So while companies like Amazon, Whole Foods and Fresh Direct offer some form of online ordering and home delivery, it's yet to be widely adopted by U.S. consumers, particularly those who live outside bigger cities. But the answer might be to partner with start-up on-demand delivery companies.
"While the challenges are very macro, the solutions get very local, quickly and require a collaboration between some very large organizations and some of the smaller flexible, start-up organizations that are playing in this space," said Russo.
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Uber has just started a program in New York City and Chicago called UberEATS, quickly delivering a small sample of ready-to-eat meals. Russo suggested grocery delivery could be a logical next step.
Whole Foods is working with InstaCart to improve its grocery delivery service. Wholesale club Costco also works with InstaCart. The grocery delivery start-up is currently available in 15 major metro areas and charges anywhere from $3.99 to $9.99 for deliveries for non-Express Members. InstaCart Express Members get free delivery on orders $35 or more by joining for $99 a year.
Weighing the possibility of a more competitive grocery-delivery space, InstaCart CEO Apoorva Mehta told CNBC that an Uber entrance into the grocery market wouldn't mean much for InstaCart.
"I think it's a fantastic idea from Uber's perspective, they already deliver passengers, why not deliver packages?" Mehta said.
Amazon is still piloting its Amazon Fresh grocery ordering and delivery service in Los Angeles, Seattle and New York. While delivery on orders more than $35 is free, it costs $299 per year to subscribe to the service.
"Amazon has a fundamental disadvantage in this space, and the reason for that is because we deliver within one hour, two hours, same day from your favorite stores," said Mehta, a former Amazon engineer. "Amazon delivers the next day with their Amazon Fresh program and they deliver it from their warehouses."
Meanwhile, Wal-Mart is piloting online grocery ordering in five cities with curbside pickup or delivery, but it isn't working with a delivery partner.
Peapod said it established not only the first online grocery delivery concept, but also the world's first e-commerce-only company in 1989. It now serves 24 markets in the U.S. but still, the fastest delivery option is next day and the smallest delivery window is a two-hour span.
So while the challenges on both sides of the equation are tangible, so is the financial opportunity, according to Russo.
"When you think about a billion consumers globally are willing to purchase their grocery items online, that's a staggering number, that's an opportunistic number, and one that has not been met just yet," he said.
(CORRECTION: Peapod serves 24 markets. An earlier version of this story misstated the number.)