Putting online grocery shopping to the test
Ross McLaughlin and Sandra Hermiston , CTV Vancouver
Published Monday, March 6, 2017 6:00AM PST
Whether or not you consider grocery shopping a chore it does take time and effort, which is why ordering groceries online is becoming more popular. But is it worth it? When you order online you’re trusting someone else to do the shopping for you.
There are many unknowns. Will the produce be fresh? How much time will you have left on perishable’s best before dates? And what will the quality of the fish and meat be like?
The McLaughlin on Your Side team chose three online grocery stores to put to the test.
We ordered the same produce, meat and dairy at Superstore, Save-On-Foods and Spud.ca.
Each store has different options that appeal to certain shoppers.
With the Click and Collect service at Superstore we had to go and pick up our order at a designated time, but Save-On-Foods and Spud.ca delivered to our door.
The fresh vegetables, fruits, fish and meat were then all laid out to be analyzed by food expert Dr. Will Valley from UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems.
“Overall the quality is quite high amongst these three tables. There is nothing here that would be worth getting rid of right away," he said upon first inspection.
But nothing's perfect. Dr. Valley noticed a bit of damage on Superstore’s broccoli and mechanical bruising on Spud.ca’s bananas.
“That means they will go off a bit faster,” he explained.
The bananas from Superstore were still a bit rock hard and Save-On-Foods bananas were ready to eat and weren’t showing any signs of mechanical bruising.
Dr. Valley gave two thumbs up for Superstore’s tomatoes and Spud.ca’s asparagus. And while Spud.ca’s raspberries were perfect, the other two stores didn’t fare as well.
"The damage from handling has already occurred on this [Superstore] raspberry. These [Save-On-Foods raspberries] are mushy and sticking together"
Next up was the lettuce. Spud.ca’s had some wilting. "I'd say this is on the lower end of fresh," said Dr. Valley. He expected Superstore and Save-On-Foods’ lettuce to last a few more days.
The meat and fish looked good, but Superstore notified us at the last minute it was out of salmon and Spud.ca delivered frozen, which wasn’t clear to us on the website. The images were of fresh meat but only later did we learn that a snowflake symbol off the right of each product meant it was frozen.
As for salad mix and milk and theirbest before dates? Spud.ca had the better averages overall followed by Save-On-Foods and Superstore.
So which came out on top? It was a tough call since they all delivered high quality. Dr. Valley gave Spud.ca an A+, Save-On-Foods received an A and he gave an A- for Superstore.
Other pros and cons
· Pros- Environmentally friendly with no plastic bags. Everything in the delivery bin is recyclable and no delivery fee.
· Cons- Price. It's more expensive because it sources organic, local and natural.
· Pros- First delivery was free. They were on time and you have the option to pick up if you want. After the first order the delivery cost is $10.
· Cons - Lots of plastic bags.
· Pros - Least expensive of the group. $3.00 - $5.00 pickup fee depending on pickup time.
· Cons - You have to pick up. There’s no delivery option. We received a last minute notice of unavailable product.
We reached out to all three stores which all say they strive to meet their customers needs. Spud.ca welcomed the feedback about the frozen products and said it would work to make that more easily understood on its website.