What is Grocery Delivery?

A bag of groceries from a grocery delivery company.
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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 March 2014
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Grocery delivery is something that has been around, in one form or another, for centuries. From its initial introduction to the consumer, grocery stores have always had some delivery component to them. Now, as consumers demand more conveniences, and the Internet is becoming an increasingly popular commerce tool, grocery delivery is again experiencing a new resurgence. However, its future is still in doubt.

At the beginning of the 20th century, grocery stores were run much different than they are today in many places, including most of the United States. A list would be taken to a grocery clerk or stock person, then it would be filled by that person. The grocery delivery could be merely to the counter, or it may be delivered directly to the home, depending on the arrangement and willingness to pay.

Other types of grocery delivery also happened throughout the first half of the 20th Century. Dairy, eggs, and ice were just a few of the products that were delivered as part of regular routes. While the invention of affordable refrigeration quickly led to the elimination of these services, they were a very vital part of grocery delivery for decades.

Now, the Internet has a new form of ordering and grocery delivery. Non-perishables can be delivered from all corners of the globe, either by parcel service or through the mail. Either way, there are plenty of options available for such items.


Some local grocery stores have also dabbled in the grocery delivery business, with various levels of success. For example, some stores offer online ordering. Once a user picks their desired products, the order is then sent to the local grocery store, which then offers grocery delivery via third-party carrier or a store employee.

Although many have tried this strategy of grocery delivery, some stores have given up on the practice, at least temporarily. High fuel prices and a lukewarm reception are some of the reasons for this suspension of services. If the practice gains widespread acceptance among other grocery chains, there is a chance grocery stores that had given up on the practice will try again. Often, it may take more than one attempt before a new service is fully accepted.

In addition, some companies, such as Schwan's, run large refrigerator and freezer trucks on specified routes, much like the milk man used to do. However, instead of delivering only dairy products, these companies deliver a variety of frozen goods. Schwan's has been doing business much the same way since 1952.


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