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FreshDirect Grocery Delivery Guide for Shoppers

Last updated: October 2, 2019
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Grocery delivery services are becoming a staple for busy people. Instead of navigating parking and long checkout lines, people are turning to these services, which let them quickly pick out food, schedule a delivery time, and have the food brought to their door. Especially for people in crowded cities, these delivery services have allowed them to shop in a way that makes sense for them.

FreshDirect is an online grocery delivery service centered in New York City, with service expanding up into Connecticut and down into Washington, D.C. For people in the Northeastern United States, it’s become a favorite for getting fresh food delivered.

In this article, we’ll take a good look at everything FreshDirect. We’ll show you how to sign up for the service, and look at how it compares to competitors. We’ll also show you how to apply to work for the company. By the end of the article, you should have a good understanding of FreshDirect, what differentiates it from other grocery delivery services, and what it’s like to work there.

What Is FreshDirect?

FreshDirect is a grocery delivery service predominantly located in the Northeastern United States.

Unlike other grocery delivery services which hire shoppers to go to grocery stores, FreshDirect operates from large distribution centers. Workers in these centers receive orders, then prepare and package them. They orders are then sent out to be delivered via delivery trucks.

The company launched in 1999 by co-founders Jason Ackerman, David McInerney, and former Fairway CEO Joe Fedele. The company’s first headquarters were in Long Island City, New York. While it started by offering service to Manhattan residents, the company quickly expanded out into the New York metropolitan area, including the Bronx, and Brooklyn. After solidifying its customer base in New York City, the company expanded out into New Jersey, Connecticut, and into the Philadelphia metro area. It’s now available as far south as Washington, D.C.

FreshDirect recently opened a massive new facility and headquarters in the South Bronx.

How It Works

FreshDirect is at once an e-commerce company and a logistics company, both taking in orders and then arranging delivery in the markets it serves.

The service works by allowing people to place their orders online, either picking out fresh food or their favorite packaged items. When the order is received in the distribution center, it’s passed around to the different departments — an order for meat will head to the deli, while an order for avocados will head over to the produce section. Workers in the distribution center will prepare the food to order, then package it.

The prepared groceries are then sent to delivery trucks, where they are dispatched out to your door. FreshDirect offers next-day delivery service, as well as regularly scheduled pickups for recurring orders. (For advance orders, shoppers can reserve a specific time slot, or hold a regular standing time slot for weekly deliveries.) And don’t worry about your ice cream melting — the delivery trucks are all refrigerated.

Signing Up for FreshDirect

New customers who want to sign up for FreshDirect can do so quickly and easily. First, head to the FreshDirect website at www.freshdirect.com.

In the top right hand corner, you’ll see an orange button asking you to “Create Account.” It looks like this:

FreshDirect homepage with arrow pointing to "create account"

Tap on that, and you’ll be taken to a quick pop-up that lets you get started easily. All you need to do is let them know if you’re ordering for home, or a business or school. Then enter your email and a password. You can also sign up with Facebook or Google, if you prefer. It’s extremely simple:

Create account on FreshDirect

And…that’s it. You’ve created your account. When you check out, they’ll ask for payment information and your address, but that’s only upon checkout. For now, you’re ready to shop.

FreshDirect Fees and Pricing

For most markets that FreshDirect serves, there is a minimum order of $30 and then a delivery fee ranging from $5.99 to $7.99. (That delivery fee can go as high as $15.99 with surcharges for special seasonal delivery locations, like the Hamptons or the Jersey Shore.)

You can see a full list of their pricing here.

FreshDirect also offers DeliveryPass, which gives members unlimited free deliveries. DeliveryPass gives new users a 60-day free trial, so if you’re new to the app, you absolutely should use it. If you don’t like it, however, make sure to cancel before those two months are up — DeliveryPass comes with a $129 annual fee.

Say your local delivery fee is usually $5.99. DeliveryPass becomes a good investment after 21 orders, more or less, so if you are committed to making FreshDirect your grocery delivery service, all you need to do is use it twice a month to make DeliveryPass a smart investment. If it’s something you just use when you don’t feel like going to the grocery store, it’s probably not worth the investment.

Working for FreshDirect

Unlike other grocery delivery services, FreshDirect doesn’t need to hire a large pool of workers to go grocery shopping and then deliver food. However, they are often hiring!

To find out about openings, you can visit the FreshDirect Careers website. They have a wide range of jobs listed there, from accounting positions at their main headquarters in the Bronx, to delivery truck driver jobs in Washington, D.C.

A note for delivery truck driver applicants: FreshDirect doesn’t require its drivers to have a CDL license, but they do strongly consider it a plus. They do say that they prefer drivers that have at least three years of commercial truck driving experience, or have recently graduated from a CDL program. (To learn more about CDL licensing, read our guide to becoming a delivery truck driver.)

FreshDirect Worker Reviews

The website Glassdoor allows current and former FreshDirect employees to provide anonymous reviews of what it was like to work for the company. The reviews were mixed (they are at most companies) but most reviews were pretty positive. Many employees cited nice discounts, flexible hours, and solid pay.

The main complaints we read were about employee growth, as some employees at the company didn’t feel the had a path to a management position.

Other complaints we saw from some delivery drivers were that routes could be challenging at times, especially around the holidays or when there was bad traffic. But most reviews said the pay was fair to very good, and management was fair in hours and expectations.

How FreshDirect Compares to Competitors

Apples at grocery store

The biggest difference between FreshDirect and its competitors is that FreshDirect is at once the grocer and the delivery service. When you order from FreshDirect, they prepare and package the food up for you, and then schedule delivery with a delivery truck.

In that way, FreshDirect is actually quite similar to services like Peapod or Amazon Fresh, which both package and prepare groceries from a centralized distribution center and then deliver them.

On the other hand, you have services like Instacart, which allows users to pick out foods from their favorite stores. These stores can range from Whole Foods to Walmart to Petco. With these services, a personalized shopper goes to the store, picks up the items, pays for them, and then has them delivered to the user. For shoppers who like the products and produce at a certain store, they might prefer Instacart.

The other main advantage an app like Instacart has over services like Peapod or FreshDirect is how quick they can offer service. If the service is sending someone to the store, Instacart can offer service in as quick as an hour or two, when a service like FreshDirect takes until the next day.

That is, until FreshDirect introduced FoodKick.

FoodKick: An Answer to Same-Day Delivery

FoodKick is FreshDirect’s entry into the same-day delivery game. They allow you to order fresh food, home essentials, and even alcohol to be delivered to you within hours. For people who forget paper towels, or want to grab some good cheese to bring to a party that night, FoodKick allows them to make it happen, quickly.

FoodKick is available to any FreshDirect member. While delivery fees can run a bit higher than they do for FreshDirect, people who are members of DeliveryPass get 30 free days of FoodKick delivery, and then FoodKick orders are just $2 after that.

They’re also often hiring personalized shoppers for FoodKick on the FreshDirect careers page. Check it out to learn more.

Grocery Delivery With FreshDirect

If you live in NYC, D.C., Philly, or the surrounding areas, you might want to look into FreshDirect for home grocery delivery service. And if you’re looking for a delivery driver or personalized shopper job, you should look into working for FreshDirect or its same-day service, FoodKick. The grocery delivery game is only growing, and now is a good time to get in on it.

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