Ordering groceries online has come a long way since the ill-fated Webvan.com; these days almost every major grocery chain has the option to order online, and some even have a complimentary app as well. From Safeway and Tesco to AmazonFresh and Peapod, there are a variety of services that are bringing food to your front door.
Purchasing groceries online has a lot of benefits: not only can you do it in your pajamas, but you don't have to get the kids dressed, or do it in the rain, or wait for a parking space once you get there. If you use an app or web service for coupons or grocery lists, you can keep your purchasing on track and keep on budget as well. Not only that, but increasingly it's possible to order local or organic produce from smaller grocery sites that cater to specific products, or that only deal with local merchants. We found five sites that are filing the gaps by providing exclusive and unique products and services.
Organic: Vegetarians, vegans and those with dietary restrictions will appreciate the variety of sites that cater to healthy eating such as Door to Door Organics, UrbanOrganic or PlanetOrganics. It should be mentioned that many organic sites work with local farmers and producers to deliver the freshest produce to the surrounding area, so most sites will only cover a specific area. Door to Door Organics, for example, covers Colorado, Kansas City, Chicago, Michigan and a handful of other states while Planet Organics delivers mainly to the Bay Area. In most cases however, the service allows you to select a produce box and set preferences for items you like or dislike, depending on the service the selection can be extensive and include dairy or soy products, herbs and spices, and canned or baked goods. Boxes can be ordered in a variety of sizes and at a range of prices. Check Google for a service in your area.
Direct from Farmers: On a mission to provide households across the country with local food direct from farms, Farmigo delivers to convenient pick up locations. Based around the idea of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), Farmigo is basically an online marketplace where consumers can connect directly with farms and producers in their area. Much like with Groupon, the service requires a minimum number of members; once a number of people in an area have subscribed to the service, the farmer or producer will make the produce available for pick-up at a local drop-off point on a regular schedule. You choose a producer in your area, select the items you want, then sign up for a regular subscription which helps the farmer to plan ahead. Although it does require some planning on your part, it's an ideal service for those who are unable to get to local Farmer's Markets but are dedicated to shopping locally.
Care Packages: Designed by and for college students, MyDormFood has an ample variety of CarePackages to help your son, daughter, cousin, or friend get through the semester. CarePackages are organized via themes like Clean Freak, Exam Time, and Nutrition Nut with each package including a variety of snacks, beverage, cleaning supplies or toiletries. There are options to build your own care package by selecting items individually, however it's worth keeping in mind that the selection is mainly items that college students would select for themselves from the corner store - although there are some vegan, organic and gluten-free options as well. A great help for students who may not have access to a car, and doesn't require struggling with cellophane and a trip to the post office.
Baby Bundles: Anyone who has traveled with a baby knows the task is... generally challenging, especially with the increased airport security over the past several years. Make your life heaps easier and your vacations more fun by ordering supplies ahead of time with BabiesTravelLite, which will ship necessary items to your destination so they are ready and waiting when you arrive with a tired infant. Bundles are organized by themes such as bath time, beach time, or the diaper baby bundle. There are also categories for baby proofing items, travel accessories or health & medicine provisions; the site carries over 1,500 brand name baby products, and can ship to any location that FedEx can find (no service to P.O. Boxes, APOs, or FPOs).
Treats: Do you sometimes find yourself with an intense craving for say... a Moon Pie? Maybe a Frostie Orange Soda? Hit up Hometown Favorites which carries over 2,000 hard to find food products. A nostalgia kick, the site carries all the candies, breakfast foods, snacks, condiments, and soft drinks of your childhood as well as packaged foods and baking supplies. There are also themed gift boxes that contain candy from a particular decade; from Bit O Honey in the 1930's box to the Mamba fruit chews in the 1990's box, it's like being a kid in a candy store all over again.