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Grocery delivery services put to the test; what to expect when you order online

Consumer 10’s Clay Gordon tested four companies that deliver groceries in the Columbus area.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Use of grocery delivery services skyrocketed during the height of the pandemic, and consumer research shows more growth in this area of shopping. 

Consumer 10 put grocery delivery services to the test in Central Ohio. 10TV ordered from four grocery stores and retailers to compare accuracy, speed and delivery fees.

All the orders were almost identical to compare prices – the same driver tip and delivery window were selected.

Here's what we found:

Delivery times

All four orders were delivered either during the scheduled timeframe, or earlier. One local grocery store arrived 30 minutes early. Another arrived eight minutes into the one-hour window. A big-box retailer arrived five minutes early, and an online e-commerce service arrived with 23 minutes to spare.

Delivery fees

The big-box retailer had free delivery but it requires a monthly subscription that can be canceled with 15 days. 

The two grocery chains had a $9.95 delivery or service fee. 

The online retailer had free delivery when items were above $35, but a monthly subscription costs $12.99.

Credit: WBNS-10TV
Credit: WBNS-10TV

Order accuracy

In the order from the big-box retailer, five cans of premium white chicken breast were substituted for two larger cans of the same product. It saved a little money, but there was not as much chicken per ounce. 

One grocery chain did not have five cans of premium white chicken breast. It delivered three and then offered four smaller cans of the same product to fill the difference. It was $0.38 more and 5 ounces less of product.

Tips for ordering groceries online:

  • Order early so you can select the delivery window that works for you. 
  • Check your store’s fees.
  • Look at the receipt to make sure everything you wanted arrived.

In total, 110 pounds of food were delivered to 10TV. Every ounce was donated to the Mid-Ohio Food Collective.

“Protein is always a big demand item. Shelf-stable food as well that's always important. You've got your tunas, your various meats, peanut butter is also big,” said Malik Perkins of Mid-Ohio Food Collective. “We know those shelf-stable items and items like that are important for families.”

Mid-Ohio Food Collective says the National Guard is no longer assisting them with volunteers. If you are interested in helping, click here.