4 online grocery delivery services that make life easier for New Yorkers — and how their offerings, prices, and promotions compare
- Online grocery delivery services like FreshDirect and Instacart offer product variety and prices comparable to what you'd find at your favorite grocery store, with the added bonus of convenient and affordable delivery.
- Here are their different shopping experiences, promotions and rewards programs offered, and more below.
- Due to the novel coronavirus, many online grocery delivery services may still experience delays fulfilling and shipping orders, as well as low inventory for household essentials, cleaning supplies, and shelf-stable pantry items. Be sure to keep those factors in mind if you're putting in an order.
- Many online grocery delivery services have also updated their policies to reduce social interactions, support the shopper community, and more.
- Read more: The best meal kit delivery services
In New York City, a city of almost 8.4 million people, navigating the crowds to shop fresh produce, packaged foods, and household essentials is harder than you'd imagine — or like.
When everyone else has the same brilliant idea to shop after work or on weekends, grocery shopping in person becomes a major time, energy, and money suck that doesn't seem worth it (and undoubtedly contributes to an uptick in Grubhub and Seamless orders).
NYC is slowly opening back up in the wake of the novel coronavirus, but you may still want to avoid brick-and-mortar grocery stores for fears of overcrowding or low in-store stock.
Enter online grocery delivery services to help us maintain our sanity in a world where we already have enough things on our mind and to check off on our to-do lists. During this time, they also help us maintain distance and unnecessary social contact.
There are a handful of major nationwide grocery delivery services that East Coasters rely on specifically, all with different shopping experiences, delivery-fee structures, and special promotions. Read on to learn which one is best for you.
Here are the 4 best online grocery delivery services in New York City:
Prices and links are accurate as of 9/8/2020. We've updated this post to reflect each service's latest news on stock and delivery availability. Since our last update, Peapod has been integrated into Stop & Shop's website. Previous Peapod users should be able to access their account information and order history in their Stop & Shop account.
FreshDirect: The best balance of value, convenience, variety, and ease of shopping
Note: FreshDirect is giving shoppers the option to donate to NY Common Pantry, whose mission is to reduce hunger and promote dignity, health, and self-sufficiency in New York City's most vulnerable communities. The recent concern over coronavirus has impacted NYCP's volunteer base.
How it works: Create a free account in under a minute, then start shopping and adding items to your cart. The site is organized clearly into different categories, and it makes it easy to create shopping lists and re-order your frequently shopped items.
For a morning or early afternoon delivery (two-hour time slots), you must place your order by 6 p.m. the day before. For a late afternoon or evening delivery (two-hour time slots), you must place your order by 11 p.m. the day before.
FreshDirect also now offers same-day delivery in select New York zip codes if you order by 1 p.m.
- Free to create an account
- $5.99 delivery fee, with a minimum order of $30
Grocery offerings: FreshDirect gets its produce, dairy, and meat straight from the source, but it also carries popular grocery brands such as Pillsbury, Stonyfield Organic, and Boar's Head. You can find everything you normally shop at the store (including alcohol), whether you browse the categories, search exact items directly, or filter by labels like organic, kosher, and top-rated.
- Fuji apple: $1.12 each
- Boneless chicken breast: $4.49/lb
- One dozen large white eggs: $3.49
Special programs and discounts: Chef's Table is FreshDirect's loyalty program. To become a member, you must place 12 orders or spend an average of $500 or more each calendar month during any three-month period. Benefits include preferred delivery access, dedicated service specialists, and exclusive discounts.
DeliveryPass membership gets you unlimited free deliveries. It costs $79 for six months or $129 annually, and if you're a frequent customer, it'll save you on the fees that can add up quickly.
You can also check out the Fresh Deals, coupons, and sale sections to save on products every week.
Stop & Shop (formerly Peapod): The best shopping assistants, rewards programs, and discounts
Note: Since our last update, Peapod has been integrated into Stop & Shop's website. Previous Peapod users should be able to access their account information and order history in their Stop & Shop account.
As of 9/8/20, shoppers may still experience limited delivery time slots and product availability. Stop & Shop has resumed its online pickup service at select locations. Visit the website to find pickup options near you.
