If you look long and hard enough, you will find a subscription service for just about everything these days. From shaving supplies to dog food and more, there are hundreds of subscription services to meet the diverse needs of individuals living in a modern society. One category of services that are getting attention and interest from people across the country are “grocery delivery subscriptions.”
What do they have to offer you and are they worth the prices they charge for the convenience they provide?
Overview of Subscription Grocery Services
You have a variety of features and options among today’s grocery delivery subscriptions, including services:
- Allowing consumers to update their shopping lists and have their shopping done for them for a fee.
- Offering not only the foods required to cook delicious, healthy foods for a fee but also kits that offer step by step instructions for preparing and cooking these meals.
- Providing preparations services, such as basic chopping, slicing, and shredding of ingredients. All that remains for you is to put the meals together and add heat, according to their precise instructions.
Before you shake your head and walk away from this new-fangled way of getting food into your pantry, refrigerator, freezer, or on your table, there are plenty of benefits to consider when it comes to grocery delivery subscriptions, including those listed below.
- Convenience. By having someone else do the heavy lifting of grocery shopping for you, you avoid the hassle of making a list, verifying all items have made it into your cart and selecting the freshest produce. Some services also allow you to “set it and forget it,” allowing regularly household staples delivered automatically.
- Better budgeting. Having someone else do the shopping on your behalf eliminates some of the challenges of sticking to your budget. You don’t have to worry about them buying items on impulse and charging you for those purchases.
- Cost-effective. The fees for these services can be reasonable. Combine that with the money you're not spending on things like impulse buys, gas to and from the supermarket, and many consumers feel the added costs of grocery delivery subscription services are a wash. When you count the value of your time, and this service becomes a lifeline for many consumers drowning in to-do lists.
- Brilliance factor. If you're taking advantage of subscription services that bring you the ingredients you need to make gourmet dinners night after night, they can help you look more brilliant in the kitchen. Your friends and family will be amazed at the memorable meals you can create, and you can enjoy the knowledge that others did most of the work. There’s also some excitement in having someone curate a gourmet meal for you.
- Variety. While once upon a time, subscription meal delivery boxes offered little variety from one week to the next, today’s boxes offer much greater versatility, even accommodating special diets (i.e., vegan, gluten-free, low carb).
While the list of advantages is long and impressive, there are some drawbacks to consider as well. The better you understand them, the wiser decision you’ll be able to make for your needs.
- Quality concerns. Only you understand what it takes to find the perfect produce, for example, for your family’s needs. It is meaningful that the person paid to pick out your groceries might be less likely to invest considerable amounts of time, energy, or effort. Does the produce picker know how to test specific fruits and vegetables for freshness, for instance? Will the personal shopper look at labels and pick items with the longest expiration dates?
- Cost. While today’s services are more cost-effective than ever, largely thanks to growing competition, it still usually costs more than purchasing the groceries yourself. You can save a great deal of money by doing your own shopping.
- Coupon policy. That can be both a pro and a con because some online grocery delivery services accept manufacturers coupons. However, some do not.
- Limited inventory. Online grocery stores may not be able to provide you with everything you need. Even the most thorough of delivery subscription services may assume you have certain ingredients on hand too. If you do not, that means you will still need to make the occasional trip to the supermarket for staple items.
- Membership fees. Some online grocery delivery subscriptions options have membership fees, which be can monthly or annual fees for instance.
For most people, it comes down to the question of time and money. The right grocery delivery subscription services can save you both, which may make them well worth a few added dollars to your grocery spending.