Over the past year, many have used grocery delivery services, some out of convenience, others out of necessity. Forty-eight percent of consumers purchased at least some of their groceries online in 2018, according to Invespcro. The company projects that 70 percent will be using these services in some capacity by 2022.
At the Kitchen Chalkboard, we’ve been using these services since they started and have written extensively about the benefits, including cost comparisons and money-saving tips. We’ve got jobs, busy lives and are raising little kids. The convenience was unrivaled.
After trying Instacart, Peapod, and others, we exclusively use one service for our food shopping. With hundreds of orders placed to date, we have years of experience and insight to provide an honest Amazon Fresh review.
Want to learn how it works, what it costs, and how it compares to Whole Foods?
Let’s go to The Chalkboard for an honest Amazon Fresh review.
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What Is Amazon Fresh?
Before we can give an honest Amazon Fresh review we need to know exactly what it is.
Fresh is the online retailer’s grocery service. Previously available for an additional fee, it’s now included in the cost of a Prime membership. Fresh is also the name of the behemoth’s brick-and-mortar grocery stores.
How Does Amazon Fresh Work?
Online Grocery Shopping
The service allows you to place a grocery order from anywhere and have it delivered. You simply add the items to your cart, choose a delivery time, and check out. Orders are on your doorstep within a two-hour timeframe without contact. There’s no need to be home.
After placing the order, workers fulfill it at regional hubs. Then, drivers using their vehicles will deliver the order. The entire process is contactless, but driver tips are encouraged.
Note that, although you are not required to be home, items need to be stored promptly. The groceries are in brown paper bags without anything to keep them at the appropriate temperature.
Amazon Fresh Stores
The Amazon Fresh store is a newer concept with locations in Illinois, California, Maryland, and other sites popping up throughout the country. All of your favorite items are there, and they offer prepared foods, too. The whole goal of the store is to save you time.
The significant selling features of these stores are the order ahead option and the dash carts. Customers can go online ahead of time and order prepared foods, deli items, etc., and they will be waiting for them when they arrive.
The Dash Carts allow shoppers to exit the store without checking out. This concept is exciting, and many wonder just how the dash carts work.
Here’s the deal. When you arrive, you grab a shopping cart equipped with a Smart device. It will provide you with a QR code that links to your Amazon account. As you pick out items, you scan them and place them in bags. When finished shopping, walk through the orange dash line. Your total is calculated based on your scans and receipts sent via email. Return your cart, and your visit is complete.
There are still checkers there. Dash carts are best for short trips (1-2 bags).
Amazon Fresh vs. Whole Foods
Amazon is constantly changing and evolving, and often their moves are made without much noise. They purchased Whole Foods in 2018 and, after some time, brought their products into the fold. As of October 2021, they have separated a bit.
You can place a Whole Foods order through Amazon’s website and pick it up at your local store or have it delivered for a $10 fee. Fresh does not have any stores, so pick up is not an option. Fresh delivery does not have any additional costs; it is a benefit included with Prime Membership.
The store and the service focus on general groceries, while Whole Foods is mainly organic and prepared foods. You can undoubtedly find organic produce at Fresh but not to the level of Whole Foods.
For years many jokingly referred to Whole Foods as “whole paycheck” due to their high prices. When Amazon purchased the grocer, they focussed on lowering costs. There have been several rounds of price cuts since the merger. According to Tech Crunch, some expenses have been slashed by up to 30 percent.
Amazon also offers exclusive sales for Prime members shopping at Whole Foods. You can download the app for special deals and look for Blue signs that are Prime-only discounts and yellow signs that offer deeper discounts for members only. Overall, prices are a bit higher at Whole Foods due to the types of products they carry.
When grocery shopping online, the most significant cost difference between the two services is the $10 delivery fee for Whole Foods. Fresh does not have a delivery fee since part of a Prime membership.
Whole Foods has the option to order online and pick up in-store. Fresh does not have that choice, even for their retail outlets. Whole Foods charges a $10 delivery fee.
I’ve found that Whole Foods has more delivery times available than Fresh. Most of the time, it isn’t hard to get a Fresh delivery time, but sometimes you may need to wait a day or two.
Amazon Fresh Review – Cost
Amazon Fresh benefit is included in the cost of your Prime Membership, which is $119 a year or $12.99 a month. The prices of items are comparable to an average grocery store, if not a little less.
One additional cost is a driver tip. The amount starts at $5 and increases with the cost of your order. It’s worth noting that drivers make a little above minimum wage, tips are optional, and 100% of the amount goes to the driver. You can change the amount up to 24 hours after receiving an order.
Amazon Fresh Review – Delivery Time
On the homepage, Amazon shows when delivery windows are available. You won’t see specific times until check out, but you can get a sense of a delivery day. In my experience, it’s busier earlier in the week. I’ve been able to do same-day deliveries on Saturday, but I won’t get a time until Friday if I try to book on Wednesday.
The company releases time slots throughout the day. If you can’t find the time you want, keep your cart and check in frequently, you might be able to get your preferred time. Early mornings and late nights are usually easier to secure.
An Honest Amazon Fresh Review
After trying Instacart, Peapod, and others, we exclusively use Amazon Fresh for our food shopping. We have years of experience and insight to provide an honest Amazon Fresh review.
Amazon Fresh is one of the BEST benefits of prime membership. It is worth every penny!
Their inventory system is top-notch, so you are rarely missing an item from an order. Prices are at or below what you would pay at the grocery store, and you are likely to save the money you would spend on the driver’s tip.
The only downside is that you need to be a bit flexible when it comes to delivery. When Fresh is busy, you may need to wait a day or two. So if you are a person that has a bare refrigerator, it may not work.
Also, make sure you will be home close to the delivery window. Items are packaged in brown bags and should not be left outside.
How To Save Money Using Amazon Fresh
If you use Fresh, here are some ways to save money on your orders.
- Check out the deal section. Some manufacturers will have products for as little as a penny!
- Meal plan before you start your order. Having an idea of what you are cooking will stop you from buying things you don’t need.
- Shop from your kitchen. Check your pantry before adding an item to the cart to stop buying things you already have in the pantry.
- Be flexible! If a recipe calls for a specific vegetable or meat, see if another comparable one is on sale.
- Buy non-perishable bulk items elsewhere. Stick to Costco for paper towels, napkins, trash bags, and aluminum foil.
- Look into an Amazon credit card. It provides 5% back on all purchases, including groceries.
What Do You Think?
Has this Amazon Fresh review convinced you to sign up? Which service do you use? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear!
Happy Grocery Shopping!
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