By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We are all busier. Grocers have found a way to appeal to families on the go, and others who can’t get to the store.

There are several grocery delivery options in the Twin Cities. You order online and groceries are delivered to your door. WCCO put three to the test to find out who’s doing it best, for the least amount, and at customers standards.

Jennifer Cutter’s plate is constantly full.

“I work full time, I’m currently taking 12 college credits, my husband owns a company. We’ve got two kids. It really doesn’t leave a lot of extra time if you want to be engaged in people and the things in your life,” Cutter said.

Having time with her family is a priority. She started using grocery delivery in the 90s, when there was only one option.

“It absolutely simplified my life. For me, I can order my groceries faster than I can park my car,” Cutter said.

Now that the marketplace has evolved, she’s expanded who she uses.

The experienced online grocery shopper agreed to put 3 services to the test. Cutter made a list of staples that she ordered online from CobornsDelivers, Target through Instacart and Lunds and Byerly’s.

“It has everything I know we’re going to need: eggs, butter, milk,” Cutter said.

Plus produce, bread, chicken and other items people typically like to sniff or touch before they buy.

A personal shopper fulfills Lunds and Byerly’s orders. They’ve been in the game for a decade.

CobornsDelivers began in 2008, taking over Simon Delivers who’d been operating since ’99.

Instacart is the newest option in the arena offering grocery delivery from Cub, Whole Foods, Costco and Target + co-ops.

CobornsDelivers offered a 4 hour delivery window with an option to have groceries left outside.
The cost: $60.27 which includes a $5 delivery charge. Cutter checked the deliveries.

“So let’s just check everything off. Lettuce looks great, bananas are a little rough. These strawberries look better. I thought this order looks great, there’s no damage to packaging you can tell it was not handled roughly,” Cutter said.

Lunds and Byerly’s has a 4 hour window.
Delivery is a flat fee of $9.95 for a $63.84 total.

“The bread is not crushed, the onion is in great shape, bananas look good. Eggs are good, chickens good. Byerlys brand milk which I did order. Take a look at the lettuce here, lettuce looks great,” Cutter said.

Instacart’s delivery window was an hour. Like Uber, the shopper can watch the route.
The price: $65.99 with the $5.99 delivery fee. And there’s an option to tip the driver.

“I think the order looks great. Obviously produce is the item that feels like the wild card when you’re ordering online. “We’ve got a little bit of brown on the outside but the edges are pretty darn good for fresh romaine. We’ve got one bruised up strawberry but overall those look good, the bread is not crushed. The bananas have some shelf life,” Cutter said.

According to Cutter, the delivered product was comparable. CobornsDelivers came in lowest.
All were within 5 dollars of each other.

“You can tell that each of the companies has shopped their competition,” Cutter said.

What set the delivery apart for Cutter was the ease and convenience of Instacart, even though it was a few dollars more.

“The window of service delivery is a one hour window versus a 4 hour window. Time is money for me so very much so it was my clear pick, that knowing when it’s arriving,” Cutter said.

Cutter said what she would spend on impulse buys far exceeds the cost of delivery.

All of the services accept coupons and honor sale prices and buy-one-get-one deals.

Other Grocery Delivery Services:

Jennifer Mayerle

Comments (6)
  1. I have been following the grocery delivery attempts in the metro TC area since the late 1970s. Cub/SuperValu tried it 2-3 times over a 20-yr period. The attempts lasted 1-2 yrs each. Order over the phone (voice–no cell phones) and payment by check on delivery. Simon (now Coburn) Delivers worked, but was more expensive and relied upon Cub as their supplier. Simon closed due to high gas prices and Coburn took it over or bought it. Ordering via the Internet opened up nationwide shopping for items that were hard or impossible to find locally. Amazon did something similar with regional products–so they could be sold nationwide if it was practical. Target brought Instacart into the TC area. Instacart does NOT honor the ads in the local papers. Advertised deals (i.e. Sunday ads) at Target, Cub, etc are NOT available via Instacart unless those deals are specifically listed on the Instacart site. The idea of the Sunday ads is to get YOU to go to the store and buy stuff. Delivery services kill impulse purchases, which is why the stores want YOU to do your own shopping. You can’t buy extra stuff (NOT on your list) if you order online.

  2. Mary Johnson says:

    Instacart charges $7.99 for delivery within the hour, not $5.99 as your story suggests. I also believe you should’ve included the cost of the tip (which Instacart encourages many times throughout your transaction) in the overall cost because it would’ve added another $6-9 (10-15%) to the order total you provided.