off to shop for food

How to Procure Food during the Pandemic

Most of us are either under quarantine or are making the effort to distance ourselves during this corona virus threat. We’re realizing that shopping in crowded grocery stores is not a good idea even if we try to social distance. There are several good ways to order online and receive our food during these difficult times. 

It’s important that we take good care of ourselves during this crisis. We need to keep lines of communication open with friends and family. We need adequate sleep and as much exercise as we can find. We also need to eat well and that takes some planning.

Making sure we have a good supply of staples on hand will enable us to keep preparing hearty meals even when we can’t get out to shop. This may be a time to turn back the clock and do some “from scratch” cooking. Hearty homemade soups, tasty homemade breads and the like are not only enjoyable to eat, they’re also satisfying to make. And when we need to supplement the food in our pantries, there are several ways to bring in a fresh supply of goods.

Safety First: It’s essential that we think through the process of receiving the food once it’s ordered for the safety of both the delivery person and ourselves.

  1. While the Center for Disease Control assures us that food itself does not carry the virus, the packaging materials may. 
  2. As much as possible have a contactless delivery. Direct the delivery person to leave the food on a porch or front stairway.
  3. When receiving deliveries of meals from restaurants, immediately remove the food from its packaging, reheat it to minimize contamination and place it on clean dishes. Discard the packaging. Use wipes or bleach water to cleanse hard surfaces such as plastic. After handling any packaging, wash hands thoroughly.
  4. When receiving groceries either at a pick-up point (where the delivery is loaded into your car with no direct contact) or your front door, move the items to a “safety zone” where you can leave non-perishable items for at least 24 hours. Some directives say to leave groceries in your car for three days. Again, cleanse hard surfaces and leave cardboard and other materials that may be contaminated for at least 24 hours before storing.
  5. Wash perishable items before storing.

Online grocery store shopping with either pick-up sites or home delivery

Understandably, these delivery services are terribly overloaded in this circumstance. Many websites have had trouble handling the crush of orders and keeping items in supply. The delivery services that may usually offer same day delivery may now take up to four or five days. Best to plan ahead and not “panic buy.”

In the US

In the U.S. all major grocery stores are offering online shopping with either free pick-up or delivery with a small fee. That would include Fred Meyer, Kroger, Safeway, Albertson’s, and Walmart to name a few.

Instacart offers delivery from a number of grocery stores in the larger U.S. cities.

Peapod fills your online order and shops for you, then delivers to your door.

USGrocer.com is another grocery and household product online shopping site.

There are many specialty delivery services for example Farm Box Direct which delivers fresh organic fruits and vegetables on a regular delivery basis.

In the UK

Ocado is the premier grocery shopping site in the U.K. As with all online shopping at present, they have a backlog of orders.

Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Iceland all offer online grocery shopping and delivery. As with Ocado, the stores do their best to offer discounts and sales prices when available.

Wedeliverlocal.co.uk offers produce and other food items selected from local farms, markets and smaller shops. 

Online food delivery services (usually from local restaurants)

When you’ve been cooped up for a while, it may sound tempting to find the website of a local restaurant and see what is on offer. Many restaurants are struggling to keep their doors open during the closures and ordering a delivery meal or buying a giftcard to use later, will be a way to support your local restaurants.

Services delivering restaurant meals to your door include:

In the U.S.

Grubhub

Door Dash

Postmates   

In the U.K.

Just Eat (they purchased Hungry House, another meal delivery service)

Food Hub 

Deliveroo

Online purchase of meal kits 

Meal kits tend to be the most expensive way to order food into your home, but they have certain advantages. First you select something you know your family enjoys and the kit provides absolutely everything you’ll need to make the meal, including condiments and spices. You’ll prepare the meal at home and enjoy a traditional family meal together. 

Here are some of the top meal kit providers

In the U.S.

Hello Fresh

Blue Apron

Freshly

Purple Carrot

In the U.K.

HelloFreshUK

Mindful Chef

Simply Cook

Abel and Cole

Be well during this difficult time and enjoy healthy meals.