Online grocery shopping on the rise

Mary O'Conner and husband Peter Hajevsky, owners of The Fresh Ingredient, Georgetown. Picture by Jonathan Carroll
Mary O'Conner and husband Peter Hajevsky, owners of The Fresh Ingredient, Georgetown. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

THE weekly trawl up and down the supermarket aisles may seem an inescapable part of life, but many are turning away from traditional shopping and taking advantage of online and home delivery services to get their fix of fruit, vegies and groceries.

In the Hunter Region, there are an increasing number of specialist home delivery businesses without shop fronts, as well as traditional shops offering home-ordering services.

In Georgetown, husband and wife team Mary O’Connor and Peter Hajevsky run The Fresh Ingredient, which has been at its new premises at 40 to 46 Georgetown Road, Georgetown, for about five months.

The business offers home delivery to customers who order over the phone or use their website.

An array of fruit and vegetables can be ordered, from bananas to rhubarb and avocados to asparagus, as well as a range of groceries including muesli, sourdough, honey, juice, pasta sauces, spices and even milk in glass bottles.

Hajevsky told GT The Fresh Ingredient set itself apart from other home delivery grocery services because it had a shop front for customers to familiarise themselves with the business and make contact with the people who own and run the store.

‘‘One big advantage we have is that we have a shop that offers a full home-delivery service. People can see what we have on offer beforehand,’’ he said.

O’Connor explained customers using the home delivery service were a mix of time-poor professionals and parents and people with limited access to transport.

‘‘Our customer base is mixed, we have young and older professionals and elderly people taking advantage of home delivery,’’ she said. ‘‘We also have a few mums using the service. Once you have more than one child – as I know – getting out to the shops seems to be a mission. Sometimes they will come in for their first visit and then order home delivery.’’

‘‘Our customers sometimes look on the website to get an idea of the prices and see what’s on special but then the older ones sometimes phone through their orders,’’ she said. ‘‘Also, a lot of our customers used to come to us and they can’t get here any more for whatever reason, but they wanted to continue using someone they knew.’’

For those who worry they won’t get the best fruit or vegetables by letting someone else do their shopping, O’Connor offers this reassurance: ‘‘I tell our staff they need to think they are packing for their mum or grandma – the same quality and care needs to go into it.’’

She said they also take extra care with their deliveries where necessary – taking boxes inside for customers who are elderly or who have trouble lifting, such as clients with walking frames.

‘‘We will do things for our older customers like taking boxes straight into the kitchen and putting yoghurt in the fridge,’’ O’Connor said. ‘‘Little things like that only take me a few minutes but make things a lot easier for the customer.’’

Banana Barn, based at Sandgate, also has a loyal base of customers who order their fruit and vegetables every week and have it delivered to their door.

Said to be the first locally-owned Newcastle greengrocer to offer an online internet ordering system since its launch in 1998, the family-owned business has been selling fruit and vegetables to the Hunter Region since the 1970s.

The white foam boxes are delivered on a daily basis to some suburbs. Banana Barn’s range includes fruit, vegetables, herbs, and also several grocery items including olive oil, milk, eggs, noodles, nuts and dog biscuits.

Shane and Kathy Chapman’s Go Organic also offers home delivery fruit, vegetables and more. The business was established for about 11years before the couple took over in 2008.

It aims to provide fresh organic fruit and vegetables for a reasonable price and follow the ideals of avoiding pesticides and other chemicals in growing and storing.

Go Organic offers a range of different sized boxes of seasonal certified organic produce sourced first from Hunter Region growers or, failing that, from the Sydney markets. They also offer Tilligerry Organic Free Range Eggs, Wagonga Coffee and Bills Organic Breads.

In Newcastle, family-owned Fresh As Fresh also delivers fruit, vegetables and groceries to homes and restaurants, including the fresh food picked from the markets daily. They deliver to a range of suburbs from Aberdare to Yarrawonga Park.

Organic Feast has a retail shop in East Maitland, but also has a home delivery service bringing local organic produce to the homes of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley.

The company delivers to Newcastle, but also reaches as far as Port Stephens, Tea Gardens, Lake Macquarie and surrounds, as well as Maitland, Cessnock, Pokolbin, Muswellbrook and more.

The business has a range of fruit and vegies as well as goods from the bakery, dairy and butchers. There are even organic skin care, baby and cleaning products.

But it’s not just fruit and vegetables which can be delivered to your doorstep; Darby Street Quality Meats also offers an extensive range of meats in their home delivery service. The butchery offers everything from free range Otway Pork and chemical-free La Ionica chicken, to free range poultry and game meats and even deli meats, bacon and smallgoods.

There are also online specials and delivery is available to suburbs in the lower Hunter Region.

Some Hunter businesses offering online home-delivery services:

Banana Barn,

Bill’s Organic Bread,


Darby Street Quality Meats,

Hunter Organics,

Fresh As Fresh,

Go Organic,

Organic Feast,

The Fresh Ingredient,