Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic roughly one year ago, one of the few places most of us could still go was the supermarket. Not that you'd necessarily want to, though. New variants of the coronavirus are making it even riskier to head outdoors — so for many, online grocery shopping has been (and remains) a blessing, another way to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Now, with Umamicart, online grocery shoppers have a new virtual Asian supermarket to add to their bookmarks.
Launched on March 1, Umamicart stocks more than 500 curated Asian grocery products, from fresh produce to meat and snacks to pantry staples. The grocer is currently shipping to select states in the northeast (check availability here), but it does hope to expand nationwide in the near future. To make grocery shopping truly convenient, orders over $49 are shipped for free with next-day delivery when placed before 3 p.m.
Born in Spain to Chinese immigrant parents, founder Andrea Xu has lived all over the world, from Hong Kong to New York City; her drive to start Umamicart comes from her struggle to find the Asian ingredients she needed to cook the foods she wanted to eat.
"We hope to build a shopping experience that makes the so-called Asian section of the 'ethnic aisle' completely obsolete," Xu says. "The specific consumer we are building Umamicart for is someone who loves Asian and Asian American food products and ingredients, and can’t easily access them in their area. An experience that is putting this consumer at the center of it all is something that has been missing in the market."
With the new grocer, Xu wants to highlight new up-and-coming Asian American brands alongside much-loved legacy brands. Expect to find items like Fly By Jing's chili oils and Mother in Law's Kimchi alongside longtime Asian household staples like Lee Kum Kee or Lao Gan Ma. Still, those who may not be familiar with any of these brands, ingredients or flavors won't have trouble shopping Umamicart's well-designed website.
"With such a large catalog of products, we knew it was crucial that we made it easy for customers to navigate the site," Xu says. "Features like our designated 'departments' mimic an in-store shopping experience, and our occasion-specific kits include pre-selected items for cooking activities like DIY sushi night, hotpot, dumpling making and more."
The website's landing page for shopping Pantry 101 exemplifies Umamicart's team's dedication to ensuring everyone can have an accessible road map to shopping for Asian grocery items. At a quick glance, shoppers can find what they're looking for (or those items they might not know they need) and quickly add to cart or link out to learn more.
Similar to the design of its Pantry 101 page, dishes such as dumplings and hot pot have dedicated pages for finding all the ingredients needed to make the meal. As Xu says, her mother was used to getting phone calls from her daughter on what exactly certain recipes called for. With Umamicart, you know exactly what's needed, and you can get it shipped right to you.
Above all, Umamicart is an online grocery store that just wants to make sure you're paying a reasonable price to get the best quality items delivered to you with ease. The website may have just launched, but Xu is already focused on growing.
"Our catalog will continue to grow and evolve, just as Asian American food culture does," she says. "We plan to add hundreds more products in the near future, with the goal of allowing our customers to find every grocery item they need for their own Asian cuisine journeys. We still have so much more that we are planning and looking forward to adding, and we welcome product and ingredient requests!"