How Online Delivery Services are Changing How We Buy Groceries
Few sectors of the economy have been left untouched by the explosion in digital technology and innovation that has taken place over the past twenty years.
Few sectors of the economy have been left untouched by the explosion in digital technology and innovation that has taken place over the past twenty years, and grocery stores have often been held up as one of the last holdouts of the brick-and-mortar era.
But for a new generation of delivery start-ups, the old supermarket chains are just one more industry ripe for disruption. And as the rapid spread of the coronavirus leads governments across America to call for social distancing and shelter-in-place protocols, a handful of delivery apps are showing what the future of grocery shopping could look like.
Here are three important ways in which online food delivery is challenging the grocery industry’s long-established status quo.
1) Delivery Apps Offer Greater Convenience
The single biggest factor behind the rise of grocery delivery apps is convenience. Shopping for groceries takes time, and in this time of coronavirus, it also involves a great deal of inconvenience and even risk.
It is easy to see, therefore, why the idea of having your favorite meat delivered to your door any day of the week is appealing. Not only does this make shopping for groceries from home easy, but it also makes it safer. Some meat delivery services even use refrigerated boxes for even greater security and freshness.
2) Delivery Expands the Range of Options
We tend to think of grocery stores as cornucopias that contain just about every food product you might want to buy. But depending on what chains are available in your neighborhood, this appearance could well be an illusion.
Many communities in large urban areas (especially those with lower median incomes, where the phenomenon of food deserts is a serious problem) actually suffer from a dearth of options when it comes to grocery shopping. Residents may only have one large supermarket, and there is no guarantee that it will offer a wide variety when it comes to staples like meat.
One of the benefits of shopping from online grocery providers is that they can often give you a greater range of choices about what you want to eat, in part because you don’t have to purchase all your groceries from a single app.
You can buy your meat from a meat delivery services, your veggies from a produce box, and dry goods from artisanal suppliers. Because you don’t actually have to go out and pick them up yourself, comparison shopping and purchasing from different providers can be done with a few taps of your finger on your smartphone.
3) Delivery Empowers Ethical Consumption
Consumers today are becoming ever-more cognizant of the importance of buying sustainable, environmentally-friendly meat, vegetables, and fruit, but large supermarket chains aren’t always transparent about how their products have been grown or raised.
One of the most unique features of delivery services is that they can often provide you with a more direct connection to the farms producing your food than you would get if you were to buy from a major grocery store.
Meat delivery companies like truLOCAL, for example, source their products from farms and producers within your state, and provide ample information about their partners so you can find out for yourself who is raising your food and how.
For years, the supermarket business stood as one of the last bastions of the old way of shopping. But as people get used to social distancing and start exploring the many high-quality delivery options available to them, it is perhaps unsurprising that many are starting to wonder why they didn’t switch to grocery delivery years ago.