Made in Chicagoland: Shop for groceries from home with Peapod

SKOKIE, Ill. (WLS) -- Need chopped spinach and bananas? No need to stop at the grocery store. Just whip out your mobile phone or laptop and the produce will be at your front door tomorrow.

In Chicago, this is nothing new as the idea of online grocery shopping started here.

Skokie-based online grocer, Peapod, offers more than 15,000 items online, with all local deliveries coming from their Midwest distribution center in north suburban Lake Zurich.

Online grocery shopping is growing fast. In the last 10 years, online grocery shopping has increased from a roughly $500 million to $6 billion industry.

Two brothers, Andrew and Thomas Parkinson, started the company in 1989 - six years before the modern Internet and way before the idea of e-commerce.

"They knew computers were going to change people's lives (and) they wanted to start a business to take advantage of it," said Tony Stallone, of Peapod.

He adds that Peapod plans to expand offerings to include ready-to-go meal kits.

Today, Peapod is more than two brothers delivering groceries. The company boasts 1,500 workers and serves 24 U.S. markets. In addition to Chicago, Peapod also serves residents within the surrounding 200 miles, including Milwaukee and parts of Indiana.

Walking through Peapod's warehouse in Lake Zurich is like shopping at 10 regular grocery stores. All the produce has its own climate-controlled zones. The produce section is set to exactly 35 degrees as berries are the most temperature sensitive.

At the Peapod warehouse, bananas get their own room.

"Keeping them at 58 degrees ripen (the bananas) slower so they last longer. Our bananas you'll find will last two, three days longer," Stallone said.

In fact, more than 64 million bananas have been delivered - Peapod's biggest seller. They have also sold more than 300,000 pounds of coffee products and close to 9 million gallons of milk.

Peapod deliveries go out twice a day - at 6 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.