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AmazonFresh Review: Is it a Good Deal?

We tried out AmazonFresh for a month to find out if it's really worth the cost.

Updated 8/30/17

Shopping for groceries can be really time-consuming, and while convenient and fast meal options may come cheap, they also tend to be pretty unhealthy. Luckily, more and more options are popping up to help maximize the value of your time. AmazonFresh was started back in 2007 (in limited markets) by the world’s most popular online marketplace and aims to deliver you fresh ingredients at a price and time that works best for you.

As a result of Amazon acquiring Whole Foods, you can now order Whole Foods items through AmazonFresh. This is a new addition as of August 28, 2017.

AmazonFresh currently delivers to shoppers in Boston, Baltimore, Seattle, Stamford, Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago, New York metro, Northern Virginia, London and parts of California and New Jersey. Amazon has plans to expand to more markets soon.

I decided to give the service a try recently and here's what I found.

Check if AmazonFresh is available in your area here 

How Much Does AmazonFresh Cost?

To start, you'll need an Amazon Prime membership to access AmazonFresh, and then it will run you $14.99 per month, or $179.88 per year, in addition to your $99 annual Prime membership. Previously, the cost was a rather steep $299 per year (including Prime), but in late 2016, Amazon lowered the cost and made it possible to pay month to month instead. Additionally, delivery is free for orders of at least $40; orders of less than $40 will have a $9.99 delivery fee added to the total.

You'll get your first month of AmazonFresh for free and the service is easy to setup. As far as the cost of the groceries goes, produce through AmazonFresh was around 25% to 50% higher than my local Vons grocery store, with something like a bundle of celery costing $2.49 through Amazon and only $1.99 at Vons.

On the other hand, packaged products like Doritos chips cost $4.49 at Vons and just $3.98 on AmazonFresh, while Philadelphia Cream Cheese was $3.99 at Vons and $2.99 on AmazonFresh. On average, I found that packaged foods were 15% to 30% cheaper, which helped shift the total average cost closer than I had expected. After comparing several orders, the cost of using AmazonFresh was less than 10% more than that of a traditional grocery chain.

The Shopping Experience

If you're familiar with browsing and shopping on Amazon, you should have no issues locating items in Fresh. Items are broken up into traditional grocery store categories, such as “Breads & Bakery,” “Deli,” “Produce,” etc., and you can even narrow down food results based on things like “Kosher,” “Gluten-Free,” or “Organic.” Here in the Los Angeles area, they even had a section titled “Local Market,” with specialty items from local spots, such as The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills.

Once you have a cart full of AmazonFresh items, just reserve a delivery time and check out. You'll be prompted to choose a delivery day (based on availability) and select either "Doorstep Delivery" for a three-hour delivery window which you do not have to be present for, or "Attended Delivery" for a one-hour window when you will be available to take the delivery. Nearly all of the time slots during the week were open for each of my orders, making delivery quite convenient.

Quality Of Products

I opted for Doorstep Delivery in each of my three test orders and had no issues with the USPS truck rolling up and dropping off our bright green insulated bags. Each AmazonFresh bag is durable plastic and includes ice packets to help keep your produce fresh until you bring the order inside. (You can leave delivery bags outside to be picked up during the next order.)

The produce quality was surprisingly good. I ordered an array of broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, ginger and much more. Each and every one was without blemishes and seemed to be hand picked to make sure it was of the highest quality. Your mileage may vary depending on your location of course, but I had no problems with any produce delivered throughout the month. The only issue I did have was with a couple items not being available for a week, including packaged broccoli florets and a bag of avocados. This first world problem simply led me to get whole broccoli and avoid guacamole for a week. But for the most part, each packaged and produce item showed up without the damage or flaws that you might be concerned about with a delivery service.

Whole Foods on AmazonFresh

Whole Foods AmazonFresh

Somewhere around 1,000 Whole Foods products are available to order through AmazonFresh, with more on the way. Most of them seem to be Whole Foods' "low cost" 365 brand. You'll find that product selection varies quite a lot by category. For example, you'll see a decent amount of options in categories such as beverages, frozen goods, cereal, cooking & baking and snack foods. But there's no fresh meat or produce available in the Whole Foods section of AmazonFresh at this point.

Competition

Many local grocery chains have started to offer delivery services, and several online businesses have also popped up to help you avoid getting in the car, so it is definitely worth considering all of your options before you choose a grocery delivery service.

