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Grocery delivery apps allow an individual to purchase and receive groceries at home. The best apps offer a wide range of products and affordable delivery fees.
Which grocery delivery app is best depends on where a person lives, which stores they tend to purchase from, and their budget.
This article explains how grocery delivery apps work and lists some of the best apps available. We also provide information to help people decide whether a grocery delivery app is the right choice.
A quick look at the best grocery delivery apps
Grocery delivery apps allow users to select and order groceries directly through an app.
Most grocery delivery apps are subscription services, meaning users pay an annual or monthly fee in addition to the price of the groceries. Customers also have the option to tip delivery drivers.
Most apps also remember a person’s previous grocery lists, making it easy to order the same items again.
If an item a user orders is unavailable, the retailer may contact them about a substitution, select a substitution, or remove the product from the list. The available options depend on the app and the preferences that customers indicate.
Consumers can check food prices before they order. In most cases, there is a delivery fee, although some apps waive these fees for large orders, new users, or subscribing members.
Many popular grocers and big-box stores offer delivery through grocery apps. The specific grocers a person can access depend on their app and location.
Some examples of stores that individuals can access through an app include:
- Food Lion
- Whole Foods
- Cub Foods
- Mollie Stone’s Markets
- Shop ‘n Save
Grocery delivery apps may be beneficial for:
- people with physical disabilities that limit their ability to shop in a store
- people with weakened immune systems who wish to avoid going out in public, especially during cold and flu season
- those with social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other mental health conditions that may make shopping stressful or challenging
- individuals recovering from childbirth or surgery
- busy parents or caregivers
Medical News Today includes reputable, well-received apps, and a range of price points and features.
Additionally, MNT looks at some of the following:
- Price: MNT chooses companies that offer delivery services at prices that suit a range of budgets.
- Trust:MNT includes companies that operate transparently regarding their products, services, and leadership. Also, those companies have certifications from reputable, third-party organizations where relevant.
- Business standards: MNT will choose companies that follow safe and ethical business and marketing practices.
- Reputation: MNT will choose companies with positive standings with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and no warnings from governing bodies or unresolved lawsuits.
Some of the most popular grocery delivery apps are below.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Best overall: Instacart
- Price: free, $99 annually, or $9.99 per month membership
- Delivery cost: variable for club store deliveries, $3.99 for same-day orders above $35
- Availability: 5,500+ cities across the U.S. and Canada
Instacart offers access to the broadest range of retailers across the country, but the specific grocers available vary significantly from area to area. It states a person can order from warehouse clubs, such as Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s Wholesale Club, without a club membership.
Its app is available on Apple and Android devices.
Instacart’s first delivery is free for new users. After that, delivery fees start at $3.99, and no subscription is necessary.
However, people who want to save on delivery and service fees can opt for the Instacart+ membership. This costs about $99 a year or $9.99 a month. A person can try this membership for free for 14 days.
Instacart places a hold on the user’s account after they order food, then releases it and charges the total cost of food after delivery.
Users can choose to tip the driver, but tipping is optional.
Instacart offers affordable shipping, fast delivery, and access to a large variety of retailers, making it suitable for a wide range of shoppers.
Best for ordering household items: Shipt
- Price: $10.99 a month, $99 a year
- Delivery cost: $10 per one-time order, $7 per order under $35 with a membership
- Availability: across the United States, excluding Alaska
Shipt is a subscription service that offers services via a website and iOS and Android apps. The company uses shoppers that go to stores and purchase what the customer needs.
The stores a person can shop in vary from city to city. However, they usually include a mix of grocers and other retailers, such as:
- CVS Pharmacy
People can also search for the stores they want and find locations near them.
Users select their chosen groceries, pick a delivery window — which can reportedly be within 1 hour of ordering — and provide instructions about substitutions. They then use their card details to prepay for the order.
A person can also schedule deliveries 3 days in advance.
After the purchase, Shipt may adjust the price with additional charges if the user adds products or refund money for any groceries out of stock.
Yearly subscriptions for Shipt cost $99, though people can also opt for a monthly subscription, which costs $10.99. Alternatively, users can purchase single passes for $10. Delivery fees are $7 for orders under $35 with a Shipt membership.
Shipt also charges $7 on some orders that contain alcohol products.
This grocery delivery service is best suited to people who would like to order items other than groceries, as people can order from Office Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Buy Buy Baby.
Best for Prime members: Amazon Fresh
- Price: free for Prime members, $14.99 a month Prime membership
- Delivery cost: free same-day for Prime members
- Availability: 42 cities in eight states, including California, New York, Washington, and Illinois
Amazon Fresh is an online and physical store. It is available via the Amazon website and an Android and iOS app.
Individuals must subscribe to Amazon Prime to use the online Amazon Fresh service. This costs $14.99 a month.
The app offers food from the company’s local warehouses, meaning that if an item appears in stock, it will almost certainly be available when a shopper is ready to pick them up.
In many cases, a user can receive their order within 2 hours. However, some items and regions have longer delivery timetables.
Same-day delivery is free, but consumers can also get free 2-hour delivery if they spend more than $35.
Tips are entirely optional.
This service is suitable for regular Amazon shoppers with an existing Prime membership.
Best for different diets: Thrive Market
- Price: $12 per month or $60 per year
- Delivery cost: between $5.95–19.95
- Availability: contiguous U.S. states
The company claims to skip big retail markups and arrange discounts for many products and groceries compared to their original listing price. It also offers a price match guarantee.
However, unlike some other apps, Thrive Market does not offer fresh vegetable produce. Instead, people can purchase grass-fed meat, seafood, snacks, supplements, wine, and other products.
