Students shop smart with GrocerySmart

By Caitlin McHugh

Features Contributor

No car and need groceries? No problem, thanks to GrocerySmart: an online delivery service designed to help give students more control over their diet and an easier way to access healthy food options.

GrocerySmart is a project that was developed through Enactus, an entrepreneurial organization that develops projects designed to better help the community. The idea of GrocerySmart was created in 2015, according to Jerry Daigler, founder and software developer.

“A lot of students like to make their own food and have a little more control over their diets rather than just choosing things to eat on campus,” Daigler said, “but a lot of students don’t have cars on campus or don’t have the time to go to the store, which leads them to get some sort of fast food option rather than cooking their own food- so that’s really how GrocerySmart came alive.”

The service is available to the entire student body at Canisius.  There is also a parent option available, which extends the market to students without a form of credit card payment available to them.

Students can register for GrocerySmart by using their Canisius email to create an account on the official website, grocerysmart.org. After creating an account, students can simply choose the groceries they want, place them in their cart, and purchase their order. Once the order has been placed, the members of the Enactus team go out, get the groceries, and deliver them to the students on campus from 6:00-8:00p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings. Following the order placement, a text message is sent, which they can respond to with the word “ready” when they are ready to pick them up and their groceries will be delivered to them within 15 minutes.

The main source piloting the project is Wegmans. As the targeted focus of it is college students, affordability was a large factor considered in the process of creating it.

According to Matthew Tanchick, Vice President of Process Improvement, the small delivery fee charged for every order placed is worth it because of how beneficial the service can be, not only to students without a car on campus but also to students that struggle with finding the time to grocery shop.

“Depending on how big your order is, you might be at Wegmans for a full hour or so that you can be getting more work done on campus,” he stated. “From everybody I know here at Canisius, their time is worth more than $2.99 an hour, so if they can pay that small delivery fee and have those groceries delivered to campus, they can eat whatever they want and they don’t have to choose between eating healthy and what’s convenient on campus.”

Kate Anticoli, a student at Canisius College who placed an order with GrocerySmart this past week, described GrocerySmart as a very user-friendly, affordable, and convenient system.

”I think it’s great for people who don’t have time to go to the store, especially those who don’t have a car,” she said. “I think it’s definitely great during times like finals week because there’s fresh food for people who maybe want to eat a little bit healthier. It can also be really helpful for students who maybe want more time to study, because having it delivered right to the library is a super easy way to pick your food up and get back to work.”

As of right now, the team is working towards adding a subscription model and a mobile app domain for the upcoming semester. Daigler stated, “The second goal is looking more towards the spring at this point in how many orders we can get, and we’d like to see… I would say over 250 orders in the spring semester, which I think is very possible.”

90% of students surveyed viewed GrocerySmart as a valuable service to have on campus. Amongst those who participated in completing the survey, Anna Phillips was impressed with her first experience with GrocerySmart and the potential it has to better the college community. “I think this is a great addition because it will help our campus become more green! It cuts down on grocery trips and helps reduce carbon emissions,” she said. Phillips said that she particularly enjoyed that she was able to save some time this week by ordering from GrocerySmart, which helped her stay on top of all of her school work.

GrocerySmart does not compete with the establishments at Canisius College; it simply opens the market to things that Wegmans has that the College does not offer.

The Enactus team is open to suggestions and constantly looking for ways to improve GrocerySmart. With any tips or ideas, please contact Matt Tanchick at tanchicm@my.canisius.edu.

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