Let your fingers do the shopping

Why Coop Grocer is as therapeutic as a trip to the grocery

THERAPY ONLINE Easy on the eye, and in calm colors, this online shopping app is at once therapeutic and practical

Pre-pandemic, the grocery was a place I would go to when I was terribly bored and a grocery was at hand. I would spend time there without any list of things to buy, except in my head, often without any purpose, just curiosity and/or nostalgia. 

I’d like to think that, more than a shopaholic, I was a spendaholic. It didn’t matter what I bought, as long as I bought something, so I would leave the grocery with a cart packed with tissue paper, ice cream, some fancy butter, a tray of eggs, breakfast cereal, and some nostalgic snacks like Choco Mallows and Choc Nut.

Either that or I would walk into a grocery (or any shop, even a pharmacy or a convenience store), get something I need, i.e. Berocca, a new shirt, a pair of shoes, toiletries for an upcoming trip, or something interesting I saw in an ad, and walk out.

I’m not an online shopper, either, that is until I discovered Coop Grocer. It’s a simple app you can download into your iOS or Android smartphone and—presto!—you can scroll through an organized list of goods wet and dry, whether basic or indulgent, and start shopping.

It’s a first for me on many levels. Number one, I don’t really worry about food, except what to order from a complicated menu or what to choose on a buffet spread, so I don’t have experience shopping for wet goods. My grocery yields had never before gone past the snack shelves, like before going on a road trip or out on a weekend away from the city.

On Coop Grocer, though, I find myself scrolling through well-curated photos of meats, poultry, fish, fruits, and vegetables. If you want to go easy on your budget, choose the products labeled “araw araw,” but if you’re picky and particular, you can choose from either premium, organic, natural, or all-natural.

The selection is wide. For meat alone, you have ground pork or ground beef, pork shoulder kasim, beef brisket, sinigang cut, adobo cut, menudo cut, samgyupsal, pork belly liempo, and more, even prime ribeye. There are sausages, too, as well as longganisa, ham, smoked bacon, and beef pastrami.

Then there’s poultry, under which, just like in the meat section, you can choose either araw araw or premium or organic or all-natural. Each item has essential details like the cut, sometimes where it’s from, or an indication that the chicken meat, whether all drumsticks or chicken wings or breast fillet, chicken backbone, liver, skin, or whole, has no hormones or preservatives. The eggs, too, come in a wide variety—large, jumbo, free range, brown, aged in clay, if salted.

Coop Grocer is also seafood galore, from galunggong to yellowfin tuna, from tilapia to lapu-lapu, from wild caught mahi mahi to Alaskan pollock and white snapper. There are suahe shrimps, prawns, hard clams, squid, and green mussels. Plus all manner of dried fish you can eat with your champorado, such as tuyo, danggit, or dilis. Are you in the mood for spicy pusit?

The bakery has Eric Kaiser croissants, baguettes, eclairs, ekmek, sourdough, Danish, batards, pan de mie, plie au chocolat, and dinner rolls, Gardenia hot dog buns, pan de sal, loaf bread, and hamburger buns, and Village Gourmet bagels, tortillas, and English muffins.

INDULGE Among the treats on Coop Grocer are a wide variety of Erik Kaiser breads and Harlan + Holden bottled drinks

But I tried Coop Grocer first because my plan was to throw a little cheese party for one (for me), so from its list in the dairy section I assembled a cheese platter made of varieties going from mild to wild, from Assiago Alto, cheddar, Edam, and parmesan wedges to Camembert to manchego and manchego truffle to peperoncino and—my favorite—Roncari Blue Cheese.

Coop Grocer is for everyone. There are many treats like the Harlan + Holden bottled coffee mocha or dark chocolate, Belgian Truffles Gold, Corkers Black Truffle Olive Oil Potato Crisps, and Carmen’s Best ice cream in many flavors.

Once done with the cheese, from the deli, I threw some cold cuts into my cart—jamon serrano, salchicón Iberico, and some chorizo, plus I got myself some red grapes, fresh blueberries, and shelled walnuts and—say cheese!—I got me a party for me. All I needed was the wine to match. Sauternes, perhaps.

Speaking of alcohol, Coop Grocer is a one-stop shop. The Engkanto Lager Beer caught my fancy (and Estrella Galicia, Heineken, Thai Beer Chang, San Miguel). There are single malts, too, from Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, and Macallan, as well as Campari Bitter, Johnny Walker Blue, Grey Goose Vodka, Tanqueray, Jose Cuervo Gold, sochu, sake, soju, and plenty of wine red, white, and rosé. Champagne, too, like Taittinger.

Coop Grocer is for everyone. There are many treats like the Harlan + Holden bottled coffee mocha or dark chocolate, Belgian Truffles Gold, Corkers Black Truffle Olive Oil Potato Crisps, and Carmen’s Best ice cream in many flavors.

It’s good to have Coop Grocer on your phone for whatever you need, including everyday things like Scotch tape or Stabilo highlighters, Magic Sarap Mix or Kikkoman soy sauce, Air Queen Nanofiber Filter Mask or 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. There’s a section for over-the-counter and prescription medicines too, and first aid essentials.

A one stop-one step-one day process, it’s easy, equipped with a real time inventory check system so you don’t end up choosing what’s not in stock, and you get your order the very next day. Plus I like it that you get updates via SMS while your stuff is in transit.

Best of all, the interface, in a color scheme of white and forest green, is easy on the eye. Quite therapeutic, just like going to a grocery. www.coopgrocer.com