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This is the Only Reason You Should Pay More for Groceries

Stores across the nation are offering alternative ways to get groceries, but are they worth the extra costs?
grocery bags sitting in back of car

The pandemic has altered the way we accomplish basic everyday tasks, with one of the most dramatic changes being the way in which we get our groceries. Some Americans are paying more for their weekly haul of vegetables, cereal, and meat now than they ever have before and it's largely because they're choosing to not physically shop in stores.

Nearly all of the nation's largest grocery chains now require customers to wear masks while shopping indoors and, in heavily populated metro areas, stores are only letting a set number of shoppers in at a time. Still, those who are at risk of experiencing adverse complications or live with someone who is vulnerable, may not feel comfortable walking into a grocery store during this time. Some of the most popular grocery chains in America identify this concern and offer a popular alternative, which is delivering groceries straight to people's doors. (For more information on grocery stores offering delivery, sign up for our newsletter).

The pandemic has required stores to strengthen their online presence so that consumers can have increased accessibility to groceries. Corporate giants such as Walmart, Whole Foods, and Target all offer delivery through their own respective services and smaller grocers are offering delivery through third party services such as Instacart. Walmart is even beginning to test same-day home delivery in certain cities through a partnership with Instacart.

However, having groceries delivered straight to your door oftentimes comes with a higher price tag. First of all, many of these delivery services offered by large grocery store chains require an annual membership. For example, a membership with Target's delivery service Shipt costs $99 a year, or $14 a month. Secondly, there are delivery fees to take into account. Shipt says that members can expect to pay about $5 more on what would normally be a $35 order in stores.

In some cases, stores have to markup specific grocery items online in order to cover fulfillment costs necessary for the service to continue making deliveries. Then, there's the tip. Tipping the worker who delivered your purchases, while not mandatory, helps to support the people who are providing you with an essential service.

So, at the end of the day, you're paying a premium to avoid the risk of exposure during an unprecedented time—isn't that worth the extra couple of dollars each week? Not to mention, it frees up time you would have otherwise spent driving to and from the store in addition to walking up and down aisles and waiting in lines.

For more grocery insight, check out 15 Tips for Grocery Shopping at Kroger.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more