Online Grocery Shopping

5/17/2008 It can be tough for a busy mom with three kids to get to the grocery store. But Robin Easton feels like she's got the world at her fingertips when it comes to shopping for food online.

"I like the fact that it takes a lot less time. A regular order can take me ten minutes, where it would take me an hour by the time I pile the kids into the stroller and get to the store and walk around, pick it all up, wait for it to be bagged, and everything."

Safeway, Amazon, and Kroger are just a few of the companies that are offering groceries online. Can buying groceries online save you money? Consumer Reports sampled one service to find out.

Lisa Lee Freeman, Consumer Reports, says "We shopped online at Peapod, as well as at a supermarket, to make a comparison. And we did find some drawbacks to shopping online. For one thing, the selection wasn't as wide online."

And there was a $50 minimum charge, and you had to pay a delivery fee of $9.95.

On the plus side, Peapod honors coupons and it has online specials. Shopsmart ordered everything from apples to lettuce to milk.

"We were pleasantly surprised to find that the prices online were about the same as they were in store. And all the food was fine except for a couple of broken eggs," says Freeman.

So should you check out online grocery shopping? It can save you time. And these days, it can save you money on gas. So you might want to do some comparison shopping in the store and see if online is the way to go for you.

For Robin, the decision wasn't difficult. "No matter how lovely your children may be; to be able to shop without them is much easier."

Online grocery services vary, including policies on delivery fees and coupons. A good source to find out which online grocery services are available near you is the web site

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