The Campus Market doesn’t compete with Instacart, but it works

With a delivery fee of only $2, I think it’s worth just ordering a box of brownies, and why not order some fruits and vegetables with that too?

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(Stephanie Tran)

The following review is on the relatively new grocery delivery service provided by Queen’s Hospitality services, called “Campus Market.” For some context, I am a second-year engineering student living off-campus, so in-person grocery shopping has not been the most convenient thing to do this past year.

 I will be comparing the Campus Market service to the popular platform Instacart. Ratings are scaled from 1 to 10, 1 being that it is terrible compared to Instacart, 7 being that it functions at a comparable level and 10 being that it functions better than Instacart.

This review is based on an order placed and received in April 2021, the order consisted of oranges, a tomato, soy milk, eggs, frozen chicken breast, a vegetable ‘fresh market box’, and ½ a dozen brownies.

The final total after the delivery fee and taxes was $60.05 CAD.

Price + Delivery

There was a noticeable upcharge on most items, prices were generally 20-40% more than what you would pay at a physical store, but this is pretty typical of delivered groceries. The prices are pretty fair, considering they only charge $2 for local delivery and they don’t charge service fees or tips.

On other platforms, delivery, service fees, and tips can add around $10-$20 to a $60 basket. Although their delivery is limited to about < 2 km from campus, and to delivery from 1-4 pm on workdays. My delivery scheduled for the 1-2 pm timeslot arrived around 2:15 pm.

 The overall rating of price and delivery is 8/10.

Quality of Food

The quality of the fresh food seems comparable to Metro. The brownies were reminiscent of Ban brownies (the fudgy, iced kind), except twice the size! My only complaints would be that the eggs came in a square take-out container and were smaller than expected ~ maybe medium-sized?

The oranges and tomato that I ordered were smaller than expected but relative to their price they were a reasonable size. All the vegetables were slightly damp, but this could also be from the rain.

Overall rating is 7/10.

The fresh food was comparable to Metro, but the eggs came in a smaller takeout container that was smaller than expected (Stephanie Tran)

Experience

To be honest, the user interface of Campus Market is not great, but it works. The website works, it works worst on mobile, compared to Instacart – it gets a rating of 3/10.

The interface is much less intuitive in its categorization of groceries – things were not always where you would expect them to be. There were buffers between every click, which was a little annoying. The pictures and descriptions were not super accurate to what was delivered – especially the fresh foods which seemed to have basic stock image photos.

The is a lot less communication between the user and the delivery, unlike Instacart. I did not receive any updates about my order after payment until well after the delivery (the next morning). Also, you cannot make edits to your purchase after payment – one of the most attractive features of Instacart is the convenience of having a flexible basket.

Photo Via Campus Market

Variety

I think they have a decent set of basic ingredients and convenience foods like pre-made meals and single-serving sized snacks. I really liked their baked goods selection, bundles, and fresh market boxes.

Their ‘fresh market boxes’, which offered a variety of fruit, vegetables, or meat for a pretty reasonable price.  I got a vegetable box, and it offers a good quantity and variety of veggies; bell peppers, garlic, carrots, onions, mushrooms, lettuce, broccoli, cucumbers, avocados, and potatoes for $30. The price is pretty affordable for delivered groceries.

Although, I do not think you would be able to shop exclusively from Campus Market. It just does not have the variety that a regular store would have; you cannot buy simple staples like frozen berries, spinach, ice cream, etc. I think it is a good service for getting the few couple things you forgot to get on your last grocery trip. Or if you want one of those pre-made meals (sandwiches, salads, snacks, etc.) that you would find at Lazy or Loco’s. They also have some of the baked goods that you would find at the Lazy by the cashier.

Their selection of branded goods seems to be derived from what can be found in dining halls and on campus food sellers (like lazy and loco). For example, Four o’clock tea, minute maid juice, the country harvest bagels, etc. They also offer some notable niche items like birthday desserts, exam care packages, and tissue paper. I would give the variety a rating of 8/10 for on-campus students and a 5/10 for off-campus students. I like to cook, and that requires a variety of foods, most of which are not offered by Campus Market.

Main Takeaways

I would use the service again in the future. I would suggest trying Campus Market at least once – depending on what your diet usually consists of, Campus Market could be a good service to integrate into your student life. With a delivery fee of only $2, I think it’s worth just ordering a box of brownies, and why not order some fruits and vegetables with that too?

P.S. A ½ dozen box of brownies is a great pick-me up treat for you and your housemates!

Photo Credit: Stephanie Tran

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