Google Express has recently added produce delivery in the San Francisco and Los Angeles markets, plus they offer a three-month free trial for new customers. The service costs $95 per year, or pay a flat fee of $4.99 per store for non-members. The minimum price for orders that include fresh groceries is $35. This may seem like a cheaper option, but you would have to consider the fee per store and make sure you don’t spread your orders out across several locations. Plus, the limited market leaves a lot of shoppers out in the cold.

Instacart is another popular same-day delivery service operating in an expanding list of cities across the country. Prices range from $5.99 for a two-hour delivery window to $7.99 for a one-hour delivery window. Alternatively, they offer a membership fee of $149 per year. The annual pricing is lower than AmazonFresh, and could be a good option, especially if you live in a region where it is available, but AmazonFresh is not.

You could also check out the Shipt app, which is growing on the East Coast and in Texas, and offers similar features to AmazonFresh with a yearly membership for $99 or a monthly membership for $14. Shipping is free for orders of at least $35, but the company mentions an average product price increase of around 15%. The company continues to expand, but with limited stores and the increased cost of groceries, this program may not be an option for you.

Bottom Line

It seems that Amazon may have finally found a cost that makes sense for AmazonFresh service. At $14.99 per month and no delivery fees (assuming each order is at least $40), there's definitely a lot of appeal for busy folks looking to get their groceries delivered through AmazonFresh. I haven’t had a chance to try the competition, but with reasonable membership fees and one of the biggest available markets, Fresh might just beat out the competition depending on where you live and how you shop. If you are a current Prime member and can get AmazonFresh in your area, I think it is certainly worth a try.

Have you tried any of the grocery delivery services? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Give AmazonFresh a try Today!

Photos by Nolan Browning.

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Nolan Browning Contributor

Nolan is an avid automotive, electronic, and gadget enthusiast. If it has an engine or a processor, he can't keep his hands off it. He was introduced to Windows 3.1 in the early '90s and has been hooked ever since. Deal alerts include "mechanical keyboard," "smart watch," and "bulk candy."


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19 Comments

1 2
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#2
Thanks for the review, I didn't know that they dropped the price last year. That $300 upfront fee was a deal breaker for me - I might give this a shot now. Random question, do you know if Amazon's credit card that gives you 5% cash back works with Amazon Fresh too? That could help bring down the overall markup of ~10% that you saw.
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#3
Quote from Dem Bums View Post :
Thanks for the review, I didn't know that they dropped the price last year. That $300 upfront fee was a deal breaker for me - I might give this a shot now. Random question, do you know if Amazon's credit card that gives you 5% cash back works with Amazon Fresh too? That could help bring down the overall markup of ~10% that you saw.
We've been getting the 5% but there's no option to apply rewards to a Fresh order but we apply it to other basics like toilet paper and dog food ordered through Prime. The meat is $$$ but good selection of organics and pasture raised.
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Our community has rated this post as helpful. If you agree, why not rep JohanM1228?
#4
We've used Amazon Fresh for over a year now and it's definitely convenient. I was strongly against it in the beginning because of the price at the time, but we had a newborn and that just made going to the grocery store more of a project. With the updated pricing model, it comes out to about $3.45 a week. I can skip a coffee a week or pack lunch a couple more times a month to offset that expense. Although, I've noticed some of the produce we buy have actually been cheaper on Amazon Fresh than our local grocery store.

We've had several cartons of eggs damaged during delivery, and sometimes items are missing, but if you just call customer service they will take care of it pretty fast.

The Amazon Fresh bags are actually really good quality. They don't seem to keep good track of them, so you can always keep a couple as your beach/picnic cooler bags! Smilie
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#5
So basically you are paying $280 a year to have your groceries delivered to you? And the groceries are more expensive too? how was this only a 10% difference? The math doesnt seem to add up.
Reply Helpful Comment? 5 6
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#6
This is not only a convienence this is a necessity.
I have been preaching about no availability of delivery of fresh groceries for a few years now. You don't understand unless you are someone in serious need of this service. I am not talking about soccer moms or 20 somethings just too busy to deal with life... I am talking about a situation where life its self is in jeopardy because you have no access to food.

If you are disabled, If you are a senior unable to drive because of age, If you are a Veteran or someone with low vision or maybe you just had cancer treatment or are under home care but can still make it to your front door....

THERE IS NO WAY TO GET FRESH FOOD TO YOUR HOME..

