Instacart: Ridiculously Easy Grocery Delivery

Last month I took Mia with me on my first solo post-baby business trip. I had great reasons to take her to Boston for four days: mostly I didn't want to go without her, and she also got to meet a very dear friend and her son of the same age. Even better, my friend's nanny offered to watch her while I was working, so it was easy to say yes. 

Even with all those pieces falling into place, I still had to take care of important baby logistics including managing her dairy allergy. We travel quite a bit with Mia and having the right food on hand keeps her comfy AND healthy when we're on the road. Usually that means one of the grownups has to trek to the closest grocery store (drug stores just don't seem to cut it on non-dairy options that are also baby friendly). 

Enter the magic of Instacart. I haven't been able to use it in SF because they don't deliver to my zip code yet :( But our temporary home in Boston was covered.

On the first morning after our arrival I fired up the Instacart app, and most of what I would pick up on my weekly trip to Whole Foods was right there. In less than five minutes my order was ready and I sent it off, seriously shocked at how easy it was! A short while later the phone rangโ€”my Instacart shopper called to make sure the substitution she was selecting for one out of stock item worked since I was ordering so many dairy-free things. I was totally not expecting that amount of attention to detail! I later heard from a chef friend who regularly uses Instacart for his catering gigs and has them deliver huge quantities of groceries on-site to his events. He raved about their consistency and high quality customer service, so my experience wasn't unique. 

I opted for the two hour delivery window but our bag arrived in just over one hour, and and my baby was eating her favorite yogurts, pouches and puffs like we were still at home. She was happy, and I didn't need to step foot in a store to make it happen, which made me SUPER happy.  Just like that, no fuss, no stress, no time wasted. 

The app is super easy to navigate since everything is arranged by category, but search is also readily available if you aren't quite sure where to find something. There's also the option to save lists, shop recipes and share a cart with friends, which seems great for a picnic or camping trip where everyone is pitching in on food. And did I mention they deliver alcohol?

In San Francisco Instacart delivers from specialty stores including Bi-Rite, Rainbow and Falletti, as well as Safeway and Whole Foods and Costco (and you don't need a Costco membership to take advantage of buying in bulk, so keep that in mind for your next party). Instacart and Whole Foods are also teaming up to offer in-store pickup in the near future (a pilot starts in Austin and Boston next month). Can you imagine it? Place your order before you leave the office, hop on MUNI/BART and swing by the store to pick up your groceries without having to wait in that insanely long after work Whole Foods line? Yes please!

To sweeten the pot the kind folks at Instacart are offering Mama's Guide readers $10 off their first order (over $35). Just enter MAMASGUIDE at checkout. Its super easy, and combined with free delivery on your first order it's an awesome deal.

VERDICT: If you haven't tried it, yet what are you waiting for! I've used several grocery delivery services and this was by far the easiest. As soon as my zip is in their delivery zone I'll definitely be a regular user, and as we travel I will take advantage wherever I can.