A few weeks ago I agreed to review Spud!, an online organic grocery store started in Vancouver. I have received two deliveries over the last month and there are many positives and a few negatives I have to share. I have to disclose at the beginning that I was given a $60 credit to try them out, and I did spend some of my own money as well.
First up the online ordering system.
- A little bit of a learning curve, especially in deciding if you want to make up individual orders or just set some preferences for a harvest (vegetable) box.
- Make sure you add things to the cart or you will need to redo parts of your order.
- If you are to close to your delivery day some items may not be available.
- Once you have set things up you can have a standard delivery, save types of lists (especially nice if you have a predictable eating plan), or check out recipes.
Next the delivery.
- Comes in a large Rubbermaid tote.
- No excess packaging.
- Cool Packs for dairy or frozen items.
- Food was fresh, even being outside for a while.
- Delivery information. Example: how far each of your items travel coming to your door.
- Deliveries are free for orders over a certain threshold depending on your delivery area.
There are a lot of pros to ordering groceries this way. I liked knowing how far my groceries travelled to get to my door. In fact I could have had most of my groceries travel under 100 Km except for my tea and a couple of other things that didn’t come nearly so far. Knowing this has made me think twice about a few of the things I ordered, and I don’t think I need organic yogurt that has travelled about 3000 km. (I am not so crazy that I am giving up my tea though.) I also enjoy that I didn’t have to go to the grocery store and wade through with my two lovely sons. I didn’t have to endure “but Mommy I wanted you to buy that for me.”
I also have to say that the local organic bakeries have fantastic breads. While they are small (and yes I understand that we don’t need to eat as much as we do,) they are incredibly delicious. Again it is sometimes a little surprising what you get. I wasn’t expecting bread, but more a dessert type loaf when I ordered a raspberry white chocolate loaf. It was really good but different.
I am also a little surprised to know how far and wide Spud! has spread in the west. There is delivery service in the Lower Mainland from Aldergrove to Mount Currie (past Pemberton.) Other Delivery areas include Greater Victoria and part of Vancouver Island and Calgary in Canada, and Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles in the US.
I like how involved Spud! is in the community and how dedicated they are to offsetting their carbon footprint. They make donations all the time to local charities and the 22 cent offset that they charge on each order goes to buying carbon offsets. So far this year they have collected over $18,000 to help reduce our carbon footprint.
I didn’t like the amount of time I spent on the computer trying to figure out what I was buying and not having a good idea about how big things were. I am a very visual person and it is difficult for me to really understand what size a 500 g package of cheese or bunch of beets looks like. A good example of how hard it is for me to judge: I bought a bunch of green onions in my first box and it was about the size I would normally expect. So the second order I asked for two bunches and I received two bunches, but they are twice as big as they were the first time. Yay, except I am the only one in the house that eats green onion.
As convenient as it is to have your groceries delivered, in Vancouver we have a space issue in most housing. This brings up the second con for me. Where do you put the rubbermaid tote when you have finished unpacking your groceries? Sure this time it was an effective way to block the path of the mobile infant trying to get at the fireplace, but it was also a tripping hazard for all the other mobile adults and children. I am sure there is a way around this, but I am guessing it means being home at the time of delivery.
Will I keep up with the delivery of Organic food from Spud!? I am not 100% sure. I like the idea of knowing where my food comes from. I like the idea of feeding my children food that has less chemicals and less hands touching it. If I did keep up with the delivery I would need to become a lot more organized and I think I would have to be a lot more stringent about how far away my food was coming from. Of course if I planned our meals and had a better idea of how much food we actually eat and need to make meals this might become more of a habit for us.
Would I recommend Spud! to others? Yes, if you are someone who is making an effort to eat more local organic food I would really recommend Spud. I would also recommend them if you are someone who wants a reliable local delivery of groceries. If you do decide to try Spud! out I have a code to help you out with your first 4 deliveries. You will save $25 over 4 deliveries using the code CRVAN-FLOGWE. Let me know what you think.