At my zoom birthday party on Friday, we were chatting about things that have been different since we started social distancing about 4 weeks ago. One of the things that everyone has struggled with is groceries! Do you go to the store? Which one? When? Have you been able to order online? My friend Dimitri suggested a post, and voila! This is what our experience has been, plus tips and tricks from others I asked over the weekend!
Ever since my 6 AM foray into SaveOn (in early March, and more anxiety-inducing than expected), we’ve tried really hard to avoid the grocery store! I have heard that many are better later in the evening, but here’s the breakdown:
Save On was a bit empty that morning in March, but I’m sure this is evolving quickly. They do have people at the door only letting in a certain number of shoppers at a time, and markings outside to make sure any lines are distanced. They are operating at reduced hours (8-8) to allow for more cleaning and restocking. Seniors and those identifying as vulnerable can shop from 7-8 AM
Buy Low Foods
I haven’t been in here at all but it’s usually our first choice for quick ingredients because it’s so close! Their website says that most stores have reduced hours, but I didn’t find any details online. Their Facebook page person is apparently quite responsive, though!
Again, haven’t been in here, but a favourite stop on the way home if I just need that one thing (also I really like the Celebration cookies with the milk chocolate for dipping in coffee :- ). It does look like you can order online for pickup, if you’d prefer.
Several people have told me that they had a good experience at Whole Foods through COVID- employees cleaning carts/conveyor belts/counters frequently, and lots in stock. While I love browsing there and sometimes get a few favourite treats, I never really do a whole shop there so have definitely not been in for a while. They do have shopping for 60+ from 7-8 AM, and for everyone else the store now opens at 8. The cafe at the Cambie location (our closest!) is closed.
I also haven’t been to Costco but have heard good things! The line is monitored and distanced, and front line workers can skip the line by showing ID. You can also order a limited number of things online for delivery. Tues, Wed and Thurs are all “60+ only” for the first hour of the day. They are posting updates here!
Usually, our grocery routine consists of our Goodfood delivery, a weekly online order from SaveOn, and very occasional trips into the grocery store for one or two items we may have forgotten. I loved this routine, because shopping from a list and being able to price compare from home was by far the best way to save money on groceries that I’ve ever encountered. Now, though, it’s been challenging to find available time slots for delivery, so we’ve had to get creative.
Like I mentioned, this is normally a BIG part of our grocery routine. I have successfully placed a few online orders (I think 2 now) since COVID took off. Pros: groceries at your front door. Cons: LOTS of out-of-stock items, which you don’t discover until they don’t turn up. Usually if items are out of stock the pickers will replace them with something similar, but they are not doing that right now in an effort to improve efficiency. Our last two orders both had 30-40% out of stock. Delivery fee is (in our area) currently $4.95, with 1/2 day delivery windows.
SPUD (Be Fresh)
We’ve never ordered from here but I like the Be Fresh stores! Seems a little more expensive than the average grocery store, with more emphasis on organic/wellness products etc. Delivery is free if you spend $30 (in Vancouver) and they seem to be scheduling about a week in advance for a 3h delivery window. Check the website for updated stock information.
Also seems to be more expensive than the usual grocery store, but I’ve heard great things (and this is a local business!). Their website doesn’t update stock (like SaveOn), so you might have surprise out-of-stock items. Delivery times vary by neighbourhood and open 3 days in advance. Delivery is $10.99-$14.99.
The Federal Store
This is another local Mount Pleasant favourite- they recently increased their grocery offerings and added pickup! See their insta for details, and if nothing else get yourself one of their beautiful and super delicious cakes!
Kiki’s Delivery Service
We discovered this last week looking for an answer for fresh produce! They don’t have a very comprehensive selection, but lots of fruits and veg plus some dairy. The website was easy to use, delivery was free over $40, and the produce was fresh. We ordered on a Saturday and had delivery on Monday night, so that was great! They also had out of stock items that didn’t turn up, but it was only 3 or 4 things.
I know people have mixed feelings about Amazon, but we order from them a lot. It’s been a good way to get dry things, like vitamins, peanut butter, tea, flour, and some snacks! They are prioritizing certain items (grocery etc) so delivery windows are still pretty good. You also get the benefit of real-time stock updates, so you know if something is backordered. We have Prime, so delivery is free.
Ah, the best for last. We have relied a lot on our dinnertime standby, and they have been AMAZING at keeping deliveries on schedule, with the usual freshness and variety. Honestly, I can’t say enough good things. We increased our plan to 4 dinners per week (each dinner serves 2 and we almost always have leftovers for 0.5-1 lunch), which is $87 (or you can try for $40 off). You can also add breakfast, grocery items, and ready made food- I haven’t done much of this because it looks expensive but I appreciate the option and just how reliable they’ve been.
Ordering Food and Takeout
Usually we try to keep this to 1 meal per week (hello, Friday night!) but lately it’s been expanded to 2-3. We call this “supporting local businesses”, which is definitely true, but if I’m honest it’s also related to increased stress, less fresh grocery shopping, and more available takeout options.
We’ve used Uber Eats, Foodora, DoorDash and Skip the Dishes. We tend to mostly use Foodora and DoorDash, because I find they have most of the restaurants in our neighbourhood. I also like that you can order in advance! Quick notes:
UberEats: Seems like mostly fast food. Delivery fee $0-$3.99 ($5 off with code eats-alyssac125 :- )
Foodora: Many local favourites! Delivery fee $0-$3.99
DoorDash: Also lots of faves! And they are running a “30 days $0 delivery fee” promotion right now, which is great. This link gets you $5 off your first five orders.
Skip the Dishes: Mix of favourites and fast food. Delivery fee $0-$3.79 (or click here for $5 off!)
We haven’t tried any of these, but I have heard about:
– Boulevard Provisions (select a pickup date and time to see available meals)
– CHOMP (vegan, pricing here)
– Movement Food (lots of options!)
And, of course, I have a list of our neighbourhood favourites for pickup!
Whew! That’s it! I miss lattes, simple grocery delivery, and eating with friends!
What have you been doing? Hope you’re staying well! This week I’m planning a “COVID Day-in-the-Life” post and some easy 4 or 5-ingredient meals in case you need to change it up (if you have any to share, send me a note or insta DM!). See you soon, xo