When it comes to grocery delivery, I’ve definitely hopped on the bandwagon. But, if I’m honest, my experiences with it have been a mixed bag.
On the one hand, the convenience of having produce, meat, dairy and pantry staples delivered right to my front door has completely spoiled me. Why would I put up with the headaches of finding the time to shop, landing a good parking spot, waiting in line and hauling my groceries into the house in the rain (or sleet or snow), when I can just order my groceries on my phone in 15 minutes or less? I also love that ordering groceries tends to help me save money, since I’m more likely to stick to my grocery list instead of perusing the aisles and making a bunch of impulsive purchases.
On the other hand, I have had some pretty frustrating experiences with online ordering, from not being able to find the items I need, not being able to get delivery (or even pick-up) on weekends and dealing with personal shoppers who are, well… just really bad at shopping. That’s not everyone (thank you, good shoppers!); but I’ve definitely had my share of outrageously disappointing experiences (including the time a shopper delivered 10 lbs of sliced deli style corned beef instead of uncooked brisket).
So, when I heard that Kroger Delivery was being offered through Pick 'n Save and Metro Market, and that the service promised a seamless shopping experience with high quality grocery delivery using refrigerated trucks (!), I was pretty interested in giving it a try. Most of all, I was curious to find out if it was truly superior to the other delivery services out there.
So, last week I pulled out my phone, downloaded the Pick 'n Save app and gave it a whirl. Here’s what happened.
Ordering & selection
First off, Kroger Delivery works very similarly to any other grocery delivery service. After downloading the app, I was able to easily create an account, browse for the items I needed and place my order.
Among the things I liked about the app was the ease of accessing sale items. I could easily browse through the list and see if I needed any of the items that were on sale (this time around, I scored a great deal on blueberries, which were $2.77 for an 18-ounce box). I was also able to clip coupons for items, which were automatically applied to my order.
I also thought that the product selection was fairly good. I’ll admit that I tend to be a shopper who is a bit difficult to please. I love to cook and, in general, I usually have to purchase groceries from multiple spots to find the things I want to purchase. In this instance, I found 99% of what I wanted, including a decent selection of organic produce and dairy products.
The two items I wanted to order, but couldn’t, were relatively minor. One was a specialty cheese, which I’d anticipated might be a longshot to find (and I was able to easily substitute a different type of cheese). The other was a large format container of half and half (we drink a lot of coffee at our house). In the case of the latter, I found the brand I wanted and I just purchased the smaller container.
In the end, I was able to order everything I needed and almost everything that I wanted. Even better, I didn’t get any last minute notices that something I’d ordered was not in stock, so that was a really pleasant surprise.
Convenience and cost
As with most services, I was able to schedule my delivery for up to a week in advance. But, unlike most services, which specify a two-hour delivery window, I was excited to see that Kroger Delivery uses one-hour windows, allowing more flexibility to have my groceries delivered within a tighter timeframe (and as early as 6 a.m.). Even better, there were lots of time slots from which to choose, so I could actually get delivery exactly when I wanted it.
Another big thing I noted (and loved) is that there aren’t any “hidden” service fees. Next day orders fetch a $6.95 delivery fee. But there are no additional charges. Even tipping is prohibited (like in-store associates, delivery drivers cannot accept tips). That’s in stark contrast to other delivery platforms, which almost always charge a service fee even for members. By my calculations, that could save me anywhere between $5-15 per order (depending on the size of my order and the tip).
From there, the delivery process was a snap. I got a total of three texts from Pick 'n Save. The first confirmed my order. The second was a reminder which came about a half-hour before my delivery arrived. And the third was a confirmation of delivery, which also contained a link to my receipt.
I’d scheduled my order to arrive between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. and the driver literally pulled up in his adorable little blue Kroger truck at 11:05 a.m. I was impressed. He carried all of my groceries to the side door of my house (as I’d requested in my delivery instructions) and handed them off to me with a big smile.
As I unpacked everything, I was impressed with how the groceries were packaged. Items were mindfully packaged. None of the bags were overly heavy, refrigerated and frozen items were packed together and delicate items (like eggs) were packed on the top of the bag so they weren’t crushed by other items. Even better, all of my items were accounted for.
One of my biggest complaints about personal-shopper-powered delivery is that so much depends on the shopper. If my shopper is making multiple deliveries, my groceries sit in their car for an extended period of time. When produce isn’t kept cold during transport, it tends to go bad more quickly, even if I get it into the fridge right away after it’s delivered. I’ve also had ice cream delivered to me partially melted (which means the texture ends up being funky from being refrozen).
Neither of those things were an issue with Kroger Delivery. My produce items were in very good condition (even the packaged mushrooms I ordered were fresh and firm). They were packaged well and my entire order was accurate.
As an added bonus, the refrigerated truck made a huge difference in terms of how my groceries held up. Despite the weather being fairly warm and humid, my dairy products weren’t covered in condensation. My blueberries were cold. And – most impressively – my pint of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was still frozen solid. That’s huge. After all, I can’t guarantee that level of temperature control even if I go to the store and do the shopping myself.
Making the most of Kroger Delivery
Like most grocery delivery services, there are fees associated with Kroger Delivery. A one-off next day delivery will cost you $6.95. Honestly, that was fine for an ad hoc order; but if I ordered groceries even every couple of weeks it would add up pretty quickly.
Fortunately, if you plan to use their delivery on a regular basis, you can sign up for their Boost service, which offers free next day delivery on orders of $35 or more for a yearly fee of $59. Considering I only have to use the service nine times before it pays for itself, that’s a pretty decent deal. Add the fact that the groceries are going to be delivered in a refrigerated vehicle (and that I’m saving on service fees and tips) and I’m pretty comfortable with the cost.
Boost members also get double fuel points for every dollar spent (fuel points can be redeemed for discounts on gas at Amoco or BP stations across Wisconsin) as well as access to over $100 in savings on specialty brands. So, if those things add value for you, paying for the Boost service becomes pretty much a no brainer.
If you’d prefer, you can also sign up for a $99 Boost plan, which gives you the option for delivery in as little as two hours through Instacart (plus double fuel points and $100 in savings on specialty brands). So, if you need the flexibility of faster delivery at least some of the time, the $99 plan might make sense.
How it works (step by step)
Kroger Delivery works very similarly to any other grocery delivery service. In fact, if you've used InstaCart or Amazon Fresh, you'll find the systems to be quite similar.
- Choose your platform. You can order from your desktop at picknsave.com.You can also place your order from the Pick 'n Save or Metro Market app.
- Create an account or sign into your current Pick 'n Save account.
- Choose your way to shop: DELIVERY
- Choose the address where you’d like your order delivered
- Browse and find the items you need (or use the search function to find them)
- Add items to your cart.
- If you’re feeling frugal, you can also clip coupons to use on your order or view the list of sale items.
- When you’re ready to check out, just click CHECK OUT DELIVERY
- Choose your delivery day and time (just look for the little blue Kroger vehicle to take advantage of Kroger Delivery). You can specify delivery time in one-hour windows and schedule delivery up to a week in advance.
- From there, you fill in your contact information and any special delivery instructions and pay for your order. Easy peasy.
Bonus: You can save $15 on your first Kroger Delivery order of $75 or more (clip the coupon here).
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.