Food fight: Apps worth a byte

Grocery shopping can be a hassle, especially for city slickers living the car-free life. Whether you’re looking to stock your pantry without leaving the house or craving a late-night bowl of lobster bisque, food delivery apps are a convenient—and surprisingly affordable—alternative to grocery store runs and restaurant rendezvous.

We pitted the best apps against each other in grocery delivery, restaurant delivery and meal plan delivery categories. Keep reading to discover our digital culinary champs—the great 2017 food fight starts now!

Food fight round 1 | Grocery delivery apps: Peapod vs. Instacart

Say goodbye to standing in slow-moving checkout lines and hauling bulky grocery bags across town. In round one, grocery delivery incumbent Peapod squares off against upstart challenger Instacart. Ding ding! There goes the bell—it’s time for our heavyweights to enter the ring.

Peapod is not your average online grocer. This Chicagoland service brings nearly 30 years of staying power and an established national presence to the table. Available in 23 markets across 13 states and Washington DC, Peapod carries more than 12,000 products, including organic produce, fresh deli items, prepared foods and seasonal items. Peapod features next-day or two-week delivery options and a $7 delivery fee on orders greater than $100. Orders under $100 include a $10 delivery fee, with a minimum allowance of $60.

Need your groceries ASAP? Try the Instacart app. Orders over $35 feature a one-hour delivery fee of $6 and a two-hour or fee of $4. Scheduled deliveries over $35 also include a $4 fee. This Silicon Valley startup connects you with personal shoppers who come to your home bearing gifts from stores in your area: Whole Foods, Costco, Target, etc. Shake things up with an Instacart Express membership for $149 per year or $12.50 per month. Instacart Express provides free delivery options for one-hour, two-hour and scheduled grocery deliveries over $35. Instacart currently serves major metropolitan areas in 29 states and Washington DC.

A word of advice: midweek is the best time to schedule your delivery. The weekend rush can mean numerous out-of-stock items at your store of choice, and while Instacart offers you a replacement item or a refund, a $10 pepperoni pizza isn’t an ideal substitute for that on-sale $4 chicken BBQ thin crust.

Our pick: Instacart—Instacart takes the cake, unless you prefer Peapod’s warehouse selection to the stores in your area. Instacart’s prices, quick delivery and membership benefits are an absolute knockout.


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