Instacart versus Amazon Prime Now versus Mercato

I thought I would start a new thread for people in the L.A. area who are using grocery delivery services to compare their experiences with Instacart versus Amazon Prime Now versus Mercato.

I had a good experience with Mercato earlier this week – ordered eggs and cheese from the Beverly Hills Cheese Store Sunday night, no problem getting a Monday delivery date and everything I ordered arrived earlier Monday than even anticipated - with nothing out of stock. By contrast, I have not even been able to get Amazon Prime Now delivery dates, although perhaps that will ease up in the near future.

Had an awful experience yesterday with Instacart – not really Instacart’s fault, but just the situation being what it is. The only thing I really wanted was Siggi’s yogurt (I’ll explain my obsession with Siggi’s below). Most of the places on Instacart didn’t show Siggi’s as available or they were limiting quantities to one yogurt (at which point, why bother). Sprouts through Instacart showed the 4% fat available (which is the kind I prefer because it has less sugar grams) and you could order 2 each of the 3 flavors available, meaning I could score 6 yogurts. So I placed an order. Of course, it turns out that actually no Siggi’s was available and the Instacart shopper started substituting other high sugar brands of yogurt and then I had to chat with him and reject all the substitutions. So even though I had only placed the order to get Siggi’s, but had added a few other things just to reach the minimum order, I ended up only with a carton of eggs and some kale. For a very high delivery fee and, of course, I tipped the guy generously because it wasn’t his fault and he was out working and exposing himself to the virus so deserved a high tip for his efforts. Essentially, however, I concluded that Instacart is a waste of time during this pandemic.

My obsession with Siggi’s. Learned about it recently from someone who did a medical weight loss program through a major university program. Apparently your yogurt should have about 12-15 grams of protein per serving (which I guess most Greek-style yogurt does because Greek is higher in protein) for about 100-140 calories a serving and should have less sugar and carb grams than protein (which is hard to find unless you buy plain yogurt and I like a tiny bit of sweetness). Anyway through that discussion, I became acquainted with Siggi’s (of which I had previously never heard) because Siggi’s is what all the people in this weight loss program are told to eat. I ending up falling in love with Siggi’s. It is ever so slightly sweetened and I don’t feel the need to add artificial sweeteners and I find it more palatable than completely plain yogurt.

I know some are struggling with their weight during this pandemic, but I have actually lost 3 of the 10 pounds I gained last fall and winter when I was both having too many fancy restaurant meals and stress eating at work by hitting Randy’s Donuts at the Century City mall in the late afternoon. It is easier for me to maintain my weight when I’m not tempted by delicious restaurant food and when I don’t have access to junk food. Holed up inside, if I’m stressed in the afternoon, I now don’t have access to junk food (just to a rapidly declining stash of Siggi’s).

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Cake or death gif

I’m not making fun; I appreciate the rationale you present later in the post, it just cracked me up.

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I have had success using Amazon to order from Whole Foods if I try before 7 am and choose 2 hour delivery window. The Brea store shows the apple cinammon siggis in stock but appears to have a limit of 1.

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@JRSD I suspected that ordering before 7:00 a.m. was the trick. This has been such a crazy time that I have been working past midnight every night and then sometimes on conference calls as early as 4:00 a.m. so the first window I usually get to try to order from Amazon Prime Now has been in the late morning when there are no delivery slots left.

I know these are first world problems and that I am more fortunate than people who are sick or people who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic and who are worried about paying rent and putting food, any food, on the table. However, I have a tendency to put on weight unless I am hyper-vigilant and I don’t want to emerge from this crisis overweight and/or diabetic, especially since we are learning that diabetics do much more poorly with the virus.

Stay safe everyone.

I think the slots open at 12:01 so may work if you try before sleep.

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It seems like Instacart shoppers compete with regular customers in the supermarket.

Is there a delivery service where they pick from a warehouse instead of a store?

I think they’re all likely to be problematic at the moment since they’re all hiring new people to keep up with demand.

Yes, and it’s called Fresh Direct and it operates only in New York and New Jersey. I learned of it from someone here on this Board. I placed an order on Monday from Fresh Direct for an elderly relative in NYC and I couldn’t get a delivery date until this coming Sunday, but I’m assuming that I will get everything I ordered for my relative as opposed to Instacart where they don’t end up delivering what you ordered because, as you point out, when their shopper is at the store he or she has to compete with regular shoppers in the supermarket. And I assume since Fresh Direct has its own inventory, it has a better handle of what is or will be in stock as opposed to Instacart which is trying to show inventory of third parties that it doesn’t control.