For customers ages 60 years and older, Stop & Shop now has designated shopping times of 6:00 a.m.-7:30 a.m. every day. During this time, only members of this age group may shop in the store.
How it works: Create a free account, then start shopping and adding items to your cart. You can browse by aisle and curated categories, or take advantage of features like Express Shop. Express Shop lets you input your grocery list, and then it'll produce results that directly match your list, so you can save time.
There's also a weekly ad you can browse for deals.
- Free to create an account
- Free to pick up orders in select areas
- Free delivery for your first 60 days of orders
- $9.95 delivery fee on orders under $100, with a minimum order of $60
- $6.95 delivery fee on orders of $100 or more
Grocery offerings: Stop & Shop carries a large assortment of your favorite brands as well as its own in-house brands. The organic selection is robust.
- Fuji apple: $0.80/ea
- Boneless chicken breast: $2.99/lb
- One dozen large white eggs: $1.66
Special programs and discounts: Stop & Shop's main rewards program is GO Rewards, which will help you save money on future orders as you spend on groceries. You'll earn one point for every dollar spent on groceries, and the points can be spent on Gas Savings, Grocery Savings, or Special Rewards.
Shoppers can support local schools through the A+ School Rewards program. After registering your Shop & Stop card, you can select up to two schools to earn money from your qualified purchases.
Instacart: The best place to shop local markets and shop as a group
How it works: Instacart brings together local supermarkets on one platform. Create a free account, then choose your store to start shopping. Store availability depends on your zip code, and we saw stores like Costco, Fairway, Whole Foods, Morton Williams, and CVS when we tested different zip codes.
The platform allows you to select back-up items in case the ingredient you want is sold out or unavailable, and you'll have a dedicated shopper who communicates with you via text or app to let you know when items aren't available or when they've been swapped.
Delivery is available in as little as an hour, but you can also schedule it up to a week in advance. Delivery fees may increase during popular times of the week and delivery hours depend on your local store hours.
Instacart is a great grocery delivery option for groups like apartment roommates or families because you can create group carts to shop together.
- Free to create an account
- Delivery fees depend on the size of your order and the delivery time you choose. There is a minimum order amount of $10.
Grocery offerings: The online prices can differ from in-store prices, but you can find each store's policy regarding price adjustments under the store name.
- Fuji apple: Varies by individual store
- Boneless chicken breast: Varies by individual store
- One dozen large white eggs: Varies by individual store
Special programs and discounts: Instacart compiles each store's coupons on to the store page so they're easy to find and use.
Instacart Express is a $99 annual membership for free delivery and reduced service fees on all orders of $35 or more. You can take advantage of a free two-week trial before committing to the program.
AmazonFresh: The best way to get groceries from Whole Foods
How it works: Only Prime members (sign up for a free trial here) are eligible to use Amazon's grocery delivery service. Once you've added AmazonFresh to your account, you can start shopping.
There are two types of delivery available: Attended and Doorstep. Attended Delivery is a one-hour slot where you receive your order in a paper bag, while Doorstep Delivery is a two- to three-hour time slot where your order is dropped off in temperature-controlled totes.
- Free membership with a Prime account
- $9.99 delivery fee on orders under $50
- Free delivery on orders of $50 or more, or $35 or more in select areas
- Free to pick up orders in select areas
Grocery offerings: The biggest advantage of using AmazonFresh is the ability to shop Whole Foods Market produce and prepared foods. If you like the organic and natural options at Whole Foods, it's easy to get them through AmazonFresh. The Local Market category highlights local makers like Maple Hill Creamery, Tate's, and Junior's Cheesecake.
- Fuji apple: $0.76/ea
- Boneless chicken breast: $6/lb
- One dozen large white eggs: $2.79
Special programs and discounts: As of publishing time, first-time customers can get $10 off any order of $35 or more with code "GROCERY10".
Coupons change often and are available across categories in the Fresh Deals section.
If you're looking to buy more groceries online, here are our other recommendations:
- A running list of where to buy groceries online when your local store is out of stock
- The best places to buy groceries online
- Where to buy flour online right now
- Where to buy beef, pork, poultry and more online
- The best places to buy beer online, from local delivery services to monthly subscriptions
- The best places to buy alcohol online now and get it delivered right to your door
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