Why go to the grocery store when you can have someone else go for you? Money, inconvenient delivery times, not enough variety — those are excuses that worked before. But now, with a plethora of excellent options right here in L.A., the days of trawling through harshly-lit supermarkets for your week's groceries are officially over. Services have popped up all over L.A. in a big way, with different price points, items, and service options to fit those too busy to make the trek to the grocery store.
Here you'll find 12 picks for online grocery delivery, from the foodiest to the most basic, with pricing and delivery areas for each.
12. For the Foodie:
Good Eggs is a San Francisco-based company whose latest venture in Los Angeles seems to be going swimmingly. Instead of delivering from a grocery store, Good Eggs connects you directly with the farmer, baker, or jammer who made the food product you're buying – including some seriously delicious producers like Almond Milk LA, Clark Street Bread, Little Flower Candy Co., and SQIRL. Everything is local, and with producer bios for each item, it's easy to find out if you like the way your food is being made.
Another thing we love about Good Eggs's website? Good Eggs's photography team shoots each item, so you can see exactly what you're buying. Current offerings include green figs, pluots, Green Zebra tomatoes, fresh chamomile, quail eggs, and whole rabbits – enough offerings to send food-lovers all atwitter. But there's enough variety to keep regular folks happy too, provided they're willing to shell out the money for organic foodstuffs.
Delivery is free, unless you need your groceries at a specific time, in which case it's $5 (and even then you'll have to provide a two-hour window). We're happy to say Good Eggs covers a wide section of the city, “from Santa Monica to Sierra Madre and from South L.A. to the San Fernando Valley.”
11. For the Lover of Baked Goods:
Red Bread Bakery's Magical Grocery Tour is one of the most fun delivery options in town: So-called breadheads will deliver baked goods and also produce and jams via electric buses to lucky folks in Venice, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, north of Montana, and Mar Vista. Delivery happens on Sundays before 10 a.m., so there's no flexibility there, but since most people are still in bed at that time, it works. Each week subscribers will receive an email with that week's grocery options. Check off a minimum of $55 worth of food by Friday morning, and find it on your doorstep on Sunday.
10 . For the Hipster:
Summerland is a fairly new service providing boxes of produce to L.A. residents from Pasadena to Manhattan Beach. Starting at $30, you can choose from a produce box that's all veggies, all fruit, or 75/25 (more vegetables than fruit), and then add items from “the market,” including an $80 Hedley & Bennett apron, INNA and SQIRL jam, Bread Lounge loaves, and Maldon salt. They also offer pre-packed boxes with all the ingredients you need to make guacamole, gazpacho, or pancakes. The website isn't super easy to use, but that's okay since your options are few.
Their very pretty blog features simple weekly recipes, also sent out in a newsletter. This box is for the person who likes the idea of buying from local farmers, but doesn't want to trek to the local farmer's market. Oh, and who'd also like a copy of Gather with their food. Although you can try one box without commitment, this is a subscription service – when you sign up, you specify which day of the week you'd like delivery on, any relevant food allergies, and the frequency with which you'd like the box delivered (weekly, biweekly, monthly).
They deliver seven days a week between 5:30 a.m. and noon, making their way from West to East. Although they can't guarantee a specific delivery time, they will try to work with customers who have difficult schedules.
9. For the Downtown Hipster:
Want your food delivered on bike? If you live in downtown, you can have that! Kale Cart is a bike-operated service offering a $35 weekly membership, which includes a selection of organic fruits and veggies, your choice of grains (such as quinoa or oatmeal) and dairy (like the cheese of the month, or almond milk). Oh, and a complimentary bunch of kale. Delivery is free. The selection of items you can add to your “kale kit” is pretty limited, but hey – some dude has to carry all that stuff on his bike. We like that they take the time to place bouquets of fresh kale and Swiss chard in jars of water to keep them fresh, and how sustainable their vehicles are. We don't like that their website keeps crashing – hopefully it's a temporary issue.