No coldcuts or cheese for sandwiches, no hotdogs unless you want sewer dogs from a can.. no fresh meat unless you want to pay insane prices from a steak company..

AND THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY IN #@$@ you can get something as simple as a bag of grapes..... or a dozen eggs.

NO ONE WILL DELIVER.. there is a pizza place right next to my local foodlion.. they share a wall.. that pizza place will deliver a $10 pizza.. the foodlion won't deliver a $250 order of food for the month..

You can buy paper towels or toilet paper at premiums.. you can buy cans of food online for a premium.. but you can not feed yourself if you have no way to do it...

AND DON'T EVEN TELL ME MEALS ON WHEELS .. They may help a number of people but if you don't know how that service works NEVER MENTION IT.. its not reasonable.. they bring out one prepared meal a day.. often foods that you can not eat if you are on a special diet because they make the meals out of donated bulk restaurant leftovers and food donated to them.. I appreciate that they go to people's homes and a visit from someone nice is an amazing thing.. but they won't.. they won't even consider.. they won't even talk about them delivering a bunch of bananas.. you get what they bring.. thats all .. FINE its great its amazing for a lot of people.. but one meal about the quality and size of a 3rd graders school lunch wont keep you going.. it won't keep you healthy .. but the visits .. wonderful. I have no idea why they won't consider delivering food.. or working with companies and groceries to get it done.

I have talked with the Lions Club they are for people with vision problems.. no one will agree.. I have talked with the senior centers run by the AARP.. they won't talk about or consider it..

I have called at least half a dozen major grocers and they won't consider it...

WHEN ITS THE DIFFERENCE OF LOSING YOUR HOME.. LOSING ANY COMFORT YOU HAVE.. GIVING IT TO A REHAB COMPANY THAT WILL TAKE YOUR LAST DIME AND THEN WHEN THE MONEY IS GONE WHAT DO YOU DO.. YOU CAN'T WORK AGAIN.. YOU CAN NEVER LIVE ON YOUR OWN AGAIN.. YOU GET TRANSFERRED TO SOME HORRIBLE PLACE THAT MAKES PRISON LOOK LIKE A LUXURY HOTEL.

If you are able to work in your yard but cant drive 3 miles to a store with isles and isles of food...

Do you get the idea...

All of us will be faced with this situation.. You give up everything because you can't get food.. or you live off delivery of pizza ...

Now if you live in a major city.. or if you are in a tiny town and the grocer knows you personally.. well you might be able to get food .. actual food delivered...

But what does this say about our society that a grocery store sits wall to wall with a pizza place and the pizza place will deliver .. but no amount of money will get you a bunch of grapes or bananas or eggs or fresh milk or .......

ITS FRICKEN SCARY... ITS UNFAIR .. AND ITS CORRUPT...

someone is stopping these mega grocers from hiring the same kid the pizza place does then charging a $99 membership and requiring you to pay for your orders up front.. I WOULD TOTALLY DO THAT.. and so would every disabled vet and senior ... and yes even the soccer mom..
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Last edited by ZippyTheChicken April 4, 2017 at 07:11 PM.
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#7
Jet has Fresh no additional payment per month and shipping is flat rate 4.99 prices are good somethings are fair price somethings a little for me Milk is $3.00 on jet and 3.15 at the local store. Dozen eggs 1.00 and thats what sale prices are here. Beef is high but not crazy... I had one box with no ice ruined 2 things but was refunded and gave me Jet credit. fresh fruit was fine and has fridge and freezer stuff.
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Last edited by KylaW April 4, 2017 at 08:45 PM.
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#8
4 hours of grocery shopping a month x wages = ? Of course you still have to order stuff though.
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#9
We have been doing for years now. Before, we would hit Trader Joes for the fresh food and then go to Vons for paper towels, bottled water, soap, and other things that TJs would have an insane markup on. The cost of gas and wear on the car alone is more than the membership fee. Factor in the fact that you avoid going up and down the aisles piling in every snack and 'on sale' product on eth end caps, and you're saving money. For us, we saved even more money because we hated grocery shopping so we would get like three weeks worth of food at a time, and by the end we were tossing produce left and right. With our weekly deliveries, we almost never throw anything out now. Plus, we love their butcher meat. So good.
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#10
Those bags scream Soylent Green.
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#11
I'm on a free trial due to a car accident leaving me housebound. There's a lot of ground you failed to cover. Do NOT tip the drivers. If you search the internet you'll find a lot of conflicting information about it. Per Amazon Fresh CS, it is against policy for drivers to accept tips. Orders are often wrong so you have to immediately contact CS and let them know. I'm typically credited for the missing or wrong item and credited with a voucher for a few bucks off my next order.

