Gephardt: How Much Is Grocery Delivery, E-Commerce Costing Utahns During Outbreak?

Mar 16, 2020, 10:15 PM | Updated: 11:17 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Utahns are flocking to e-commerce to get their groceries and supplies delivered in this coronavirus outbreak.

While that convenience can help us with social distancing experts are encouraging during the pandemic, it does come with a cost.

Most retailers offering delivery have an upfront delivery fee. Some tack on additional service fees, while others fold those costs into higher online pricing. To find out how much more Utah shoppers would pay for delivery, the KSL Investigators went shopping.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods, owned by Amazon, offers free two-hour delivery for Amazon Prime members.

Whole Foods Market is owned by Amazon and touts free two-hour delivery for Amazon Prime Members on orders totaling at least $35. But is it really free? To get the answer, we checked prices on some random foods and supplies both online and in-store.

We price compared items like cereal, laundry detergent, jelly and dog food, among others. And for these items, it turned out the online prices were actually cheaper than the in-store prices – at least for the items that were on sale with bargain pricing. On most products, we found the difference to be fairly small – just cents. One notable exception was an 18-pound bag of dog food that turned out to be over $35 less for Prime members buying online for delivery.

But when it came to regular prices – without the deals – the price tags online and in-store matched at Whole Foods Market. No additional pricing folded into the online prices.

The catch: not everything in the store is available for an online order for delivery. And Whole Foods focuses on natural and organic brands, so it’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison to other chains.

Free delivery is for Prime members only and a membership costs $119 a year.


Walmart offers delivery with fees between $8 and $10, or an annual option.

Walmart tacks on a $7.95 to $9.95 fee to every grocery delivery order. And, like Whole Foods, the retail giant said it will deliver fresh produce. So being quarantined doesn’t mean getting stuck with canned peaches or frozen broccoli for Walmart shoppers.

Even better news: The pricing on each of the seven items on our list matched both online and in-store. We did not find any hidden delivery or upcharge at Walmart. But, some things even online might be out-of-stock like, you guessed it, toilet paper. Walmart recently launched an unlimited grocery delivery service. It is $98 a year, but it saves you from paying a delivery fee for every order.


Customers who drive to Smith’s can save $5 off their delivery fee.

Smith’s offers a delivery service via Instacart that will deliver food and supplies to your door for an additional $9.95. But, if you’re willing to extend your quarantine boundaries to within your car and drive to Smith’s for pickup, that fee is just $4.95.

Like Walmart, every item price at Smiths matched both online and instore listings. That was even true for items marked at discounts for Smith’s Rewards cardholders.


Meanwhile, no sleuthing required at Costco. It says right on the website: “Prices are higher than your local warehouse and include service and delivery.” How much higher?

Well, a five-pound box of children-favorite dinosaur chicken nuggets is $2.50 higher online. A variety box of 30 Mars candies sells for $3.70 higher online, while a pack of Huggies Plus Diapers sold for $7.80 more for delivery online than in-store. In fact, delivery upped the cost of our shopping list of just seven items by over $26. And that would be added to the $60 cost of an annual membership.

Delivery Delays

An overwhelmed industry is experiencing significant delays caused by the surge of orders during this coronavirus outbreak.

Over the weekend, Harmons announced it suspended its E-Shop service of personal shoppers for two weeks as it waits for inventory and demand to even out.

On its website, Amazon said items and delivery from its Whole Foods Market stores might not be available due to the increased demand. We couldn’t get same-day pickup scheduled when we tried ordering from both Walmart and Smith’s. And Instacart, which handles delivery for Smith’s, Costco and several other stores in Utah, warned delivery windows will be limited.

Amazon told us that it’s opening 100,000 new full and part-time jobs across the country in its distribution and delivery networks to meet this surge in demand.

Walmart told us they have had to cancel several orders because many items are out-of-stock.

“We’re offering time slots to customers for as soon as the same day and up to one day in advance, rather than time frames further out. This is a shorter window than we typically offer, but it will allow us to better serve our customers during this busy time,” said Walmart spokeswoman Molly Blakeman.

On Monday, Smith’s announced it’s hiring workers immediately to keep shelves stocked with food and essentials. It told us there are no plans to halt its delivery or pickup service for now.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Matt Gephardt

After a contractor got paid, customers say he stopped responding and walked off the job. (KSL TV)...
Matt Gephardt and Cindy St. Clair

Felony charges for contractor accused of ripping off several Utahns

After a contractor got paid, customers say he stopped responding and walked off the job. A Get Gephardt investigation found this particular contractor has walked off so many jobs it could land him behind bars.
4 days ago
Matt Gephardt and Cindy St. Clair

After new homes flood, residents question if builder or Mother Nature is to blame

Several new homes in a Lehi community flooded during rainstorms earlier this month. When they say the home builder told them they weren’t responsible, they decided to Get Gephardt to investigate.
6 days ago
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: The ‘most used’ photos to catfish victims in romance scams

KSL Investigator Matt Gephardt shows us some of the most widely used photos in romance scams and how we can protect ourselves.
7 days ago
Americans are using their credit cards more often as the economy opens....
Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: The key to saving money on your credit card bills

More Utahns are carrying debt, but the thing is – many of those folks have no idea how much interest they are paying on their debt.
11 days ago
Matt Gephardt and Cindy St. Clair

AmeriGas customers nationwide Get Gephardt after waiting weeks for propane

Calls to Get Gephardt have come from across the country, all having the same problem: missing propane deliveries. So, where’s the gas?
11 days ago
Grant Clark waited for repairs on his car...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Orem man’s auto repairs take 13 months due to parts shortage

If your car needs minor repairs, be prepared to wait. That warning comes from a Utah County man who had to wait for more than a year for his car to get fixed.
13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Gephardt: How Much Is Grocery Delivery, E-Commerce Costing Utahns During Outbreak?