8. For the Time-Strapped:
Instead of a warehouse with products that they deliver to you, Instacart has a team of personal shoppers who will go to all the stores on your list – Whole Foods, Ralph's, Costco, Bristol Farms – and deliver your items, (almost) instantly, between the hours of 9 a.m. and midnight. This makes Instacart a great option for those days when you come home only to realize you forgot to buy milk. With Instacart, you can sit on the couch and order what you need, and have it appear before you finish that episode of Orange is the New Black.
Shopping is categorized by store, which means that it's not easy to compare prices between the different vendors, and you'll need to look through all of them if you're not sure what you want. So although they offer food from several different places, shopping leans toward store loyalty (which makes sense, since someone has to drive to each store on your list). If it's the decision-making of grocery shopping that gets you down, browse a selection of other users' lists and recipes – including “Hipster Essentials” and “Just Got Dumped,” to have those items added to your list.
Delivery within two hours is $3.99, or $14.99 within one hour (a $99 membership makes all two-hour deliveries over $35 free). Expect mark-ups on some items, and note that sometimes items listed online are sold out in stores. Beer and wine delivery is a plus. Instacart is expanding rapidly, so enter your zip code on their homepage to find out if they cover your area.
7. For the Impatient:
Yummy.com is a “neighborhood market” delivering to Silver Lake, Hollywood, Playa Vista and Santa Monica. Take your pick from 24 different vegetables (not organic), La Brea Bakery breads, frozen meals, paper towels, wine…. It's basically everything you'd want from a convenience store with a not-bad produce selection, all delivered in “about 30 minutes,” from 8 a.m. to midnight. Delivery is free for orders over $100; otherwise, prices depend on your location. Unlike most e-grocery stores, you can also order by phone.
6. For the Night Owl:
For 15 years, Pink Dot has been following a simple model – groceries delivered to your home within 30 to 45 minutes for $3.50. Like Yummy.com, Pink Dot has the option to order by phone. Unlike Yummy.com, they'll deliver until 3 a.m. Unfortunately their polka-dotted vans will only drive to Beverly Hills, Century City, Wilshire Corridor, Westwood, Bel Air, West Hollywood, Hollywood, Park La Brea, and Hollywood Hills. But if you're in Century City and craving a Doughboys red velvet cupcake and fried chicken at 2 a.m., this is the service for you. They also have a pretty good selection of your standard vegetables, Nutella, pet food, ziploc bags, wine, and – brilliant – wine openers. Selection isn't huge but should cover all your basic needs, and the website is fairly intuitive.
5. For the Trader Joe's Lover:
Deliveer is another “personal shopper” service, offering groceries from Whole Foods, Costco, and get this – Trader Joe's. They charge $4.99 for delivery in three or more hours, $7.99 for delivery within two hours, and $14.99 for delivery in less than one hour. There's no markup on your food, but there is a 5 percent service fee. The website is clean, easy to use, and, like Good Eggs, shows photos of the actual items for purchase. The only downside? It's currently only available in the Pasadena area.
Keep reading for more great delivery options – including Amazon Fresh, Google Shopping Express, SPUD, and Farmbox.
4. For the Couch Potato:
Amazon never wants you to leave your house again. Their grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh, boasts a shocking 500,000 items. Unfortunately, their website doesn't make it easy to actually find what you need, although they probably have it – we searched for “arugula” and got everything from veggie chips to spatulas to actual fresh arugula. Apparently, they prefer you use the mobile app.
Amazon Fresh operates on an annual membership system, where $299 a year will get you free early morning and same-day delivery on all orders over $35 (plus an Amazon Prime membership, which means you really never have to leave your house again). You can try a 30-day trial if you're not ready to make the annual commitment. They cover a large swath of Southern California, including most of L.A. and the South Bay. We like the cute reusable bags each order comes in, but found the sheer number of products overwhelming.
