Canada's five best grocery delivery apps

While you're stuck in quarantine, delivery apps give you access to personal shoppers who will bring your grocery items to your door. These are the best bets.

Loraine Balita-Centeno Toronto, ON
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As the virus continues to linger in public places, waiting quietly for the next host, officials continue to urge people to stay indoors. Many are turning to online sites and apps to order items including groceries and medicine. Most can be downloaded onto your phone and will give you access to several supermarkets and pharmacies in your area.

How They Work

They have personal shoppers who scour the store to look for the items you need and when they’re done shopping you can either pick up the groceries at the store or have them delivered to your doorstep. Shoppers follow a no-contact policy so they’ll give you a call or send you a text message once your orders are ready for pick up or when they’ve already left the bags outside your door.

You can track the progress of your transaction through features in most of these apps. You’ll know when the shopping is in progress, when they've picked up everything on your list, and when they’re on their way to deliver your groceries. These services don’t come for free though, providers normally charge a certain service fee on top of the delivery charges. And they also don’t come cheap. Be ready to shell out around an added $40-50 dollars for a $200 grocery trip.

Skip The Lines, Avoid The Virus

These apps have been around for quite some time and were only known among those who were willing to shell out extra for service fees and are too crazy busy to even drive to the grocery. But with the stay-at-home order in place and the threat of this virus, more people are opting to pay high delivery fees so they can skip that trip outside.

Supermarkets are often limiting the number of people they allow to shop at once to avoid overcrowding and to limit the chances of people sneezing into each other’s eyeballs, so lines to get in are snaking out of the stores and into the parking lots. This is why online grocery shopping has moved from being a luxury to a necessity.

However, with increased demand comes a decrease in delivery time availability, so plan ahead.

Grocery Delivery Apps in Canada

There are many apps and sites available for people in the US and Canada. Most of these require a postal code that you input before you even get started using the app. Using this postal code, the app can assign groceries, supermarkets, pharmacies, and other stores in your area where you can order items from. Some of these apps work only in certain provinces and certain areas. Here are some of the apps that cater to areas in Canada.

1. Instacart

Instacart is a fairly simple app that lets you have food delivered to your doorstep. It is available in thousands of cities across the US and Canada.  It will assign groceries and supermarkets in your area and you can virtually shop through the groceries’ many aisles. Items are neatly organized according to type but you can also use the search feature to find items quickly.

Pre-COVID they delivered groceries within the day, but since so many people are using the service, you might have to wait a few days and at times up to a week to get your groceries. So try to shop in advance, way before your pantry runs out. For items that are running low like yes, disinfectant, and flour (because everyone’s baking at home), you can choose a replacement. Your shopper will also be in touch with you while shopping to let you know if the item’s not available and if you want a substitution.

2. Cornershop

Cornershop is a famous grocery delivery app in Latin America that expanded their market to Canada just last year. What’s great about this app is that it doesn’t just include more supermarkets, it also gives people access to more pharmacies and other shops within the area. The bad news is it’s only available in Toronto for now. With grocery shops getting more and more crowded in GTA, this has been a great option for Torontonians.

The interface will give you what you need right away. You’ll see icons of the stores and the next available date. Because they are in such high demand you might have to check back a few times before you can get an available delivery schedule. But the wait time isn’t as long since most slots will give you the option to have the groceries delivered the following day. Service charge depends on the shop, some charge as little as 10 percent others as much as 25 percent so be sure to read the fine print before you start ordering.

3. Inabuggy

Inabuggy is an app and website based delivery service that serves Toronto/GTA, Ottawa, Vancouver/GVA, Calgary, Edmonton, and Montreal. This app lets you buy groceries and get this, alcoholic drinks too! They can bring you everything you need so you have something to sip during your next virtual happy hour.

Like most others, it’ll ask for your postal code which the app will use to look for shops in your area. It’s a little harder to navigate compared to others because you have to access the drop-down menu every time you need to switch to a different shop, but it offers more nifty features like Inabux, a rewards program that lets users earn money every time they shop using Inabuggy.

There’s also a handy recipes section in case you're are running out of ideas in the kitchen. The best thing about their recipes is that ingredients are not just listed, they can be ordered through the recipe interface. You can choose to add all the ingredients into your cart or add the ingredients one by one. That way you don’t have to go back to the stores and scour the aisles to find them.

4. Spud

Spud specializes in giving people access to organic, and sustainable groceries sourced from local farmers and producers. The company currently serves areas around Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, and Calgary and offers free delivery if you meet the minimum order amount.

All items are neatly organized according to type and category. There’s a nifty section for all the items that are on sale so you don’t have to go through everything if you’re looking for discounted products. Aside from food items they also have non-food items like organic and vegan cosmetics and gluten-free soaps among many others.

5. GOcery

GOcery is a recently launched app that gives users access to Asian stores and supermarkets in a specific area. It’s only available in Toronto right now, though but they are expanding to cover more areas. Their partners include H Mart, Farm Fresh Supermarket, Ranch Fresh Supermarket, Full Fresh, Lucky Moose Food Mart, Field Fresh, and Pacific Fresh Food Market.

Like most others you’ll have to type in your postal code then the app will look for Asian stores near you. To order you need to sign up and create an account. Then you’ll have access to many Asian products you don’t normally find in other grocery stores.

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