Erewhon has its own delivery, which we got today with a minimum of fuss. $20 extra for delivery vs pickup (plus, you know, the other extra cost of it being Erewhon). They were unable to fill a few things we ordered but overall it was fine.

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I just ordered from Albertson’s for pick up on Sunday. You park in a designated space, text them that you are there, and they load the groceries in your trunk. All for $5 service fee. If it works out, this is what I’m doing from here on out. I’ll update the post.

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Much appreciate this thread. Had never heard of Mercato. Thanks!

I’m awaiting my first Mercato delivery. Love the options! Also, they let you know when your delivery will arrive, as opposed to Amazon Fresh / Whole Foods, who let you put all your items in the cart then tell you there’s no delivery date available and basically to try again later.

Will let you know how it goes.

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@TheCookie, yes let us know how it goes and what you ordered. Even post-pandemic, I think I will continue to use Mercato. Even in the good old days, I hated going to the Cheese Shop of Beverly Hills because parking is a hassle in Beverly Hills and because on weekends that place is a zoo with long waits. The fact that I can have a world of cheese at my fingertips for quick delivery is mind-blowing.

Last night I took some kale that I had steamed the day before and had refrigerated and sauteed it in my favorite olive oil and then threw in eggs and some parmesan cheese and it was sublime. In these crazy times, it helped to have a sublime meal.

Yesterday, I also ordered some copper river salmon from these people. https://www.senasea.com/ Should be here next week.

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Yup we’ve been braving in person trips to the grocery store because Amazon Fresh / Whole Foods was so frustrating. You spend an hour trying to fill your cart because so many things are unavailable, only to go to check out and be told there are no delivery times available.

OT, but this situation has given me a new appreciation for our little local market, Allen’s at Washington and Dell in Venice. They’re stocked with most of the essentials, although paper products still disappear quickly. We went there a couple days ago looking for eggs and what they had available were restaurant supply style flats of 30 eggs for $9.99. Not organic or free range, but they’ll do. And walking three blocks home carefully carrying a flat of 30 eggs was entertaining. Plus Allen’s also has a more than decent selection of wines :wine_glass:

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i’m going to address your Siggi addiction. Got some left? Take a quart of good whole milk and make your own Siggi. It’s so easy, you bring milk up to almost boil (185), then cool it down to about 120 when you’ll add 1/2 cup of Siggi premixed with some warm milk. Let that sit in a warm place overnight. Then leave it in the fridge for the next day and you have yogurt. Want twice as much? Double it. The cultures you use for starter will yield the final product to be almost the same.

i just went to Ralphs for the first time in 2 weeks and hated it. Had to go because the first time slot from Instacart i was able to get was 5 days away. We’ve been able to do most of our fresh shopping from the original farmers market (seems saver outdoors… few people, gloves on) . Want to check out Mercato

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I know. :hearts: Mercato almost seems too good to be true. They have way more available resources than the other guys. After going thru a bunch of BS filling up my Amazon Fresh cart I was so relieved that I just ordered a lot of staples this time. But they offer everything for when we want to go swanky. Of course, as soon I placed my order Amazon Fresh miraculously messaged me with an available date. Too late.

Side note: for those thinking of using Mercato for major grocery shopping you may not get a delivery right away, but at least they give you an exact date instead of making you constantly check-in, and they have a lot more stuff.

Thanks @LAgirl!

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Yep, it’s the little things. I found a hidden bottle of sterile alcohol in my cabinet and it was like finding a $100 bill. :blush:

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Or if you’re too lazy to warm the milk (like us), ferment a mesophillic yogurt like Vilii (Finnish) that requires only mixing, no heating. Super easy. You do need to refresh every 7 days, so travel (haha) requires a babysitter.

We do Vilii with Strauss cream and it will yield something even more glorious than Siggi’s IMHO. Happy to share starter and directions. Just PM me.

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Isn’t it a little early for Copper River Salmon?

Supposed to be a great year for King. Not so much for Sockeye. Usually starts in May.

I’m confused. Copper river has king, sockeye AND coho?
Yes if like to see steps for the finnish yogurt. Just did another batch of mine yesterday

Mercato isn’t that great In Orange County, as there is only one store – Electric City Butcher in Santa Ana – whose products are available through their delivery service. That being said, I have used them a couple of times to get some great cuts of meat, but, being butchers, they carry almost no produce. I hope they expand the stores they deliver from.

Mercato is great for you guys in the LA area, as they deliver from all kinds of better stores and butchers over a wide swath of territory, including parts of the Valley.

We’ve been making weekly trips to Bristol Farms in Yorba Linda to buy produce and other stuff. Especially early in the morning, there is almost nobody there yet and shelves are relatively full of most products.

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