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FILLING THE FRIDGE FROM CYBERSPACE

IT WAS JUST A MATTER of time before the wired world began to address basic human needs--like food. Computers can't deliver calories, but online grocery-shopping services are popping up all over. On Oct. 16, food-online.com Inc. in Needham Mass., rolled out its service in the greater Boston area. Registered shoppers can place orders electronically with Bread & Circus Inc., a division of Whole Foods Market Inc., or Groceries to Go, an online grocery retailer with warehouses but no stores. Each so far has one food pick-up site in the Boston area. Customers pay by credit card or in person when they collect their orders.

The food-online.com site has separate sections for its two food sellers. In the Bread & Circus section, customers can call up nutrition or price information and scan suggestions for complete meals, along with cooking directions. Peapod LP in Evanston, Ill., has offered a similar service in Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, and San Francisco since April. The hidden value in online shopping services: the precise data they capture about consumer product preferences.

EDITED BY PETER COY
By Paul C. Judge


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Updated June 14, 1997 by bwwebmaster
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