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Despite the much proclaimed death of the High Street, the major supermarkets haven’t, as yet, cornered the market completely when it comes to our fruit and veg shopping. Not only do plenty of retailers continue to offer smaller independent services, some of them have shown that they can play the larger providers at their own game when it comes to online retailing.

While many stores are only just going “mobile” in internet terms, some of the oldest traders on the streets have shown that, to them, this is just business as usual. In London, one trend that has become increasingly popular is that of fruit delivery.

Traditional ‘costermongers’ — fruit and veg barrow boys to you and me — have taken to the fast lane of the Internet superhighway by offering online ordering and delivery of fruit and snacks to offices around the city. Most other major cities have followed suit and fruit delivery services are now available to health conscious admin assistants across the land.

Proper customer service

While many supermarkets have great offers when it comes to their online grocery delivery services, the smaller suppliers can often offer a better service. Fresh produce needs to be moved quickly and although the supermarkets are able to offer good quality and competitive prices, fruit and veg is still one area that consumers are wary of buying in this manner.

The office delivery services offered by the traditional “barrow boys” has found increasing popularity because it not only offers excellent quality and flexible delivery, but it has one feature that consumers have never fallen out of love with: good old-fashioned customer service. In this case we’re not talking about the kind that you get after half an hour of listening to a tinny sounding version of Vivaldi’s four seasons.

Home deliveries

For those who don’t live busy lives filing stuff, home delivery versions of very traditional fruit or online groceries are proving equally popular. There aren’t many grocers who offer a full home delivery, though many have taken up on the idea of the veg box delivery service. Those that have done this have found increasing success and popularity — although the recession has proven hard for some to weather. Between the biggest of suppliers and the small online groceries providers there has been something of a gulf and the recession has called for someone to bridge that gap.

Suburban heroes

Thankfully an old suburban hero has stepped up to the mark. Many milkmen — and women, of course — now also deliver full ranges of fruit, groceries and everyday essentials to their customers. For the first time since the 1980s this has seen a growth in take-up of their services as they have adapted to survive. The advantages to the service on offer are very similar to those on offer from the re-booted costermongers of London. Apart from a familiar, friendly face, they offer online groceries ordering and early morning delivery.

This has always been a standard part of their service — milk being one of the more perishable of perishable products — and it’s something they’re proud to continue to offer. In addition the dairies don’t have hefty delivery charges — in fact many don’t charge at all as they operate on established rounds. It might be an old-fashioned solution, but it has stood the test of time!