FedEx
Where Available: Nationwide
Can I Get Meat? Yes, via Omaha Steaks
How Long Does Delivery Take? Can choose next-day shipping
Extra Cost/Fees? Depends on distance, membership, and whether you opt for recurring delivery of certain items.
Earth’s Best Stage 2 Jars: In bulk – comes to $0.88/jar, but 15-30% less if you are in their Subscribe & Save program
Half Gallon Milk: n/a. Can get weird little cartons.
Arnold/Oroweat Bread: Only in two-loaf packs, $24 each (what?!)

Peapod

How Delivered: Truck (from local stores like Stop&Shop)
Where Available: Northeast, Midwest
Can I Get Meat? Yes
How Long Does Delivery Take? Next-day service
Extra Cost/Fees? Fees vary by cost of order.
Earth’s Best Stage 2 Jars: $0.80 each
Half Gallon Milk: $2.39
Arnold/Oroweat Bread: $4.49/loaf

FreshDirect
How Delivered: Truck
Where Available: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut
Can I Get Meat? Yes
How Long Does Delivery Take? Next-day service
Extra Cost/Fees? Fees vary by area
Earth’s Best Stage 2 Jars: $0.79 each
Half Gallon Milk: $2.49
Arnold/Oroweat Bread: $4.39/loaf

YourGrocer.com
How Delivered: Truck
Where Available: New York and Westchester   
Can I Get Meat? Yes
How Long Does Delivery Take? Next-day service
Extra Cost/Fees? Fees vary by cost of order
Earth’s Best Stage 2 Jars: n/a, only Gerber in bulk
Half Gallon Milk: $2.69, but out of stock
Arnold/Oroweat Bread: $3.60, but must buy bulk

PlanetOrganics.com

How Delivered: Truck
Where Available: San Francisco Bay Area
Can I Get Meat? Yes
How Long Does Delivery Take? Recurring -- once a week
Extra Cost/Fees? No
Earth’s Best Stage 2 Jars: n/a (presumably you’re making your own)
Half Gallon Milk: $3.83 (organic, so actually pretty good)
Arnold/Orowheat Bread: n/a

Ever tried home-delivery of groceries? Was it worth the extra cost?


Image via Polycart/Flickr