Instacart price comparison, how much does grocery delivery really cost you?

A basket of groceries on a grocery check-out conveyor belt
Photo from Flickr Creative Commons: qmnonic.

 

Instacart, a grocery delivery service especially marketed to busy young professionals such as myself, has started offering their services in Houston, Texas. I was curious how much it really cost to use their services. Luckily, I had my last grocery receipt, so I decided to do a comparison. In short, to use Instacart would cost me about $30 more for $70 worth of groceries, so a 43% increase!

Additional observations:

  • Instacart did not have quite a few of the items I regularly buy. Apparently they will grab anything not listed for you, but I have no idea how much more that would cost. 
  • They did not have the full selection of produce, which would cause me to make some adjustments that included buying much more expensive options (such as the organic cucumbers below).

 Details of the comparison:

Item H-E-B (Alabama St. Houston) Price Instacart price for same store
Clear Care Lens treatment 20.97 25.39
Hill Country Body Wash 3.23 3.99
Orti Di Calabria Marinara Sauce 5.99 7.29
HEB 1% ½ Gallon Milk 1.98 2.69
HEB Sparking Water 3.29 Unflavored not offered, only lime.
Frozen Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts 6.98 Not found
Tandori Naan Bread 2.88 Not found
6 pack Central Market Dried Cranberries 1.49×2=2.98  2.09×2=4.18
Cherries (.85 lbs) 5.98 6.09
Fuji Apples (7 apples) 3.81 5.95
Clif Bar 1.00X2=2.00 Not found
HEB Brie Double Crème 4.98 4.89
Chobani Greek Yogurt, individual plain 1.18 1.49
Poblano pepper (1 lb) 1.78 Not found
Red seedless grapes 3.12 4.79
Asparagus 2.98×2=5.96 4.89×2=9.96
HEB baby carrots 1.48 4.89
Cucumber .68×2=1.36 Could only buy organic, at 4.89 eachx2=9.78
HEB Pumpernickel Bread 3.48 3.09
Farmhouse Cage Free eggs 2.69 3.29
Taxes 2.00 Included
Delivery fee None 3.99
Total (only including items found on InstaCart) $71.19 $101.75

2 thoughts on “Instacart price comparison, how much does grocery delivery really cost you?

Add yours

  1. So, I had my first Instacart experience here in Atlanta recently and I’m a bit ticked off.

    Now, I know that they have got to make money off more than the delivery fee, so I expect that there is a margin built into the prices I see online. But when I agree to pay $6.99 for a pound of ground beef, and the beef comes marked with a “special price” of $4.99, I send Customer Service a note asking if they are really pocketing the difference, or are going to credit me.

    Their rep comes back and says that they can’t offer credits for sale prices, so they just made at least a 40% markup on that item. At the end of the day, I know I’m paying for convenience. But that seems a little rich. How many items, without a price marked on them, did I also just get jacked on?

    Also, I’m guessing that Instacart pockets the loyalty rewards and discounts from my local Kroger, and that they are somehow getting some of the back-end from the store as well.

    Will I use them again? Sparingly, and only in a pinch. Can I wait for Amazon to enter my market? Nope – the sooner the better.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Tom. I would be frustrated if I were you too! I actually saw a guy buying groceries yesterday representing InstaCart.

      That’s a really good point about store loyalty and other points.

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