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Foodsmart’s Playbook for a Productive Virtual Grocery Run

With most of the country shifting to online grocery delivery, the process can be more frustrating than waiting in an actual in-store line.  As our team continues to work from home, we’ve also made this shift and have some useful tips. Our goal is to arm you with a solid grocery shopping game plan that reduces disappointments and helps you get nourishing meals on the table.

We started by doing research in regions all across the U.S.  We tracked the amount of time it takes to get groceries delivered in cities that have been affected by Covid-19 over the month of April.  Here’s our findings:

Think ahead:  In our research, it can take anywhere between a few hours to a few days to get your list shopped for and delivered.  Take a minute to hop online and check the delivery times before you start running out of food.  We’ve found that Instacart has really stepped up to the huge demand in at-home delivery.  With that being said, times do fluctuate within regions so check to get a sense of what’s happening in your town.  They’ve also instituted a “Fast & Flexible” option.  If it’s available we suggest choosing it.  The groceries we ordered came faster than any selected window and we’re guessing you’ll most likely be at or close to home to receive your groceries (aren’t we all?)

Choose a few recipes and snacks…but be flexible:  Having a meal game plan with recipes and a grocery list makes it much easier to focus in on what you need and add it to your virtual cart.  And when you’re shopping, take the time at the end of the “trip” to choose a few substitutes.  That way, if the store doesn’t have the frozen spinach you’re looking for in a recipe, you can guide the hard-working shopper to the frozen kale (or fresh spinach, etc.).  

Shop local:  Before COVID-19, most people had a tried-and-true routine for food shopping which included stops at their favorite stores.  With the shift to online, take a second to browse other store options.  We’ll bet there are some local businesses that are working hard to serve your community.  In addition to keeping people at work shopping your order, you’re contributing to the employees that stock the stores, order the food, and the local farms that provide the fruits and vegetables that should be filling your cart (gentle nudge).  And in our research, local stores had less substitutions and the produce was more fresh since they’re less heavily shopped.  It’s a win-win for you and the entire food system.

We know shopping for food is one of the most important tasks in your household as we move through this crisis.  Stocking your pantry and refrigerator with fresh food and perishables by utilizing at-home delivery is one of the best ways to boost your immune system and stay safe and healthy.  By incorporating these tips into your new home shopping routine preparing flavorful meals and snacks will be easier and less stressful.  Have any tips to share?  Let us know in the comments!

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