The article sums up the current status of one of the predicted next big things: home delivery of groceries. But it also inserts some doubt into how big a thing it will be.
The pluses of home delivery are clear: not having to travel on icy roads in cold climates during the winter, not having to spend money on gas and spend precious time going to the grocery store, as well as other perks, all of which might be worth the added costs of home delivery. But old habits die hard, and if most people really feel that going to a grocery store is an entertaining adventure, where seeing, squeezing, and smelling the fruit is of prime importance, then maybe the home delivery notion has gotten a little too big for its britches.
"For many shoppers, going to the supermarket isn't a chore, but a weekly adventure. Paying for the privilege of not having that fun makes no sense to them."
"People love the sensation of the supermarket, the fresh baked cookies, the smells of the delicatessen, leaning about new products by looking at shelves," Deighton, a grocery delivery expert, said. "A lot of people in the world think of going to the supermarket as entertainment."
In the UK home delivery has been popular for many years. Personally I like to select the food I will buy myself since the quality varies a lot. It can be fun to go to the store too. But it could be a real convenience for those who cannot easily make it. The elderly for example. I'm not sure if you could rely on it in bad weather as if you didn't want to drive out I doubt the grocery store will want to put its drivers at risk too.
I might add: if in the USA, it's true that 90% of the people live within 10 miles of a Walmart store, then the cost and hassle of going to the store is not much. But, as I can attest from personal experience in Boston, going 10 miles often takes an hour, which is likely the case in several metro areas. And in these metro areas, many people do not use cars, and rely on subways, buses, and leg power. We'll see how it pans out.
"The USDA defines what's considered a food desert and which areas will be helped by this initiative: To qualify as a “low-access community,” at least 500 people and/or at least 33 percent of the census tract's population must reside more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store (for rural census tracts, the distance is more than 10 miles)."
This is a good point, because for millions of people the home grocery delivery/ go to grocery store issue is a moot issue, for they can't afford the former and cannot access the later. The fact that this lack of access to nutritional food problem has been around and talked about for way too many years puts a damper on one's hope for a soon to be realized solution to the problem.
"By 1973, "desert" was ascribed to suburban areas lacking amenities important for community development. Cummins and Macintyre report that a resident of public housing in western Scotland supposedly invented the more specific term "food desert" in the early 1990s. The phrase was first officially used in a 1995 document from a policy working group on the Low Income Project Team of the UK's Nutrition Task Force."