You may never have to walk the aisles of a grocery store again.

Consumers in many U.S. cities, including Bakersfield, have more food-shopping options than ever before.

With the addition of UberEATS and Instacart in Kern County this fall alone, at least half a dozen businesses are now offering on-demand grocery and meal deliveries to people’s homes in Bakersfield and the rest of Kern County. Here’s a look at what some of them offer.

Instacart

Based out of San Francisco,Instacart is the newest grocery delivery service to come to town, having opened here Nov. 29. Residents can shop on the company website or phone app, pick the items they want from participating stores and have it delivered to them on the same day and, in some cases, in as little as an hour. Stores such as Costco, Albertson’s, PetCo, BevMo and Smart & Final are participating in the service.

Instacart is available to 164,000 households across the county. Besides Bakersfield, Instacart will be available in Shafter, Lamont, Edison and Weedpatch, among other places.

The company said it is working to hire 100 people in the area to work as shoppers, who will receive the orders from customers, collect the requested items and deliver them.

Purchases can be made through instacart.com. An optional yearly membership is $149. Delivery fees start at $5.99 and go up depending on how fast you want your items delivered, according to the company website.

Albertsons and Vons

Although Albertsons is now a partner with Instacart, the grocery chain has been operating its own grocery delivery service in Bakersfield for some time now. Through the store website and/or app, customers can pick what groceries they want and have them delivered in as little as an hour, seven days a week, between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., according to the website.

The company also offers several deals for shoppers, such as a free item for those who spend $150 or more, free delivery with certain orders, as well as sales on items that are purchased in bulk.

Delivery fees can be a little steep at $12.50 for purchases under $150, according to the website. For purchases above $150, it's $9.95. There is a minimum purchase amount of $30. Customers are also charged extra for gas if prices are above $2.75 a gallon.

Vons is owned by Albertsons, and Bakersfield Vons stores offer the same grocery delivery service.

For more information or to sign up for the service, go to albertsons.com or vons.com.

PrimePantry

The online retail giant Amazon has given Kern County residents the option to order select non-perishable grocery items for years through its PrimePantry service, exclusive to Amazon Prime members. Through PrimePantry, customers can purchase groceries and some household products and have them delivered for a $5.99 fee, and there is no minimum amount required. Delivery can take anywhere from one to four days. Amazon offers coupons and other deals as well. Purchases can be made on the Amazon website and its app.

With the company’s $13.7 billion acquisition of grocery chain Whole Foods Inc. this past summer, Amazon is likely to increase focus to fresh food delivery. It already has its AmazonFresh service, which allows customers to purchase produce and other fresh foods for delivery, but it is only currently available in select cities, and Bakersfield is not one of them — yet.

Those interested in PrimePantry can go to http://amzn.to/29CV3LB.

Google Express

Google is getting on the online shopping bandwagon too with its new Google Express service, similar in function to Amazon. Customers can purchase non-fresh grocery items, household supplies, clothing, electronics and more. Google has partnered with companies such as Walmart, Target, Costco and Home Depot, which provide the merchandise, so you would be essentially shopping from them.

Unlike Amazon’s PrimePantry, Google Express doesn’t charge for delivery as long as there is a minimum purchase of $25, according to the website. This goes for groceries as well as other items. No membership is required. Purchases can be made on the Google Express website, app and even Google Home devices. For more information, go to express.google.com.

Meal delivery

While grocery deliveries may be a relatively new phenomenon, meal delivery has been around for many years. Many local pizza parlors, Asian restaurants and other eateries still deliver. A company that delivers food from several restaurants is something else entirely. Here are a few businesses doing just that in Bakersfield and other parts of Kern County:

Restaurant Runner

Restaurant Runner has been a staple in Bakersfield for some time, having opened in 1994. Restaurant Runner, which operates out of 7800 Meany Ave., Suite E, delivers food from dozens of local restaurants within 30 to 60 minutes. Some of the restaurants the company partners with includes Mauricio’s Grill and Cantina, J’s Place, Just Wing It and Logan’s Roadhouse. Delivery fees range from $1 to $6.99 depending on the volume of food. Restaurant Runner also charges a fee for handling the orders, which can be up to 22 percent of the order.

Unlike other businesses of its kind, Restaurant Runner also offers takeout. Customers can order and pay through Restaurant Runner and then pick up their meals directly at the restaurant.

Restaurant Runner is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekend. Orders for delivery or takeout can be made online at restaurantrunner.net, by phone at 389-3400 and through the Restaurant Runner app.

UberEATS

One of the newest additions to hot food delivery is UberEATS, which became available in Bakersfield this November. Uber, a company that allows people to hail a ride via smartphone, expanded into the food delivery service with a pilot program in 2014.

The UberEATS website and app accepts the orders. Delivery by Uber drivers typically takes about 15 minutes, according to the company.

In Bakersfield, about 50 restaurants are currently available through the service, including Deli Delicious, Johnny Garlic’s, Bagels & Blenderz, Boss Pizza and Foster’s Donuts. Each delivery comes with a $5.99 fee. Go to ubereats.com or download the app to order.

Joseph Luiz can be reached at 395-7368 or by email at jluiz@bakersfield.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @JLuiz_TBC. 

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