Cost of Grocery Delivery Apps

NBC 6's Alina Machado discusses the cost of grocery delivery services.

(Published Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018)

Taking the perfect picture of a newborn takes time and patience. It’s something Cary Diaz knows firsthand. The family photographer spends her days snapping photos of her clients and her nights being a mom to her three young children.

“I’m big on always thinking time is money,” she said.

It’s the reason why she likes the idea of someone else occasionally doing her grocery shopping.

“It’s a time saver, it’s a lifesaver,” she said, adding that though she does care about the price, “I do feel like it is a convenience and it is kind of a luxury and I don’t mind if every so often when I do use it, it is a little bit higher.”

Diaz uses Instacart and admits she’s never taken the time to compare prices. So on a recent weeknight, NBC 6 Responds was there as she ordered a few essentials she needed like shredded cheese and milk, using the Instacart app right on her phone. While we waited for her groceries to arrive, we took a look at the weekly flyer for her nearest Publix and found only one of the items on her order on the sales flyer. The app was selling Bumble Bee tuna for $5.55. The Publix flyer had it advertised for $4.99. Other promotions, like a Buy One Get One Free offer for Entenmann’s products, was also offered on the app. Diaz wasn’t surprised.

“It doesn’t surprise me because I figured they have to make their money somewhere,” she said.

Instacart is one of three grocery delivery services available in South Florida. NBC 6 Responds compared the three to help you determine if one is right for you.

Membership

Membership is optional for Instacart. You can choose to sign up for Instacart Express for added perks. You’ll need a paid membership to use Shipt and Amazon Fresh.

Delivery Fees

As far as delivery fees go, Instacart’s start at $5.99 if you’re not a member. You get unlimited, free deliveries on orders over $35 if you join. Delivery on Shipt is free if you spend over $35. Spend less and you’ll pay $7 for delivery. To get free delivery on Amazon Fresh, you have to spend more than $50.

Coupons?

And while you can’t use manufacturer coupons on any of the services, all three offer special savings and promotions within their apps.

It took about an hour for the order to arrive at Diaz’ house, time she was glad to spend with her family instead of battling the grocery store aisles.

With regards to pricing differences, Instacart explained that, “All pricing on Instacart is set by our retail partners, including sale pricing. Pricing on Instacart is frequently the same as in-store, but in cases where it isn’t and there is a price difference, we clearly say so.” For example, at Publix, the Instacart website warns consumers that their prices are “higher than in-store prices.”

Shipt said, on average, you can expect to pay about $5 more on a $35 order.

And AmazonFresh said their prices on grocery items are in line with what you would find at your local supermarket, but didn’t offer specifics.