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In Dining Commentary

Tired of the hassle of grocery shopping? Skip the store and take advantage of home delivery.

Too cold to shop? Grocery delivery options in Milwaukee abound


Gone are the days when you could rely on the milk man to deliver your weekly supply of dairy products.

But, that doesn't mean the convenience of home delivery has come and gone. In fact, in the past few years, it's actually begun to expand, largely due to the ease of online ordering. Large national grocery chains like Meijer and Safeway are hopping on the bandwagon in an effort to compete with the likes of Netgrocer and Amazon.com.

And other grocers are sure to follow. According to survey data gathered by the Food Marketing Institute in 2010, 32 percent of respondents indicated that their primary grocery store offered online ordering, and 28 percent said they had done at least some online ordering at those grocers.

I know what some of you are thinking: how lazy do you have to be to order your groceries online? But let's be honest. We all have to eat. Yet, people lead busy lives, and sometimes grocery shopping just seems like a time-consuming chore. For others without reliable transportation, it's simply more convenient to let someone else do the shopping.

But, is online shopping practical? Or is it just a waste of money? Experts suggest that grocery delivery can actually prevent unnecessary spur-of-the-moment purchases, saving consumers money. In addition, ordering at least some staples online on a regular basis can dramatically shorten the length of weekly grocery shopping trips. Plus, there's something at least remotely appealing about the prospect of abolishing the lugging of packages and wrestling with the kids in the cereal aisle!

So, for those living in Milwaukee, what are some options?

Probably the largest and most well-known among online grocery services is Peapod. Based in Skokie, Ill., Peapod has performed more than 18 million home deliveries since forming in 1989. It offers such delivery in three states in the Midwest – Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. Practically anything you can get at a real grocery store can be delivered through Peapod, from soft drinks to fresh produce, alcoholic beverages, meats, fish and even a selection of organic dairy, produce, meat and prepared products. Just find your grocery items online and, for a fee (between $6-10), you can have them delivered right to your doorstep, often as soon as the next day.

Other specialty services may not offer the broad selection of Peapod, but cater instead to consumers' desire for the best in fresh, local products all year long. Brewer's Organics is a new service which just launched this January in the greater Milwaukee area. They provide consumers the option to order various-sized boxes of USDA organic fruits, vegetables or a combination of the two, delivered to home or office on a weekly or every other week basis.

Customers have the option to customize their boxes based on individual preferences, add additional groceries, change delivery weeks, put accounts on vacation hold or cancel deliveries via the Brewer's Organic user-friendly website.

Even better, with every purchase consumers help to support the local community, since Brewer's donates a portion of their sales, along with extra produce and selected "items of the week," to the Hope House and Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee. Brewer's Organics requires a one-time$25 registration fee with the first delivery, after which consumers pay only for the produce they've ordered on a weekly basis.

Similarly, Braise home delivery aims to "bring the farmer's market" directly to consumers' front doors. Focusing on locally produced products, their brand new home delivery program is designed to offer year-round delivery service of all things local, including meat, dairy, dry goods, prepared items and of course, fresh produce. Designed to meet the needs of a single person or a large family, the program offers flexibility in ordering on a week-to-week basis.

Whereas a traditional Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program pulls from a single farm and often requires a weekly pick up at a designated location, Braise sources items from several farms and delivers them to a member's home or office, while offering a wider range of products from all over the state.

Add services like NetGrocer, and Milwaukeeans have a fairly robust set of options for ordering edibles online. And, while it's true that home delivery options aren't necessarily for everyone, it makes sense to consider your options – especially if you're among those who don't want to take the time to wrangle with grocery store lines and clipping coupons.

Do you use a home delivery service for your groceries or produce?

Talkbacks

jenyerkes | Feb. 8, 2012 at 8:06 a.m. (report)

I've used Braise for many years and it's great... local produce, meat, dairy, grains and even chocolate! Order online by Sunday and it's there by Tuesday.

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badgerfanz | Jan. 29, 2012 at 12:01 p.m. (report)

I LOVE Peapod - yes some things cost a bit more but by the time you get into your vehicle, drive to the store, park - handle the crowds - come home and unpack totally worth it to me - I have been using them since they first came to Milwaukee and I have NEVER had a bad experience...every order has been in perfect order!

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poproc | Jan. 27, 2012 at 6:24 a.m. (report)

The Sentry Foods in West Allis also delivers food. My aunt has done it for years. I not sure what they charge, but I know she does it a lot. I've tried peadpod, yet the prices seem a bit high for what you get. Either way, it's nice that these places deliver food.

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mjames1229 | Jan. 26, 2012 at 2:36 p.m. (report)

We enjoy Peapod. The first thing we do is look at the very long list of "specials" and plan our weekly dinners around that. They also accept manufacturers coupons. You can save $1 with direct withdrawl from your checking account. When using specials, the $7 delivery fee is barely noticed. We don't like getting produce from Peapod, though. Too many times it doesn't look good, and we feel that it is too expensive anyway. We solve this by hitting Sentry once a week. But that isn't like grocery shopping, as the produce section is right near the front entrance and we can be in and out in five minutes.

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angelamb825 | Jan. 26, 2012 at 1:15 p.m. (report)

I LOVE Peapod. The unattended option is great and their online app lets me shop anywhere. My biggest fear was having someone else select my produce or giving me items close to their expiration, but so far I haven't had an issue. Definitely going to check out Brewers Organics.

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