Grocery delivery is less sustainable than shopping in store

Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering researchers (CMU Research) released its latest findings looking at the impacts of grocery delivery on energy use, emissions, and traffic congestion — including whether there might be a better way to manage and optimize deliveries. What it found is that grocery delivery was less energy efficient than people shopping for products themselves.

The research aims to provide a new set of insights for organizations to integrate into ecommerce and grocery delivery trends for long-range, and more sustainable transportation planning.

The global pandemic created a surge of ecommerce purchases and online grocery delivery services out of necessity, and many of those fulfillment methods are still being used today.

“Right now, most people go to the grocery store on their way home from work, or during off-peak hours,” said Destenie Nock, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and engineering and public policy.