During the current COVID-19 pandemic, grocery delivery services have become a necessity for more and more Atlantans. Demand for delivery services has increased and you may experience longer wait times and limited availability for certain items, so be sure to plan ahead. Some retailers are also offering temporary curbside pickup; check their websites for details.

Note: The FDA says there is no evidence of food, food containers or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19, but it is still good to take precautions like washing your hands after handling and removing food from its packaging. You can also wipe down your groceries. Be sure to wipe down counters or surfaces used for unloading groceries. When it comes to produce, the FDA also has tips on how best to wash them.

Instacart

Instacart allows you to shop for groceries from a wide selection of stores, which are then delivered the same day by personal shoppers. Use the app to create a free account, shop for groceries and schedule a delivery time. Kroger, Publix, Aldi, Sprouts, Costco and the Fresh Market are among the stores Instacart serves.
Cost: The price of groceries plus a delivery fee. Delivery fees start at $3.99 (with a minimum $35 order) and increase during peak times. A variable service fee (starting at 5%) also applies. An Instacart Express annual membership is $99 and includes free delivery on orders of $35 or more.
Our Take: Instacart has one of the largest selections of store options. The tipping can be confusing because there is an optional 10 percent service fee for shoppers working in the store as well as a tip option for the driver delivering your order.

Shipt

Shipt sends personal shoppers to hand-pick the items you put on your list from area grocery stores. Purchase a membership plan, and through the Shipt app, choose your items, pay for them and schedule a delivery. Delivery is available locally from retailers such as Target, Kroger, Costco and Publix.
Cost: A Shipt annual membership is $99 and includes free delivery for orders over $35. Orders under $35 have a $7 delivery fee. Shipt does not utilize surge pricing, even for deliveries during peak times. Tipping is optional.
Our Take: The app is very user-friendly. When ordering groceries, it allows you to view recipes and the list of ingredients to make them. Be aware that some retailers add a service fee to the product prices listed.

Walmart Grocery Pick Up and Delivery

Walmart offers same-day pick up and delivery. Create a free Walmart account online or download the app, place an order and choose a time slot for pick up. Check in when you get close  the app tracks your location so the order will be ready when you arrive. Walmart also offers grocery delivery service
Cost: For pick-up orders, you pay only the price of the groceries. For deliveries, the fee varies based on the time slot you choose. The fee for your order is shown at checkout. Annual membership is $98 or $12.95 monthly; members get free delivery for orders over $35 (check online to see if your address qualifies).
Our Take: For grocery pickup, make sure to check in on the app so that your groceries will be ready when you arrive. If an item on the list isn’t available, the shopper will sub it with another type and let you know.

Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh is a benefit of Amazon Prime membership; members can place grocery orders for same-day delivery. You’ll be prompted to pick a two-hour delivery window. Prime members can also shop for items from local Whole Foods stores and schedule pickup or delivery.
Cost: The price of groceries plus free delivery in a two-hour window for orders over $35. Delivery fees apply for orders under $35 or non-Prime members.
Our Take: Amazon Fresh offers perishable grocery items that come in reusable bags that can be collapsed for easy storage. It is different than the personal shopper experience because the items are not hand-picked.

Kroger Pickup and Delivery

With Kroger’s pickup service, customers can shop online via the store’s website or app, pay and select a pickup time. When you arrive at the store, an employee will bring the groceries to your car. Kroger also provides home delivery through a third-party service; they also offer shipping on dry goods and bulk grocery items.
Cost: Grocery pickup is free; delivery service is $9.95 and is handled through a third party delivery service. Shipping on orders over $35 is free.
Our Take: Plan ahead and get a Kroger card/account if you don’t already have one. Pay attention to sale item pricing when you pick up, because Kroger’s sales change frequently.

Costco

CostcoGrocery, the store’s online delivery service, offers 2-day delivery of non-perishable groceries and other essentials to members. There’s no delivery fee for orders over $75. For same-day delivery of perishable items, Costco partners with InstaCart.
Cost: Delivery is free on orders over $75; orders under that amount incur a delivery fee per item.
Our Take: Prices on CostcoGrocery items (for both same-day and 2-day delivery) are typically higher than in-store prices. A Costco membership is required to use CostcoGrocery; keep in mind that items (just like in-store) are usually sold in bulk sizes or multiples.

goPuff

Get everything from frozen food to snacks, beverages and personal care items through goPuff. Use their app or order online to shop from thousands of items. The company offers 24-hour services in most areas and promises fast delivery.
Cost: Delivery is $1.95 per order, with a $10 order minimum, or you can purchase a membership for $5.95 per month.
Our Take: All items are stored and delivered from the company’s local warehouse, so choices may be more limited than other services.  Delivery areas are limited, so check before you order.

More local pickup and delivery options:

Target has free in-store and curbside pickup (curbside orders must be placed through the Target app). For same-day delivery, Target utilizes Shipt.
Publix offers free in-store pickup; however, curbside delivery and same-day delivery is handled through instacart.
Eat Right Atlanta offers a home-delivery program for seasonal fruits and vegetables. Pricing and membership fees vary, check their website for availability.
Fresh Harvest offers home delivery of organic produce from local farmers.

Advice for Ordering Groceries

Have a list prepared before you begin the process. Most sites save your list online so that shopping is easier the second time.
Make sure the store, app or website you are choosing serves your area. On most websites you can enter your zip code to see the closest pickup location or delivery range.
Check to see what type of payment each service accepts. Most are credit or debit card only through the app, website or in person.
Think about the time you schedule delivery or pick up. To ensure the freshest produce, make sure you will be at home in time or able to get to the store when your order is ready.
Check order minimums. You may want to hold off on ordering groceries until you have a larger amount. Some companies require a minimum order amount or wave delivery fees for orders over $35.

Tipping Guidelines

It can sometimes be confusing when to tip with a delivery service. Tipping is at your discretion, but it’s a great way to show your appreciation to the delivery driver. It’s best to minimize contact by adding a tip online or through the app, rather than using cash.
Instacart: 10 percent is the default service fee amount added to your order. You can adjust the amount upon checkout and also add a tip for your driver.
Shipt:
You may tip when placing your order, or up to 24 hours after you receive your delivery. General tips range 15-20 percent.
Walmart: Tips are not accepted by Walmart employees. You can complete the post-order survey to let Walmart know how the specific employee did.
Amazon Fresh: Tipping is optional and can be changed up to 24 hours after delivery. If you choose, the tip is added when you place your order.
Kroger:
Associates are not allowed to accept tips for pickup service, but delivery drivers can accept tips.
goPuff: Tipping your delivery driver is optional and can be done through the app.

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