Fresh Direct vs. the local grocery store

I admit it. For a while now, I've been shopping at Fresh Direct 2-3x per month. In some (suburban and rural) places, grocery shopping  by delivery actually makes good environmental sense, since there's only one truck driving around making several deliveries, instead of all of those cars being on the road. In New York City, though, it's not clear that it makes the same good sense, since otherwise we'd be walking to the store or taking the subway. Sure, it's more convenient, which is why people do it, but it's not necessarily the environmentally conscious choice. In addition to just having the trucks on the road, they're also a nuisance in many neighborhoods, because they double park and idle with their refrigeration units on. Furthermore, FD food is delivered in cardboard boxes, and loose items like olives come in high-end plastic tubs (not the kind you feel OK about throwing out).
So with all of this in mind, I decided to go to the regular grocery store yesterday. I took three canvas bags with me, and bought probably a little less than the normal 10-days worth of groceries that I'd otherwise get at Fresh Direct. And you know what? Even with FD's delivery charge and gas surcharge, it cost me $20 more for the same type and amount of groceries (including about the same mix of organic and conventional foods that I normally buy).

I am willing to pay the price premium for organic foods, and when the Greenmarket has better offerings than it does in the dead of winter (mostly baked goods), I pay a high price for locally produced foods. But do I suck up the extra $20 a few times a month and stop shopping with Fresh Direct? Would it be an adequate compromise to shop there once a month (thereby cutting down on trips and packaging)?

I suppose I should be happy to be fortunate enough to be able to consider the environment in this matter, as many people would simply only be able to do whatever is cheapest.

I have long thought that deliver of food should make good environmental sense, so I found your comparison interesting. It may also be that food store as presently constituted use more energy than food warehouses.  Having said all of that, however, shopping, which I admit to detesting, has very important social and political functions.  Historically and ideally it's an activity that connects people. Super-Walmart, however, is the antithesis of social engagment, and in fact it and other shopping malls are designed to  counteract that economic inefficiency.
I think group neighborhood deliveries will become commonplace in the years to come. I could imagine that a delivery services like this will become more efficient than individual trips that cost gas money. Still in urban areas I think these are a nuisance on side streets.

But that's a larger issue of prioritizing truck parking over passenger car parking in dense urban areas. Trucks have to double park because they can't ever find normal parking. Community boards seem to indirectly sanction this behavior by no approving commercial parking areas because residents in the neighborhood don't want to give up their "right" to free parking.

The other question is what represents the difference in price - non-union labor, squeezing family farms for lower prices, no rent, efficiencies of scale. I might have a problem if the difference is from the first two, but not the latter two...

I have seen the Fresh Direct trucks on 35th Street between Madison and 5th Aves right adjacent to the CUNY Grad center. It seems very labor intensive so they can't be paying much. The crew I usually see is about 5-6 young guys with a slightly older fellow seeming to supervise things. I thought that there was much cardboard packaging involved? It seems many times that the refrigerated truck is idling as well.

Years ago our family belonged to a food cooperative and there is an organic food coop named Purple Dragon. The selection isn't consistantly available but you receive an email regarding what is anticipated that week. You order and $42 every 2 weeks. YTou pick it up from a local central location. It may be rotated (I think?)amongst the local members. I think we may join Purple Dragon soon.