Marin grocery delivery is becoming a popular option for an increasingly time-starved population that would rather go hiking or spend time with family than navigate a grocery cart up and down the aisles each week.
When I originally wrote this article back in 2016, grocery delivery was seen as a convenience for time-starved Marin. Now with the COVID-19 crisis, it has become more and more essential especially for vulnerable populations. In that spirit I am continuously updating this list. If you have an addition or correction, please add it to the comments section at the bottom of this article and I will update the list within 24 hours, often sooner. It takes a village!
Grocery delivery services in Marin are experiencing understandable delays but are still functioning as of this writing. Stores are changing their policies and procedures for delivery, implementing waiting lists for new customers in some cases. Grocery delivery requires planning ahead — in some cases up to 2 weeks depending on the market or service below.
Update on 4/2/2020: Delivery windows are still tough to get, with United Markets having an 8 day waiting list for curbside pickup and 2 week wait for delivery. I was able to use Instacart last night to order from Sprouts market and the experience went well. I was even able to text my shopper while he was in the store and substitute items and add to the order while he was shopping.
Update on 4/20/2020: The new Amazon/Whole foods delivery window process seems to be helping and windows are much easier to obtain now. Those who have not shopped online in the past for Whole Foods delivery are now placed on a waiting list.
Update on 4/27/20: Whole Foods has now added curbside pickup as an option when delivery is sold out on their website. I placed an order today and received a same-day delivery window.
Here are the companies currently delivering groceries in Marin County:
(in no particular order)
Amazon/ Whole Foods: As of March 2020, it appears Amazon Fresh and Prime Now have been discontinued in favor of direct ordering from Amazon.com on their Whole Foods & Prime Now pages. We have been using it during the COVID-19 / Corona crisis and have really appreciated the speed and quality of the service. Some items are not available or “stock out” after your order, but Amazon is good about keeping you informed as “your shopper” fills your order. Orders north of Sir Francis Drake are filled from the Novato store, while orders south are filled from the Mill Valley Blithedale Store, and the San Rafael store is now offering curbside pickup. (Thanks to Brian Woodson for this information!)
They offer free delivery for orders over $35.00 if you are willing to accept 2-hour delivery windows. For one hour windows they charge an additional $4.99 fee as of this writing. You can also select “curbside pickup” from any store in Marin if delivery is sold out. They have an array of produce, meats, staples and even floral items offered in the program. I was impressed that on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend last year at 5:30 pm I was still able to select same-day delivery windows. Having said that, during the COVID-19 crisis windows are often “sold out” but check throughout the day as they do open new ones. The delivery vehicles that bring your food are passenger vehicles and appear to be re-purposed Uber / Lyft drivers from what I can tell. Click here to begin your Whole Foods delivery order.
”Instacart does not maintain warehouses or trucks. Instead, the service is assembled out of found parts — existing supermarkets, willing part-time workers and their cars. The model has many advantages.”
— The New York Times
2. INSTACART: Instacart is a venture-capital funded company based in San Francisco, and has a unique model. They contract with part-time workers (ala Uber) who do your shopping for you at local markets and bring your groceries to your home. These workers (“personal shoppers”) sometimes sit in their cars in parking lots of local markets, waiting for an order to come through on the app. They then quickly fill your order — all the while providing status updates on the Instacart app on your mobile phone.
Here is what they have to say about pricing on their website: “Retailers set the prices of products available for delivery on the Instacart platform. In some cases, prices may be higher than in-store. Although Instacart may not honor in-store discounts, we do offer exclusive coupons for select items.” It appears that deliveries over $35 are “free” but they also say that there may be “fees” added and that there is surge pricing during busy times. They used to offer a $149 per year membership but I no longer see mention of that on their website.
Take note that tipping is encouraged — they automatically add a 10% tip to your order which you can revise up or down in the final checkout process.
3. United Markets: Marin’s United Markets has also jumped into the Marin grocery delivery market with two different options. There’s a $9.98 flat-fee option, as well as a $5.98 store pick up (San Rafael only) option. Prices are the same as in store, and there are no membership fees. They do not offer deliveries on Thursdays or Sundays. Learn more by watching the Youtube video here or visiting their delivery “how it works” page here.
4. Safeway Markets: In addition to their partnership with Instacart (above), Safeway also offers their own grocery pick up service, called “Drive Up & Go.” They offer 6-hour pickup windows and the fee is $3 for orders under $150. They no longer operate their own delivery service in Marin County and now rely upon Instacart (above) for that service.
5. Good Eggs: Serving southern and central Marin up to Terra Linda (sorry, Novato!), Good Eggs is another San Francisco startup that has joined the Marin grocery delivery scene. According to their website, they “curate a marketplace full of the best local, organic produce, sustainable meat and fish, and delicious grocery staples.” There are no membership fees, and delivery is free on orders over $60 and $7.99 on orders less than $60. They also have a peak fee of $3.99 during their “busiest times” which are mornings until noon and most evenings until 9 pm. Selection is smaller than the the other options, but my gourmet friends in Marin will love their selection of charcuterie, cheeses and organic produce.
6. Mill Valley Market: Mill Valley market has added curbside pickup (just open your trunk) and delivery to Mill Valley addresses to help during the COVID-19 crisis. Thank you to Janet Dresser for this tip / information!
7. Andy’s Local Market: Andy’s Local Market (Sun Valley, Loch Lomond, Corte Madera) has just added free delivery for orders over $25. I do not know if they are offering curbside pickup at this time – please add any info you have in comments below and I will add to this section.
8. Good Earth Natural Foods: Good Earth (Fairfax & Mill Valley) is now delivering to Fairfax and Mill Valley only. The delivery fee is $15 + a fulfillment fee of $4.98 so total delivery fee is $19.98. Delivery windows are selling out, according to their site. There is also a $50 order minimum. You may click here for more details.
9. Marinwood Market: Marinwood Market in Lucas Valley is now offering curbside pickup on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday and Fridays only. According to Pat Soberanis: “For curbside pickup at the Marinwood Market, order the day before by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and pick it up the next day. Someone will put your groceries in your car. Open your trunk, so the delivery person doesn’t need to touch your car. You need to leave your credit card under the windshield wiper and they will take it inside, swipe it, and bring it back to you. They can accept EBT if you are willing to go into the store just to swipe the card and enter your PIN. Your PIN shouldn’t be given out.”
If I have missed any Marin grocery delivery options, please add them in the comments below and I will update this article. As always, if I can be of any assistance with your Marin real estate needs, please text or call me at 415-847.5574.