A few weeks ago, Fox 6 asked me to help them figure out the best grocery delivery service in Milwaukee. I had a great time learning on camera and wasn’t TOO embarrassed by the end result, but I didn’t feel like there was a clear winner in the piece. After trying a couple of the services again on my own time, here are my thoughts on the four options highlighted, plus two that weren’t.
Peapod is the granddaddy of the grocery delivery service. It’s been around for several years and y’all, it kind of shows. This was my least favorite of the bunch. For this service, you pay each time. The fee was nominal (around $6.95, but it changes) and it’s easy to find promo codes to try it for free. The actual prices of the groceries were decent, but you get what you pay for. They missed my chicken, the ice cream felt and tasted like it had melted and refrozen, and they included a random salami/cheese packaged sandwich thingie that there is no way I ordered. It wasn’t on the bill, but still… Sloppy.
More than anything else, I didn’t care for the packaging. They definitely are smart about keeping things cold, but holy packaging, Batman! We ended up with four large boxes for around 15 items. One box had one item in it. Inside the banker’s box, you would either find additional cardboard for pantry items or styrofoam coolers for cold stuff. You have to return the packaging (which in itself is annoying… It sat in my basement for four days and then I almost forgot the pick-up time again) and it shows. The boxes and coolers were scuffed and kind of dirty. On the one hand, this is much better than the alternative for the environment, but I don’t know… Too much work/hassle.
There is potential with Instacart, but you’ve got to be careful where you order. Here in Milwaukee, you can use Instacart for Pick N’ Save, Metro Market or Whole Foods (and, randomly, Sur La Table.) The hitch is that your shopper will go to the store within the selected chain that’s closest to you. You’re probably safe with any Metro Market or Whole Foods, but my closest Pick N’ Save is a pretty poor one, so the produce was not so hot. The shopper even called to ask if she should skip the strawberries since they were past their prime. (So pro: actual humans with the autonomy to care. Con: they are only as good as your neighborhood store.)
You can shop at multiple stores within one order, but you have to reach the $30 minimum at each. Also, items that should be available, like yogurt, didn’t show up at Pick N’ Save or Metro Market when I checked a couple different times.
Careful if you do order from them. I think we accidentally pressed a button somewhere to sign up for a yearly membership when we placed the original order, but none of us can figure out how.
I really like Meijer so I want to like Shipt. The initial experience with them was great. The app was clean and easy to use and my shopper was so friendly I tried to woo her into being a delivery driver for The Real Good Life. Both she and the gal from Instacart used their own reusable grocery bags for my shopping, so I did have to invite them in while I unloaded. That could potentially get weird.
My hang-up with Shipt is the pricing. I love Meijer because it has B+ stock with A+ prices, a ratio I can get behind. But once you use Shipt, the prices go up. Example – again with the yogurt… There is a particular brand I like called Siggi’s. When I checked back this week, it was $5.49 for the 24 oz tub on Shipt. When I was actually in the store this week it was $4.29. The app does warn you that prices may be different to pay for the service, but when you pair that with the monthly fee, it takes away the cost-effectiveness of the Meijer brand.
Which leaves us with Amazon Fresh. You guys, I tried not to like Fresh. I really did. I don’t want Amazon to take over the world any more than the next small business owner, but golly, they just do it right. For Fresh, you pay $14.95/month (after a 30-day trial period) and then as long as you hit $40 per order, you don’t pay any delivery fee. You get a LOT of packaging here, but it’s manageable (and you don’t have to return it.) I’ve been able to use the silver freezer bags and ice packs for my own deliveries, but I can see how that would get overwhelming fast. As for the outside packaging, they are heavy duty paper bags with a piece of cardboard inside to keep them square. Those two pieces fold up nicely for recycling.
Somehow the quality of the produce was the best between the four options, as were the prices. (In our area, food comes from their warehouse in Kenosha.) Their chicken and hamburger were fine during the trial, but I haven’t ordered meat again. For some reason, I have no problem with my Cheerios and bananas coming to my door, but I’ll pick up my own poultry, thank you very much.
You can sometimes cheat the system by using Amazon Now or their partnership with Fresh Thyme. I found the Fresh Thyme prices to be way different (i.e. expensive) than an actual store and the selection with Now not as great. That said, if you need a 12 pack of Diet Coke and a 5lb bag of carrots RIGHT NOW, this will do it for you.
Sendik’s has a service that does the shopping for you, but you still have to drive to the store. Woodman’s Market does that as well and, if you are within a certain delivery area, will also deliver to your house. If supporting local while not having to put on pants is a top priority for you, you might explore one of these two options.
Otherwise, I’m afraid Amazon Fresh is the best grocery delivery service in milwaukee!
Have you tried any of these? If so, what do you think is the best?