On one of the coldest days of the year, using online grocery delivery would have been tempting for most Montrealers.

On Sunday, plenty of shoppers showed up at supermarkets around the city, while others elected to do their pepper picking on the web.

While the idea may raise an eyebrow at first glance, it’s gaining traction.

“Empowering someone you don’t know to pick your tomatoes or your peppers feels unnatural,” said Sylvain Charlebois, a professor at Dalhousie University. “But as soon as you’ve gone through one order, it’s much easier.”

Online grocery delivery gained popularity in 2017 after Amazon bought grocery chain Whole Foods.

The phenomenon soon spread to Canada, where chains like IGA, Maxi, and Provigo began offering the service.

It’s a slow but growing market.

Just under two percent of all grocery sales are done online, totalling $5.5 billion. 

Taso Erimos owns a Supermarche PA and gets about 60 to 80 online orders per day.

“It’s a challenge because it’s hard to fulfill somebody’s basket according to what they want,” he said. “They are quite specific, but there are always errors that occur.”

Erimos said it takes at least a half hour to prepare an order.

While many people enjoy touching and seeing their groceries before buying them, others are willing to sacrifice that for the convenience of making the order from their own home.

“I love online shopping,” one shopper said. “I do it for clothing, I would do it for groceries...especially like today with the weather and when we're not feeling well, it's great.”