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30 July . 2018

Trends of convenience: in-home food delivery saves time, reduce stress

Even when great shopping and restaurants are just a few miles away, as they are for Sweetwater residents, having groceries, takeout food and other goods delivered can be a huge convenience. Splitting the difference between home delivery and traditional shopping, many companies are also offering curbside pickup for orders.

It seems like innovative new shopping options are expanding almost every week, to the point where even fast-food chains such as Chick-fil-A are testing meal kits for home delivery. As of now, here are four growing trends that are offering new levels of convenience for today’s families.

Groceries. Shoppers now enjoy the best of all worlds when it comes to getting groceries. There’s still the old-fashioned, DIY way of grabbing a cart, browsing the aisles and picking out everything for yourself. Then there’s the growing array of conveniences, such as curbside and in-store pickup from H-E-B, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Target, Walmart and others. You order from a website or app. There’s typically a modest fee, which many stores will waive for your first few orders. You can also get home delivery from many of these stores, as well as from services such as Instacart and Amazon Prime Now. Delivery times range from same-day service to within 2 hours.

Restaurants and prepared food. An increasing number of restaurants are joining the rush to home food delivery, to the point where Uber Eats has tripled the number of restaurants it lists in the past year. A report titled “Is the Kitchen Dead?” from investment bank UBS predicts that, within the next 20 years, the majority of meals will be ordered online instead of cooked at home. For now, a growing number of popular apps such as Uber Eats, Favor, DoorDash and others are bringing every cuisine imaginable right to the front door.

Meal kits. The meal-kit category, popularized by companies such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, is getting increasingly crowded. Blue Apron and Hello Fresh are still among the top five most-visited subscription box sites, with each getting about 3 million monthly visits to their websites. These companies especially appeal to millennials’ enthusiasm for a personalized cooking experience they can share on social media. They also fit in with the growing trend to eat fresh, healthy food and to make cooking an experience. There are even vegetarian and vegan meal-kit services such as Purple Carrot.

Other services. Beyond food and grocery delivery, many other services are answering the needs of today’s time-starved and convenience-seeking consumers. These include errand services such as Ikea-owned TaskRabbit, which lets users hire independent “taskers” for household chores. There are even apps for dog walkers and sitters that provide GPS maps of the walks and potty updates.

With all the time you’ll save with these convenient services, check out our Area Guide to see all the Hill Country attractions you can enjoy near Sweetwater.