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Groceries to Go

Online grocery ordering and meal delivery offer many benefits for busy parents.

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Growing up in Denver, I remember my mom ordering groceries from a local Italian market over the phone. She read her list to the grocer, sometimes chit chatting: “How are the eggplants today?” Or, “Are the tomatoes ripe?” Then around 4 p.m. a delivery boy would be in our kitchen with boxes laden with groceries. At the time, I thought this was how all women did their food shopping.

Later, as a mom with five kids running amok in grocery aisles, oh, how I wished I could have shopped that way! Now busy parents can—thanks to modern technology. You can order groceries, prepared food and pre-measured meal kits from websites while the kiddos are napping, and skip the trip to the store. It’s the latest convenience in grocery shopping brought about by millennials who have grown up buying everything online.

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Much More Than a Time-Saver

Convenience is not the only reason online grocery shopping is spreading like a pat of butter in a hot pan. In many cases, the food costs no more and is fresher than in-store products.

“Relationships with hundreds of farmers and suppliers allow us to send hard-to-find, seasonal ingredients directly to our customers without having the food sit on a shelf for days,” says Allie Evarts, spokesperson with Blue Apron. By buying directly from purveyors, they pass on savings to customers.

Door-to-Door Organics (DTDO) prices are comparable to what you would pay for the same organic food at Whole Foods. “Our merchandising team compares prices on a weekly basis to make sure we are in the range of where our customers shop,” says Cambria Jacobs, vice-president of marketing and customer service for DTDO.

Short of visiting a farm, what better way to teach children about the joy of food than to have it arrive at the front door like a gift? “It’s a nice present every week,” said Door-to-Door Organics customer Kathleen Chambers, mom of 5-year-old Leona. “(My daughter) loves to open the box, and we talk about the different colors of the fruits and vegetables, which part of the plant we eat and why it is good for us,” Chambers says. They also like reading about different local farmers on cards included in the summer and fall local boxes.

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Ah, the boxes. As you can imagine, the footprint from cardboard boxes and packing materials might seem overwhelming, but some companies like Green Chef use eco-friendly materials that are recyclable, reusable and compostable. Their website describes each packaging item and how you can responsibly discard it. Door-to-Door Organics picks up used boxes with each delivery for recycling.

With online shopping, you get what you order and you order what you need. It eliminates impulse buying, over-buying (think of the waste when a recipe calls for a teaspoon of parsley and you have to buy a bunch) and that ever-present temptation of junk food luring kids at the checkout counter.

To cook or not to cook—it’s up to you. These companies deliver the goods to Colorado families. Order food for your family, send a meal to help out a new mom or give a gift card to a single grandparent. Or buy it just because it’s so darn tasty!

Native Denverite Claudia Carbone is an award-winning journalist covering food and travel for magazines and websites.

Where To Order

Check out these great options for online grocery ordering and delivery.

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Blue Apron

blueapron.com

For budding chefs and cooking enthusiasts, Blue Apron ships pre-portioned fresh ingredients for meals to cook, either for two people ($10 per serving) or a family of four ($8.74 each). Meal kits come in refrigerated boxes ensuring freshness for a full day. Delivery is free, and you can skip weeks and cancel anytime. One working mom said Blue Apron has made her “a more adventurous cook” with foods she’s never tried before.

CavemanChefs

cavemanchefs.com

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Want to eat like a caveman but don’t like to cook? Order fully prepared gourmet meals for the paleo diet and other restricted diets on this subscription site. You can call and chat live with a meal plan expert about your dietary needs so they can customize your meals. Order monthly plans from $330 to $750 or by the pound from $365 to $1120 per month. They deliver with UPS prices but pickup locations around metro Denver are free. Coaching on paleo nutrition is also offered as well as complete catering services.

Door-to-Door Organics

colorado.doortodoororganics.com

Louisville-based Door-to-Door Organics customers pick their box size (from $19.99 for a Bitty Box to $49.99 for large plus a $5 delivery fee), then customize their regular produce order by replacing onions for potatoes, for example, or adding items from the Good Food Shop (dairy, meat and seafood, baked goods, snacks and pantry staples). In line with their nutritional values, customers are assured of all natural fresh foods without artificial ingredients, chemicals, hormones or antibiotics from mostly Colorado sources.

Green Chef

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greenchef.com

Like the name implies, Boulder-based Green Chef sends pre-measured organic ingredients for vegetarian, omnivore, carnivore, paleo or gluten-free diets sourced from regional farms and purveyors with sustainable practices. Pricing ranges from $10.49 to $14.99 per serving plus $9 shipping for three dinners a week. Cooking the chef-crafted meals takes no more than 40 minutes each, and you get a balanced meal with about 450-750 calories.

Instacart

Instacart.com

Instacart delivers within two hours from King Soopers, Safeway, Costco (no membership required), Natural Grocers, Whole Foods and Marczyk Fine Foods or a combination of each. The latter three claim prices are the same as in-store. First delivery (over $35) is free; after that it’s between $3.99 and $11.99 depending on delivery time and whether the bill is less or more than $35. Personal shoppers carefully hand pick items and contact you if an order is out of stock. You can even order pet food from Petco.

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Purple Carrot

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Dairies invented home delivery. In Colorado, the Royal Crest “milkman” has been bringing fresh dairy products to homes since 1927. Local farms provide the company with grade A products from cows not treated with hormones or antibiotics. Bread, juice, eggs, bottled water, premade dips and other items can be ordered, too. Order cards placed in the milk box are still used, but online and phone ordering is available as well. Customers return empty plastic milk bottles for reuse.

Schwan’s

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homeshop.kroger.com

Besides groceries, King Soopers HomeShop site delivers wine, beer and spirits (in certain metro areas), flowers, vitamins, diapers and everything most stores carry. Delivery for a two-hour window is $10.95; $5 more for 30 minutes. Some stores have a drive-up lane so you don’t have to get out of your car; pickup charge is $4.95. You can use coupons and your KS shopper card for savings and fuel points. For natural and organic products, visit livenaturally.kingsoopers.com.

Claudia Carbone

Denver native Claudia Carbone is an award-winning journalist covering food and travel for magazines and websites.

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