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Saturday, August 13, 2022

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The Benefits of Grocery Shopping in Person

Why a trip to the store is your best option for saving the most time and money

Something that has become a huge trend to many, and what now seems like a downright necessity for some, is online grocery shopping. It’s a relatively new concept. A decade ago, everyone had to do all their food shopping at the store itself, but now, all I seem to see is Instacart employees selecting items for their pick-up clients down the aisles!

The percentage of shoppers who arrange for grocery pick up and online ordering is expected to increase substantially in the new couple of years and, for many, including working parents, it’s been deemed an absolute lifesaver. While I can appreciate that, and as much as I love finding ways to be time efficient, I admit that online grocery ordering is something I can’t get on board with. Preference alone, it’s important to remember all aspects when considering what’s best for your wallet and lifestyle and not to ignore some obvious ways that old-fashioned shopping might be the smarter choice. Here are some key points to consider when determining if it’s time to head back to the grocery store.

Appearance Matters. Simply put, no one doing the “dirty work” of selecting items for you is going to have the same motivation to find the freshest-looking loaf of Italian bread or the firmest handful of green beans. I’m sure they do a great job trying to accommodate online requests, but only the actual consumer can control how fresh and nicely packaged grocery items truly are.

Senses Matter, Too. There’s a delicate science behind pressing on an avocado to determine just the right ripeness. And did you know you can figure out how good pineapple is by smelling its bottom? Grocery shopping is an experience that uses all of your senses and those senses can help you find exactly what you need to avoid waste and maximize freshness and enjoyment.

Nutritional Info is Accessible. If you’re looking to eat healthier, it’s easy to compare nutritional information on packaged items and sometimes make an even healthier choice by comparison.

Easier Ways to Save. Just like selecting produce by feel, sometimes you have to see for yourself different options when comparison shopping or when something isn’t available and you’re looking for an alternative. The best way to save money is to shop per unit price, which means the cost per quantity of the item. You’ve got to “see” to save!

It’s Greener. When you’re in charge, not only can you bring your own reusable bags again and again, but you can also avoid buying items that are unnecessarily overpackaged. Plus, all the extra refrigeration needed for online customers uses more energy.

Finally, online grocery ordering might appear to be saving you time, but so can stretch out the frequency of when you’d normally shop by meal planning for longer periods of time. And don’t forget about the extra fees! Whatever you decide, avoiding food waste and maximizing your ingredients and items is paramount.

Debra Caffrey
Debra Caffrey
Debra Caffrey is the writer/editor of the Education and Infant & Pregnancy e-newsletters for Fredericksburg Parent and Family. She also writes the monthly Practical Pantry column, sharing her recipes and tips on being a home cook, grocery shopping, and smart meal planning. Debra is the proud mother of an almost-teenage son. When she's not writing, cooking, or parenting, Debra enjoys working out, yoga, running, hiking, traveling, and reading.

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