SAN ANTONIO – Caroline Correa was tired of spending two hours of her day roaming the supermarket aisles and lugging her groceries home, so she decided to try a grocery delivery service.
"It saves me a lot of time," Correa said.
The industry is growing as more people look to find more time in their day for things they'd rather do.
Consumer Reports put seven grocery delivery services to the test by ordering the same products from each of them. They tried Shipt, Amazon Prime Now, Peapod, FreshDirect, Instacart, Walmart, which was delivered by DoorDash and AmazonFresh. They did not include regional grocery services, such as H-E-B, which has its own delivery service.
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While some of the services ship directly from a warehouse, others use a personal shopper at a local store.
Shipt, owned by Target, and Amazon Prime Now led the pack in Consumer Reports' overall satisfaction score, but all of the services generally met expectations.
Whichever one you may choose, Consumer Reports offered some tips.
First, inspect your delivery. If you're not satisfied with the condition of a purchase, the services will offer a refund, replacement or credit voucher.
While some services packed food carefully, others didn't take recommended safety precautions with raw meat and poultry.
"If there's space for special instructions or a way to communicate with your shopper, indicate which items you want packaged separately to avoid leakage and cross-contamination," said Sana Mujahid, a Consumer Reports food safety expert.
Be sure to pick your delivery window carefully. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that you put your food in the refrigerator within two hours of shopping, and one hour if the air temperature is above 90 degrees.
Convenience does come at a cost.
Generally, expect each item to cost a bit more than if you shopped yourself. There are also delivery fees and tips to consider. Many delivery services do offer a free trial period so you can see if grocery delivery works for you.