Demand for grocery delivery surges due to coronavirus, leaving some waiting weeks

As Canadians are urged to practise physical distancing and stay indoors to curb the spread of COVID-19, more are turning to grocery delivery services.

Grocery delivery apps like Instacart and Inabuggy have seen an increase in demand, and retailers like Walmart have seen a significant uptick in customers, too. Some shoppers have complained of delivery wait times — up to two weeks, depending on grocery stores and locations — while others told Global News they have experienced unfilled orders due to sold-out items.

Mississauga, Ont.-based Jen Wynne said she tried to order groceries this week from multiple stores with little luck. Wynne said one website crashed, and other retailers were out of items.

She said she is avoiding going into grocery stores if she can and is looking after a small child at home.

East Vancouver resident Carrie Mac said she recently returned from a trip to the U.S. and went into self-isolation, per public health orders. Since she cannot leave the house, she has been relying on grocery deliveries for herself and two kids.

A week into her quarantine, Mac managed to place an order with Save-On-Foods and Instacart. She said her Instacart order came with most of the items she ordered but no protein or toilet paper.

“Save-On-Foods came with about half of what I ordered, also no protein, no toilet paper and very few grains,” Mac said.

A second advance order placed with Instacart was cancelled, she said, several days before its scheduled delivery. Mac said she received an email from Instacart saying that due to high demand, lack of inventory and shortened store hours, her order could not be completed.

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