A breakdown of Toronto’s best grocery delivery services

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Just about anything can be delivered to your door these days, including groceries. We tested four grocery gatherers to find out which service might be right for you.

Grocery Gateway

Use it when
You want gourmet groceries—and perhaps some adult beverages to go with them.

Shop from
Only Longo’s, the operator of Grocery Gateway since 1997. But if you’re ordering groceries, you can also add LCBO purchases.

How it works
There’s a $50 minimum order, plus a delivery fee that starts at $7.99. Same-day delivery is available if you order by noon. Deliveries are made during a 90-minute window.

What we ordered
A certified Angus rib-eye, red-skinned mashed potatoes, a bunch of asparagus, a block of roquefort cheese, a filone baguette, a miniature mocha cakelet by Dufflet and a bottle of McManis cabernet sauvignon.

The takeaway
The online shopping experience was the best of the services we tested, with features like auto-reordering and pre-selected “cart starters” filled with smartly grouped necessities.

Instacart

Use it when
You want groceries, but also maybe a thing or two from Walmart and some hard-to-find imported snacks.

Shop from
Loblaws, T&T Supermarket, Walmart, Valumart, Real Canadian Superstore, Shoppers Drug Mart, Bulk Barn, Pusateri’s, and more.

How it works
There’s a delivery fee that varies by order size and delivery time, and a service charge. Deliveries can be made in as little as one hour, or you can order up to six days in advance. Personal shoppers message customers to suggest alternatives for items that are unavailable.

What we ordered
Takoyaki potato chips, matcha-flavoured Pocky, White Rabbit candy, bottled coffee beverages, banana-flavoured milk and house-made pastries with red-bean and taro fillings, all from T&T.

The takeaway
Perfect for regular grocery runs and steering clear of the weekend Walmart crowds. Repeat customers can subscribe to Instacart Express to save on delivery fees.

Fresh City Farms

Use it when
You want to keep that farmers’ market vibe going all year long.

Shop from
A large catalogue of organic, small-batch, artisanal or local suppliers that have been chosen by Fresh City.

How it works
There’s a $27 minimum order, plus a delivery fee of $3 to $3.50 that’s waived for orders of $75 and up. Delivery days vary by neighbourhood. Orders arrive between noon and 9 p.m., but you don’t need to be home.

What we ordered
A loaf of double-fermented multigrain from Prairie Boy Bread, fancy butter from Emerald Grasslands, a dozen duck eggs from HOPE Eco-Farms, bone-in pork loin chops from Field Gate Organics, blue cheese from Thornloe and organic turnips and spaghetti squash.

The takeaway
If you’re a picky foodie with a taste for excellent butter, this is the service for you.

Inabuggy

Use it when
You want stuff from a whole bunch of different places—including Costco.

Shop from
Costco, The LCBO, Beer Store, Cheese Boutique, Summerhill Market, McEwan Grocery, Rexall Pharma Plus, FreshCo and others.

How it works
You pay $19.98 for the first store, and $9.99 for each additional store. Deliveries can be made in as little as one hour, or you can schedule a delivery up to three days in advance.

What we ordered
Chili-stuffed olives, Napoli pepperettes and a hunk of Beemster cheese from McEwan; prepared chicken-and-sundried-tomato pasta, organic tortilla chips and six-layer dip from Summerhill Market.

The takeaway
With the range of stores offered—groceries, booze, pharmaceuticals—you may never need to leave the house again, assuming you don’t mind the delivery fees.

 

This is an updated version of a story that originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of Toronto Life magazine. To subscribe, for just $29.95 a year, click here.