I first tried out Peapod, the grocery delivery service, after learning about it at a blogging conference I’d attended called BlogHer. Peapod was one of the sponsors and was giving out free delivery certificates to bloggers like me to try the service. I’d known about Peapod for the longest time, but never thought it was available in my area (Pennsylvania) and with my local grocery store (Giant). I was wrong on both fronts.
While Peapod may have started to serve one area of the country, that is no longer true. Peapod was founded in 1989 and is America’s largest online internet grocery shopping and delivery service.
Currently Peapod serves the following markets:
- S.E. Wisconsin
- Rhode Island
- New York
- New Jersey
- Southern New Hampshire
- Washington, DC
- S.E. Pennsylvania
Peapod partners with local grocery stores to bring groceries to your door, literally. So when I lived in the Philadelphia area, Peapod’s partner was Giant Food Stores. Now that I live in New Jersey, I shop Peapod through my local Stop & Shop. Speaking of local Peapod also offers an option to pick up your groceries at your local Stop & Shop or whichever store is its partner. More about that in a bit.
What convinced me to give Peapod a try was this: the representative I met with back then at BlogHer13 told me that Peapod prices items based on the average for your area. I was always under the impression that the Giant in my town was more expensive than Giant supermarkets in other nearby towns–perhaps those who had more competition or attracted a different kind of shopper. So I was excited to see how much cheaper my groceries might be. Also, I learned that Peapod doubles coupons. When you shop Peapod.com, Peapod will double up to $.99 per coupon (unless otherwise specified on coupon)–the same as Giant and Stop and Shop.
Since I originally wrote portions of this post back in 2013, when I first tried the service, I’m going to keep the information that includes my initial impressions of the service. Since I’ve continued to use the service after moving to New Jersey, I’ll add in some up to date thoughts on Peapod as well.
Before I get to my review, and the pros and cons of using Peapod, here are some codes that can help you save money on your first Peapod order:
- Peapod delivers to business. This link can help a business save $50 on a first order.
- Peapod offers pick up service at your local partner grocery store. Peapod will give new customers a promotional code that will give them $15 off their first order. The customer will need to enter the code in the promotional code box at checkout to receive the offer.
- Save $15 off your first home delivery, good through 12/31/15 only.
The pros were that I didn’t have to go to the grocery store at all, and I could shop when it was convenient for me right from my computer (or my Smartphone since there is a Peapod app, too). What I especially liked is that I didn’t have to go through that awful exercise at the supermarket of putting everything in a cart, then taking everything out for checkout, then bagging everything up and putting in my car, then taking everything out of my car into the house to put my groceries away. No, earlier this week the bright green Peapod truck showed up in my driveway, and the driver delivered my groceries right into my kitchen.
Another pro: as I was placing my order on the computer, I was able to toggle over to my favorite online couponing sites like Coupons.com, Redplum and Smartsource to see if I could find any coupons that matched what I had on my list. I found only one, which was kind of a con. Usually, when I food shop, I cash in dozens of coupons. But maybe the fact that I wasn’t buying stuff to use up coupons helped me to spend less money overall.
As far as the cons go, not being able to use as many coupons frustrated me. But it also got me thinking that perhaps when I shop in the physical supermarket with coupons, I’m letting coupons dictate my shopping more than the items on my grocery list. That is still up for consideration.
Another frustration: certain products are not advertised by their brand name, so matching with coupons was harder to do. For example, last week I used Peapod again and chose to buy clementines. On the Peapod site, it just said “clementines mandarin oranges.” But when my order arrived later on, the clementines were actually Cuties Clementines, and I had a $2 off coupon for them that I could have used.
Another con: the products available via the Peapod site were not as extensive as what I might find at my normal grocery store. There were some items I couldn’t find at all–Arm & Hammer Washing Soda being one of them. And others only came in sizes I didn’t want. On the plus side these limitations did help me keep my spending down!
To be honest it felt like a lot of the items on Peapod were actually more expensive than my local Giant. For example, 30 Mule Borax, a 76 ounce box, was $4.69. I know I spend less when I buy it in person. In fact, I went to Giant the next day so I could compare costs in person. Sure enough, Borax there was $4.25.
After the first time I used Peapod, I brought my Peapod order with me to Giant so I could compare all of the prices. Of the 22 items I ended up buying via Peapod, 13 were the exact same price. Of course that means that 9 weren’t–but not all of them were more expensive.
Where I noticed the biggest savings via Peapod was with meat. For example, I bought Top Round London Broil, about 2.5 pounds of it, and paid $6.24. In the Giant store that same meat was priced at $3.99 per pound. That means I would have spent $9.98 at the store.
Another meat savings was with ground sirloin 90 percent lean. On Peapod I paid $3.99 per pound, for only a pound. At the Giant store, that same meat was priced $5.44 per pound.
In meat alone I saved $5.19.
As far as the seven remaining items that were actually more expensive on Peapod, the price difference added up $5.92, meaning with my savings, I spent only $.80 more with Peapod. Plus, I had to tip the driver–I gave him $5.
So right now it looks like I’m in the hole $5.80 for using Peapod. But wait.
Because this was my first order, I saved $20–that was the special they offered to BlogHer attendees. (You can use the links I provided above to save on your first order, too.)
Another way I saved: because I chose a delivery time that was convenient for Peapod versus what was convenient for me, I saved $2 more dollars. Every time I’ve used Peapod since, I’ve always chosen the less convenient time for delivery, if it will shave $2 or $3 off my order.
In the end I came out $16.20 ahead.
Add to that I got a brochure with my order that offers me free delivery for the next 60 days, on orders of $100 or more. (My order totaled $114.96.) So if I shop Peapod every other week for the next eight weeks, I’ll save $31.80 ($7.95 delivery X 4 deliveries.) However, with tipping the driver $5 each time, that’s $20, leaving me with a savings of only $11.80.
So what it comes down to is my time. Is my time worth $11.80? Probably. Plus, I feel like I can do a better job of keeping my grocery spending in check by shopping via a website.
Even better at the holiday time, such as the crazy days before Thanksgiving or Christmas, I can avoid the crowded supermarket all together by using Peapod. Now that’s worth more than money can buy.