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Kroger delivers groceries and gas discounts

Two years ago, Kroger, the nation’s largest grocery chain in terms of revenue, took on Publix, Florida’s top grocer.

Yes, many Floridians are loyal to Publix, but according to Kroger, about half of them were Kroger shoppers before they moved here.

Kroger has launched the assault without opening a single store. It’s all about delivery. The company has a 375,000-square-foot fulfillment center about 30 miles west of Orlando. It also has relay delivery facilities in Jacksonville, Tampa and Opa-locka. Climate-controlled trucks deliver to ZIP codes within 90 miles of the three relay facilities.

The operation appears to be growing. When we asked readers what topics they were most interested in, Kroger was at the top of the list. Like Kroger, you ask; we deliver.

Will Kroger deliver to me?

Type your address into its website to find out if you're in a delivery zone. (Most of South Florida is.) Delivery is the next day. Kroger’s competitors – Walmart's InHome service, Publix and its partner Instacart, and Amazon Prime, which delivers groceries from Whole Foods – all over same-day service. But mostly, they cost more than Kroger.

Do I get fuel points?

If you’ve shopped at a Kroger store, you probably know about Fuel Points. Accumulating points for gas discounts is one of Kroger’s most enduring and endearing promotions. Fuel Points work the same way when you shop at Kroger.com. You earn fuel points based on the amount you spend. You can accumulate up to $1 per gallon in savings. Redeem the points at a Shell gas station. Shell has 665 gas stations in Florida, but those associated with Circle K aren’t participating. Find the nearest participating station here by typing in your ZIP code and checking the “Fuel” box.

Photos: Kroger warehouse in Opa-locka

What does Kroger delivery cost?

You can either pay by the order – $9.95, or a little less if you accept a delivery time later in the day than the popular early morning times. Or if you join Kroger Boost, there is no additional charge for delivery. Boost costs $59 a year if you are OK with next-day delivery on grocery orders of at least $35. Or pay $99 for free delivery in under two hours on grocery orders of at least $35.

Joining Boost also gets you double fuel points, plus 1,000 extra fuel points when you sign up. You can try Boost for free for a month. If you’re going to be a regular Kroger shopper, it probably will be apparent that Boost pays for itself in fuel discounts.

How does Kroger delivery work?

You submit an online order. Kroger uses robots do the picking and loading onto specially designed delivery vans with three zones for regular, frozen and chilled foods. Customers can select hour-long windows for delivery the following day between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. You'll get an email about 30 minutes before the delivery van arrives at your front door. No tipping allowed. You can schedule deliveries up to six days in advance.

Photo: Deposit Photos

What exactly can you get delivered?

Just about anything you might buy in a bricks and mortar Kroger store, more than 30,000 albums, including beer, wine and liquor.

How are the prices?

Prices on staples like milk, eggs, bread, canned goods and produce seem comparable to those at Winn-Dixie and Publix. And they seem higher than those at Walmart.

While there are weekly Kroger and some manufacturers’ coupons, I’d say Winn-Dixie and Publix buy-one-get-one-free deals generally offer better savings.

Florida-based Customer Communications Manager Andrea Colby says she thinks Kroger’s produce is nicer than any of the competition offers because it is constantly refrigerated from warehouse to your house. She also says that if you don’t like what receive in your delivery, all you have to do is call and you’ll get a refund, or a new and improved version will be delivered.

How do I sign up?

Go to Kroger.com and start shopping. Or you can call Kroger Customer Connect at 1-800-KROGERS (1-800-576-4377). Keep an eye on your mail, too, because Kroger has been mailing postcards with offers for free deliveries or discounts for new customers.

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Living on the CheapMiami on the Cheap is a member of Living on the Cheap, a network of websites published by frugalistas, journalists and consumer advocates. Find practical advice on saving money on groceries, travel and shopping, plus tips from our experts on how to live the good life for less at Living on the Cheap.

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