Although I like to think that I’m not too much of a technophobe, I’ve always been a bit suspicious of online shopping. I suppose it is just that there is something so reassuring about going into the shop and holding an item in your hands before parting with your hard-earned cash, and you have only to read Suburban Turmoil’s hilarious blog post about buying cheap clothes from Singapore to appreciate some of the dangers of buying from the internet. Having said all this, I must admit that carrying my olive oil and pesto home from the supermarket has become something of a drag – quite literally – and so when given the opportunity to test out a solution to my first-world problem, I thought it was worth a shot.
The Grocer bills itself as a gourmet food home delivery service and sells a wide-range of quality produce, including organic meat and fruit and veg, a good selection of cheeses, wines and soft drinks, as well as all your pantry staples. The website is very user-friendly, with lots of pictures and helpful categories to make browsing easy, as well as a useful search box if you have something specific in mind. The site also gives you comprehensive product details, including weight, ingredients, country of origin, organic certification and even transportation method, allowing you to make environmentally-friendly and health-conscious choices where you can. What’s more, it will even helpfully remember your usual purchases, making subsequent orders quick and simple – perfect for busy mamas who are short on time.
Now, I must admit that the word ‘gourmet’ had made me fear that this would be something of an expensive shop – and would have to be classed as a rare indulgence, along with spending longer than 10 minutes in the shower in the morning or finishing a book in peace. Pleasingly though, it all seemed fairly competitively priced. It goes without saying that the organic products weren’t low-cost, but then of course, when you can, it is nice to be able to spend those extra dollars for quality and peace of mind. Many of my usual buys though – such as my yummy Yeo Valley yoghurt, boxes of muesli and jars of peanut butter – were actually cheaper than my local supermarket, and many other products were around the same price. We even ordered a couple of items from their homemade ‘ready meals’ selection – a Thai red curry with king prawns and Thai chicken satay with crunchy peanut sauce – which worked out cheaper than our local takeaway.
Besides the reasonable value, I was also pleasantly surprised by the range of products on offer. There was paneer cheese (a rare find in my neighbourhood) as well as passata – which rarely graces our local supermarket shelves. There was also a good selection of fresh herbs, including kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and Thai and standard basil. And then, on top of all this, delivery is free, as long as your order comes to a minimum of $500 (or $1,000 for customers in the New Territories).
And so, my order complete as well as delivery address and credit card details supplied, I looked forward to my order arriving the next day. And thankfully, this all went smoothly as well – I received an immediate email confirmation, as well as a phone call to double-check my requested delivery time and any special instructions, which was then followed up by a WhatsApp message on the delivery day to let me know the driver was on his way!
All my shopping made it to me safe and well packed within insulated bags and boxes, and all the frozen goods and perishables were still suitably chilled. I was pleased to note that all the products were well within their sell-by date and the quality matched that on the website. The large tub of hummus with harrisa was particularly delicious and the appetising lamb sausages made by The Three Butchers are being saved for a mid-week treat!
Speaking of which, our homemade Thai dishes were also very tasty – and although perhaps we would have liked a couple more prawns in the curry, they offered good value and a welcome break from cooking!
So, I think I’ve officially converted! And although I won’t be ordering any cheap fashion from NastyDress.com anytime soon, I think I will be swapping the challenge of maneuvering crazy shopping trolleys around narrow aisles whilst my 3 year old enthusiastically pulls things off the shelves, for this altogether more relaxed and time-efficient shopping experience from The Grocer.