7 of the Best Places to Buy Groceries Online Right Now

updated Apr 6, 2020
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Right now, we’re hearing that a lot of you either prefer to or need to order your groceries online. Maybe you’re immunocompromised and don’t want to risk leaving the house? Or you have kids at home now and can’t run out? Whatever your reason, there are plenty of online services that can help you — yes, even during these trying times. To make things a little easier for you, we’ve decided to highlight some of our favorite sites.

Here’s where to shop for groceries online and what you need to know about each site during the coronavirus pandemic.

1. Peapod

How it works: Powered by Stop & Shop, Peapod allows in-zone customers on the East Coast to choose between pick-up and delivery (in some cases, only pick-up is an option). It’s pretty darn close to real grocery shopping, in that you’ll find all the usual name brands, dairy, meat, deli stuff, frozen food … really, anything you’d find in a mainstream supermarket. While you can type in what you’re looking for into the search bar, you can browse by aisle, so can still kind of go “up and down” the ones you need, in the spirit of exploration. You can also check out the specials, add coupons, and sort products by price. Note: Peapod has a flat delivery fee of $9.95, but new customers get 60 days of free delivery and you can pay a membership fee for PodPass (from $25 for three months) to get free or discounted delivery, depending on your order size.

Related: I Tested 3 Grocery Delivery Services in 2 Weeks. Here’s How It Went.

Coronavirus update: Depending on where you live, Peapod says pick-up services are temporarily suspended, there could be delays with home delivery, and hours are being adjusted. There is also a contactless delivery option upon request.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

2. Fresh Direct

How it works: Fresh Direct is on par with the number of options and brands compared to Peapod. So again, this option is basically like shopping a mainstream grocery store — just online. In addition to the usual groceries, you can shop by top-rated produce, dishes that are less than 500 calories, new freezer items, and more. You can also take advantage of special deals and add coupons at Fresh Direct. Fresh Direct is limited in terms of where you can find it. It delivers in the New York City; Philadelphia; and Washington, DC, areas, and some others. Delivery fees vary based on location (starting at $5.99), but your order must total $30 or more.

Related: I’ve Been Using FreshDirect for 3 Months — Here’s What I Like and Don’t Like About It

Coronavirus update: “Delivery timeslots are selling out quickly, but we are adding timeslots to accommodate demand,” the website says. “DeliveryPass members may reserve timeslots in advance. Thanks to our direct supplier relationships, we are restocking products constantly. Touchless deliveries are in effect for all orders, please click here for FAQs.”

Credit: Shipt

3. Shipt

How it works: Available in over 260 cities, Shipt delivers fresh produce and home essentials from local grocers as well as popular retailers like Costco, CVS, Target, and Petco. You’ll need a membership to use Shipt, however, and the cost is $14 per month, or $99 per year. A personal shopper will hand-pick each item in your order, sending text updates along the way and letting you add or substitute products in your cart. Note that Shipt’s personalized service might come at a cost and some products could have a slight markup. Delivery is free on orders of $35+, and you can change the delivery address to send groceries to friends and family.

Cornoavirus update: Shipt has paused its in-person hand-off delivery in favor of no-contact delivery. All orders will now automatically default to “Leave my order at my door” on both the Shipt app and website. (Customers can communicate with their shopper if a physical drop-off is required, and the shopper can decide whether to accept the order.) Additionally, Shipt now offers an early delivery option to give customers and shoppers more flexibility.

Credit: Boxed

4. Boxed

How it works: Most of the offerings on Boxed are shelf-stable, but if you go through the Express Grocery channel, (which sends a Boxed Shopper out to do your bidding, assuming you’re in an approved area), you can get seafood, frozen foods, dairy, and the usual. There’s no membership fee to shop Boxed, although you can pay $49 a year to join Boxed Up, which gets you free or discounted shipping (normally $6.99 for orders less than $49) and 2 percent cash rewards.

We love the company’s private-label brand, Prince & Spring, but the most exciting thing to point out is the fact that you can get some of Costco’s private-label goods here too. That’s right — you can shop all sorts of Kirkland Signature items including these adorable cheese flights, the chef-approved organic extra-virgin olive oil, and the famous rotisserie chicken! You’ll pay a little more for these items, but if you don’t have a Costco membership, it’s a good little work-around.

Read more: This Bulk Shopping Website Is Way Better than Costco

Coronavirus update: Due to high demand and product shortages, orders could be delayed for 4 or more days, the website warns. If you’re not out of things yet but will be soon, get your orders in sooner rather than later.

5. AmazonFresh

How it works: Of course Amazon has a grocery delivery option! AmazonFresh is available in most major cities and is newly free for all Prime members. You can shop fresh produce, meat and seafood, organic stuff, prepared meals, local goodies (specific to where you are) and more. Oh, and of course, you can shop Whole Foods Market, specifically. Honestly, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something that’s NOT on the site.

Coronavirus update: Amazon told shoppers that it was delaying deliveries for nonessential items in order to prioritize household staples and medical supplies. Inventory and delivery may be incredibly limited and delayed. There is an option for contactless delivery.

Credit: Instacart

6. Instacart

How it works: Instacart gives you the ability to order from a few different stores at once. (Your options depend on what’s in your area, but examples include CVS, Wegmans, Aldi, and Costco or Sam’s Club — yes, even if you don’t have a membership.) You get a friendly personal shopper who will run your errands and you can choose from pick-up or delivery. Prices are Instacart’s own, though, and are often (but not always) more expensive than they are in the stores. Which means you’ll pay for the convenience.

Related: I Got Costco Groceries Delivered with Instacart — Here’s What It Cost and How It Went

Coronavirus update: Because Instacart shoppers are shopping at the same stores you’d be going to, you should expect things to be out of stock. Instacart has added a no-contact, “Leave at My Door Delivery,” which allows customers to have an order left by their door during a designated time frame. If you need help, the website currently states: “We are currently experiencing higher chat and call volumes. To avoid longer wait times, please try searching our help center.” Which is to be expected.

7. Thrive Market

You have to be a member in order to shop on Thrive Market (think of it as the Costco of the internet), and that’ll cost you $60 for the year. But once you’re in, you can shop all sorts of fun things. There are starter kits for special diets like keto, Whole30Paleo, or gluten-free. While most of the groceries are shelf-stable, you can find a great selection of meat and seafood in bulk. You’ve also gotta try the private-label brand. And if your order totals more than $49, the shipping is free.

Read more: Everything You Need to Know About This Costco-Like Members-Only Site

Coronavirus update: “We are experiencing unusually high order volumes, resulting in shipping delays and product out-of-stocks,” the website says. “If you can wait, consider delaying your order so that we can better serve those members with a critical need at this time.” Read more here.

This post originally appeared on Kitchn. See it here: 6 of the Best Places to Buy Groceries Online Right Now