Deliveries are carbon-neutral, with conditional fees depending on the type of product and order value:
- $5.95 or free for grocery orders above $49
- $19.95 or free for frozen orders above $120
- $13.95 or free for wine orders above $79
Delivery times vary between 2–6 days, depending on the type of order.
This grocery delivery service is best suited to people who follow an alternative diet, and people who would like to use an environmentally conscious delivery company.
Best for fast deliveries: Walmart+
- Price: $12.95 per month, $98 per year for Premium
- Delivery cost: free for orders over $35
- Availability: across the U.S.
Walmart offers grocery delivery directly from its stores. While there is a small delivery fee, users can sign up for Walmart+ for $12.95 a month or $98 a year and get unlimited grocery deliveries at no additional charge.
Walmart+ requires a $35 minimum order to get free delivery. The fee does not include a tip for the driver.
Users can pick a time and date to schedule their deliveries or choose express delivery for a $10 fee and have their groceries delivered within 2 hours. Express deliveries do not require a minimum charge for orders.
Because Walmart updates its inventory, users generally report fewer out-of-stock items. Also, with Walmart+, people get other bonuses, including Walmart rewards and fuel savings.
This service may be best suited to people who regularly shop at Walmart due to the additional Walmart perks that come with the company’s membership.
Best for personal shopping: Dumpling
- Price: 5% platform fee on all orders
- Delivery cost: variable
- Availability: primarily in Los Angeles
Dumpling works differently from the traditional grocery delivery model. Rather than contracting with a limited number of grocers, it works with personal shoppers. Users can choose a shopper who shops at a store they wish to use.
Dumpling offers its services through its website and Android and iOS apps.
Customers can develop a relationship with a shopper who knows their tastes, or they can pick the shopper with the highest review score each time they order.
Reviewers note that Dumpling allows them to develop relationships with shoppers building a personal shopping business. The app may be an attractive option for consumers concerned about fair pay for delivery drivers.
Shoppers set their delivery fees, which could be a percentage of the total order value or a flat rate. The total order price includes a 5% platform fee, though shoppers may already incorporate this into their delivery fee calculations.
The table below compares each of the apps in this article.
|Stores and brands available
• CVS Pharmacy
• $9.99 per month
• $99 annually
|$3.99 for same-day orders above $35
|• Bed Bath and Beyond
• Buy Buy Baby
• Office Depot
|• $10.99 per month
• $99 a year
|$7 for orders under $35 with membership
|• Amazon Fresh
• popular grocery brands
|$14.99 per month
|free for Prime members
• Califia Farms
|• $12 per month
• $60 annually
|• $5.95 or free for grocery orders above $49
• $19.95 or free for frozen orders above $120
• $13.95 or free for wine orders above $79
• popular grocery brands
|• $12.95 per month
• $98 annually
|free for orders above $35
|stores local to the customer
|5% platform fee on all orders
Individuals looking to sign up for a grocery delivery service may want to consider the following factors:
- Region: Some delivery services provide service to specific states or regions. A person should check which regions are covered before signing up for a membership. A person should check the delivery fees each shopper charges for personal shopping services, which can vary.
- Products: Some grocery delivery services focus on certain product ranges, such as organic food, while others offer a wider range of products. This can include pharmacy, pet, and household items. A person should consider the items they need before signing up for a delivery service.
- Diets: Different cuisines, diets, lifestyles, and intolerances require different foods. Before committing to a subscription, an individual should check a service or store’s product selection, and the store should provide nutritional information and allergy warnings for its products.
- Freshness: For many people, choosing and receiving fresh produce is a priority. They should check if a delivery service offers a freshness guarantee.
- Delivery time: Certain services offer delivery within 2 hours. Others may require a person to schedule their deliveries a few days in advance. Faster deliveries may come with additional costs.
- Points system: Some stores and delivery services offer a points system, where consumers collect more points the more they spend. This usually results in savings when doing future orders.
- Pricing: Costs a person should factor into their choice include delivery fees, subscription fees, courier tips, and the cost of the groceries. Some services may offer discounts on groceries.
Grocery delivery service apps charge a delivery or subscription fee that usually forms a fraction of the total delivery price. For many people, these time-saving services are worth the extra fee. Additionally, grocery delivery apps offer a safer and more accessible alternative to in-store shopping for individuals with chronic health conditions.
However, those working with a smaller budget may not find the subscription and delivery fees affordable on top of the cost of groceries.
Below, we answer some of the top frequently asked questions about grocery delivery services.
What is the most popular grocery delivery service?
Instacart is one of the most popular grocery delivery services in the U.S. Others include Amazon Fresh and Walmart+.
Which app is best for online grocery delivery?
The best app for grocery delivery will depend on the stores, brands, and products a person needs access to.
The best apps will provide discounts on products, affordable delivery and subscription fees, a wide range of products, and fast delivery times.
Is it cheaper to have groceries delivered?
Although some online grocery delivery services offer products at a lower price than in stores, a person will usually have to pay for a regular subscription or a one-time order fee.
Costs for online grocery shopping and in-store shopping may be similar once a person factors in delivery fees and the cost of gas if they travel to a store.
Grocery delivery service apps are convenient for people who wish to avoid the grocery store and save time shopping for food.
Many grocery delivery apps are available to download on Apple and Android devices. Some also offer an option to shop through their websites.
To find the best grocery delivery app, people can consider the types of shops they wish to shop from, app subscription fees, and local delivery options. They can also compare prices between the different apps to find the best deal.