Putting grocery delivery services to the test

February 7, 2013 12:09:02 PM PST
Action News is testing out a new way to get your groceries - having it delivered right to your house.

All you need is a computer or smart phone and you can have someone else do the work for you.

This a tempting solution, especially during the colder months when going out can be a big, time-consuming pain.

The question is how much do these grocery delivery services cost and how well do they perform?

Marie Stopa helped us test services offered by ShopRite, FreshDirect, and Peapod by Giant.

FreshDirect's website allows for the most customization.

You can even choose how thick or thin your deli items and steaks are.

"I think it's easy and the selection is great," Marie said.

When it comes to picking a delivery time, Peapod's times were sold out for up to three days.

FreshDirect and ShopRite can deliver the very next day.

All the delivery workers are friendly and carry Marie's groceries up the stairs right into her kitchen.

Peapod's delivery person even advises Marie to double-check her eggs.

Plus, he and the ShopRite delivery man bring good news: Peapod and ShopRite take manufacturer coupons.

FreshDirect does not yet accept manufacturer coupons, but says it plans to in the next few months.

And FreshDirect does deliver on its name as Marie says FreshDirect's meat, for instance, is the most impressive.

But when it comes to overall product quality and packaging she gives ShopRite top marks.

Marie gives Peapod poor marks for delivering brown bananas.

When Marie called Peapod about the bananas, she did get a refund.

And the company tells us, "Peapod provides 100% customer satisfaction"

But the big question is how about price?

Of the same exact products, ShopRite had 10 of the cheapest, Peapod had four, FreshDirect only two.

For instance, Celeste Frozen Pizza is 99-cents at ShopRite, $1.29 at Peapod and a whopping $2.69 at FreshDirect.

Here's our total bills without using coupons:

With FreshDirect's $7.99 delivery fee and 25-cent fuel surcharge, it's $121.68. Peapod's total with an $8.95 delivery fee and 84-cent fuel surcharge is $102.66. And even though ShopRite has the most expensive delivery fee of $15.95, it's still the cheapest overall at $101.52.

"Big difference for me. As a single mom with four kids, $20 is a big difference," Marie said.

In terms of the sold-out delivery days, Peapod says, "...the surge in demand for delivery due to the extremely cold weather that week impacted slot availability. We continue to work on adding more capacity."

FreshDirect says it "specializes in directly sourcing the highest quality fresh food" Its "mission is to change the way people eat." FreshDirect advises you shop its "What's Good" page where foods are in-season and often at their lowest prices.

And we should mention both Peapod and FreshDirect have incredible deals for first-time customers.

You can get as much as $50 off each of your first two orders with FreshDirect and as much as $20 off your first order with Peapod.

Both stores also have coupon codes you can use to get free delivery for a limited time.

Links/Codes:

Following Coupons for FIRST TIME customers:
Can only use on promo code at a time.

Peapod:

AFFL20 gives you $20 off first order for Philadelphia area customers
FREEFD gives you free delivery for 1st two orders of $100

FreshDirect:

DMMC4 gives you $50 off each of your first two orders with a minimum purchase of $125
AFCN8 gives you $25 off each of your first two orders with a minimum purchase of $99
AFRMN4 gives you free delivery with minimum purchase of $50.. Expires 8/31/13
AFCN5 gives you 15% off your first order

ShopRite from Home

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STATEMENT FROM FRESHDIRECT

"At FreshDirect our mission is to change the way people eat. FreshDirect's vision is to enable busy moms and foodies to get the most out of their lives by sourcing for them the highest quality food and enabling them to spend their time on what's most important."

"Unlike online grocery stores that just pick merchandise from the shelves of their regular stores, FreshDirect.com specializes in directly sourcing the highest quality fresh produce, meats, seafood, and dairy with a focus on exceptional flavor, local and organically grown foods and on sustainability. Our direct relationship with hundreds of farmers and fishermen enables FreshDirect to get the highest quality foods and our direct business model enables our foods to spend less transit time and experience fewer touches from farm to the customer's home."

"Customers can also be sure they're getting value in terms of reliably meeting high quality standards with produce and seafood. FreshDirect's unique 'quality ratings' reflect the daily rating of all items in these categories from one to five stars, allowing customers to know exactly how flavorful the food will be without even seeing it. FreshDirect also lists online the guaranteed freshness dates for dairy."

"FreshDirect makes shopping for value faster and easier than any other online or offline grocery store in two unique ways. FreshDirect lets you take advantage of seasonality. Consumers can conveniently find the very best quality fresh foods and fantastic values at the same time when they shop from FreshDirect's 'What's Good' web page. This is where fresh foods that are in-season and at their peak of flavor are also often at their lowest prices (because this is also when they are the most plentiful). FreshDirect also makes shopping for sale items much easier than at a store by collecting the best deals on the President's Picks and Brand Name Deals web pages."

Coupons: "All-electronic manufacturer coupons are coming to FreshDirect soon so time-starved customer's won't need to waste time clipping for collecting or worrying about expiration dates."

"New customers get unlimited free deliveries for 60 days when they sign up for our trial DeliveryPass service, which only costs one penny."

Regarding the consumer question about our shipping boxes: "We are constantly seeking new ways to make our company more sustainable and to reduce our environmental footprint. But our customers also expect us to take great care to protect their foods from damage and exposure to temperature volatility in shipment. That's why FreshDirect uses boxes that are 100% recyclable and made with more than 85% post-consumer waste, too. Our shipping boxes are manufactured by a company that is certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative? (SFI) program, and the boxes carry the SFI label. The SFI certified sourcing label is proof that the boxes use fiber from responsible and legal sources; they demonstrate our support for improved forestry practices and strong communities across North America."

STATEMENT FROM PEAPOD BY GIANT

"Peapod ? an Ahold USA company ? is the country's leading Internet grocer, serving 24 U.S. markets and offering more than 11,000 popular and store-brand products, from grocery basics to farm-fresh produce; top quality meats and seafood; prepared foods and party trays; deli meats and cheeses, sliced to order; Kosher, organic and specialty foods; office, school and pet supplies."

"We're dedicated to providing the best service to our customers with value prices, thousands of weekly specials and convenient delivery options. Peapod customers can also earn A+ points with the local Giant as well as receive their gas discounts and we double valid manufacturer coupons up to $.99. Our delivery fee is $7.95 for orders greater than $100 ($8.95 for orders $75-100 and $9.95 for orders $60-$75)."

"Peapod provides 100% customer satisfaction. If you are unhappy with your purchase, we will do everything we can to correct the problem."

"Winter is our busiest time and the surge in demand for delivery due to the extremely cold weather that week impacted slot availability. We continue to work on adding more capacity."


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