3. For Those Who Like to Stock Up:
Google Shopping Express is Google's answer to Amazon Fresh. Their cute cars roam all over West L.A. (the only area to which they currently deliver), one-upping Instacart with the ability to deliver from Whole Foods, Smart & Final, Costco, Target, and Walgreens, plus Staples, Barnes & Noble, Fry's, and … Guitar Center and L'Occitane. We're not sure how they came up with that line-up, but we like the ability to shop either by store or by product. A much better-organized website than Amazon Fresh's allows us to shop via categories like “condiments,” under which you'll find both Siracha from Target and organic raw honey from Whole Foods. One downfall is that Google Shopping Express doesn't offer produce – so you can't rely on it as your only option for groceries (unless you want to die of scurvy).
2. For the South Bay Dweller:
SPUD — Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery — is a great option for our friends whose homes are outside the delivery range of most services. They'll go as far south as San Clemente, and as far east as Glendora. Since 1997, SPUD has been delivering groceries door-to-door in its signature reusable plastic crates. To order, you'll create an account and start receiving deliveries once a week on a day specific to your location (Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday). Delivery will be at some point between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., but you don't need to be home for the delivery – your box will include ice packs if needed.
You can pay a set price for a weekly box of seasonal produce, or you can create a list of your personal staples. Pre-made lists allow you to add all the ingredients for a dinner (like grilled salmon tacos) to your order with one click. For those with special diets, you can browse the entire website through a gluten-free, kosher, nut-free, vegan, wheat-free, or yeast-free filter. They have quite a lot of produce, the vast majority of which is organic and California-local. Like Good Eggs, each item has a link to the farm where it came from, but SPUD leans toward large-scale farms and oftentimes products will simply read “various growers.”
The produce also isn't hyper-seasonal: you'll find pluots and black mission figs this summer (yay!), but you can also get tomatoes in the winter (bleh). SPUD carries a lot of products (including dairy, meat, dry goods, and ready-to-eat meals) so it's a good option if you're simply looking to replace your weekly trip to Whole Foods with a weekly delivery. Delivery is free with minimum order, dependent on your location.
1. For the Indecisive:
Like SPUD, Farmbox is that rare service for South Bay customers, and also provides pre-made boxes with items from local vendors. The idea is to order a weekly farmbox (actually, it comes in a cute basket) with a variety of groceries designed to meet your needs for the week. The “basic” farmbox includes a quarter pound of California cheese, a quart of orange juice, half a dozen eggs, a baguette, and a rotation of seasonal produce and “artisan goods” like hummus or jam, all for $79. You can add meat and seafood, or just get a bigger box. There are also options to add extra produce, restrict your box to gluten-free or paleo, or get a cat or dog box with a week's worth of fancy food for your pet.
It's a good option for people who don't really want to worry about what to buy at the store, but want some variety and like to cook – you'll have to find a way to use those fruits and vegetables (luckily they have a weekly newsletter with recipes). Their tree-shaped delivery area reaches all the way up to Thousand Oaks and east to Pasadena, and snakes along the coast to include Manhattan Beach and Long Beach. Their website isn't super easy to use, but once you've picked the farmbox that's right for you, you shouldn't have to worry about that much. We like that you can give your food scraps back to have them composted. Delivery happens on Sundays only, and is free delivery for orders over $50.
Plus, two more bonus delivery options, for those who just can't get enough food delivery:
For the Traditionalist:
What if you actually like your grocery store, but just don't have the time to go there? Many large, chain grocery stores have offered home delivery for a long time, including Vons, which actually has a comprehensive service with a smartphone app and one-hour delivery time slots. If there's a local grocery store you like, check their website. Chances are, they have a delivery option that just might work for you.
For the Environmentalist:
Most of these options are focused on streamlining the process of grocery shopping. But if your quest for alternative methods of buying food isn't all about saving time, you might look into Community Supported Agriculture. It's a system that many of these services (including Farmbox, SPUD, and Summerland) are based on, and it allows you to connect directly with a single local farm, receiving a box of their weekly harvest for a set amount of time. Paying in advance means the farmer can have a steady paycheck, and you become intimately acquainted with the seasonality and ups and downs of growing food. Check out localharvest.org to find CSAs in your area.