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Which grocery delivery service is least expensive with the fewest errors?

HOUSTON – The coronavirus pandemic pushed many families to try grocery delivery services for the first time. It is so convenient that there is no going back to traditional shopping for some people. But how much more are you paying for that convenience? And where can you get your groceries delivered for the least amount?

We ordered 14 items from six different stores and services to find out who gets it right and where your dollar will stretch the farthest.

Our test

Our original shopping list included these items: 1 pound of bananas, 1 pound of red, seedless grapes, bagged field greens, 1 pound of russet potatoes, Oscar Meyer Beef Cotto salami, 1 gallon of store-brand whole milk, one dozen grade A large eggs, 4 pounds of Imperial sugar, a 16 ounce jar of Jif peanut butter, Pace salsa, Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, one store brand loaf of wheat bread, a 13-ounce package of Nabisco Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies and a 16-count package of Tide pods.

As we unpacked the groceries from each store, we realized we couldn’t compare the receipts and rank which business charged us the most for the items because in many cases, the items were not the same. For instance, we wanted 1 pound of bananas but not every service makes it easy to specify 1 banana or 1 pound of bananas. When one store delivered far more bananas and 18 eggs instead of a dozen, it messed up the sample. In these instances, we threw those items out of our test, counting only the same items from store to store. This makes it easier for you to see which store charges more for certain items as well as the varying delivery fees.

These are the items we ordered, but took out of the test: bananas, red seedless grapes, russet potatoes, Pace salsa (some only had Picante sauce available online), eggs and wheat bread.

Our results

WalMartInstacart
(groceries from Kroger)
Shipt
(ordering from HEB)
HEB (direct)
Store used Favor to deliver
Kroger (direct)
Store used Shipt to deliver)
Dumpling
(groceries from HEB)
HEB
In-store prices of the same items
Delivery fee$7.953.997.00 (free with $35 order)5.0011.9515.00
Personal Shopper fee0004.9500
Platform fee000001.17 (5%)
Driver tip02.00optional$2.30 (10%)optional2.35 (10%)
Subscription fee0$99 annually or $9.99 a month$99 annually000
Service fee02.000000
Mixed field greens1.982.592.392.042.991.981.98
Oscar Meyer cotto beef salami5.475.496.495.635.495.475.47
1 gallon whole milk2.412.692.892.762.691.981.98
Imperial sugar (4 lb)1.962.392.392.022.391.961.96
Jif Peanut Butter - 16 oz2.282.592.692.352.492.222.22
Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup.981.501.191.011.50.98.98
Nabisco Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies - 13 oz2.742.993.292.822.992.562.56
Tide pods - 16 count4.945.995.895.095.994.944.94
Grocery Total22.7626.2327.2223.7226.6323.5323.53
Total with Delivery30.7134.2234.7135.9738.4842.05
Delivered on timeYesYesYesYesYesYes
Missing itemsNoneNoneNoneNoneYes (See below)Forgot the grapes.
Items out of stock/ no substituteNoneNoneNoneNoneMixed field greensNone