The produce sucks. But that's to be expected. If you want fresh veggies that won't expire in a day or so then you need to go pick them out personally at a local store. You can't use coupons with Fresh unless they're offering them and they generally don't. There are sales like 30% off pasta essentials but that's about it. Generally, Amazon Fresh prices are higher than the supermarket.

Supermarkets like Safeway, which is big on the west coast, already accepts food stamps and the delivery fee is cheaper. Fresh has yet to implement this. If they can't get the orders right and are constantly doing credits/refunds then that may seriously mess up your benefits. Having tried both now, I recommend Safeway delivery or your local supermarket chain if you absolutely need it. If you need to cancel Amazon Fresh it's easy to do.

All in all, it comes down to convenience - or in my case a car accident - and how much you can and are willing to pay.
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#12
Quote from LC2 View Post :
I'm on a free trial due to a car accident leaving me housebound. There's a lot of ground you failed to cover. Do NOT tip the drivers. If you search the internet you'll find a lot of conflicting information about it. Per Amazon Fresh CS, it is against policy for drivers to accept tips. Orders are often wrong so you have to immediately contact CS and let them know. I'm typically credited for the missing or wrong item and credited with a voucher for a few bucks off my next order.

The produce sucks. But that's to be expected. If you want fresh veggies that won't expire in a day or so then you need to go pick them out personally at a local store. You can't use coupons with Fresh unless they're offering them and they generally don't. There are sales like 30% off pasta essentials but that's about it. Generally, Amazon Fresh prices are higher than the supermarket.

Supermarkets like Safeway, which is big on the west coast, already accepts food stamps and the delivery fee is cheaper. Fresh has yet to implement this. If they can't get the orders right and are constantly doing credits/refunds then that may seriously mess up your benefits. Having tried both now, I recommend Safeway delivery or your local supermarket chain if you absolutely need it. If you need to cancel Amazon Fresh it's easy to do.

All in all, it comes down to convenience - or in my case a car accident - and how much you can and are willing to pay.
Sorry to hear you had a bad experience with Amazon Fresh, but I couldn't disagree with you more about the produce. I've never noticed a difference in quality compared to what I see at the grocery store. Obviously, you can't hand pick your produce when shopping online, but I've never received old fruit or veggies in over a year. Maybe it's just a local issue? I have received damaged items several times, though, but after they changed their bags it hasn't happened too often.

Also, why would you think you need to tip the delivery driver? You don't tip the mailman or the Amazon delivery driver who drops off your other Amazon orders, and they're the same people who deliver Amazon Fresh.
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#13
Just started using Fresh about two weeks ago. It's convenient, and the prices seem alright. I usually eat frozen meals for lunch and the selection is hit or miss, and seems to change frequently. On my 5th (or so) order, the frozen stuff arrived with dry ice bags, but no dry ice. The frozen food was NOT frozen anymore. The order came less than 24 hours after it was placed. I am still on the free trial, and considering keeping it if they can keep my frozen stuff frozen. I have three grocery stores within five miles, but my SO likes shopping online.
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#14
Great for times when you can't make it to the grocery store, but nearly all items on Amazon Fresh are overpriced so it definitely isn't worth it unless you have cash to throw away, on top of that you have to not only drop $ for a prime membership but also drop $ for a amazon fresh membership.

Definitely not for budget shoppers who can not only get prices cheaper at the grocery store but also free shipping after a purchase amount is met.

Amazon Fresh shoppers need to savor every bite because they sure paid a lot for it.
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#15
I understand the service. It's great for a grocery shopping after a long trip, vacation, or a busy week/month. However, I can't see paying the $14.99 subscription every month.

I like to choose my produce, deli meats/cheeses, steaks, chicken, etc.... With a service, they just grab the next available in the stockpile. we have tried Peapod, Shoprite, Freshdirect, and Amazon. We run across the same problems......We didn't like the steak choices, or the vegetables were past the fresh date.

**almost forgot: Bonus with ordering though, you can save lists, which can be reordered. This can also be negative if you don't need something specific again. The first order for my family of 5 took 4 hours to put together. **keeping in mind this is a once per month order.
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Last edited by destefmx6 August 22, 2017 at 09:51 PM.
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