I just had a baby, my husband and I only have one car, and frankly, I’m kinda lazy. So I love the idea of Amazon bringing me all of my groceries. Can Amazon make my dreams come true and possibly even live up to the standard set by my favorite grocery store (Wegmans #ForTheWin)?
To find out, I’m trying out all three of Amazon’s grocery delivery services. Earlier, I gave you my Prime Now review, testing out their 2-hour delivery service that included limited groceries. Today, I’m taking a look at Amazon Fresh: their more robust grocery offering, which comes with a $14.99/month fee.
What is Amazon Fresh?
Amazon Fresh is Amazon’s grocery delivery business, offering fresh foods, locally-sourced products and Amazon.com items for same-day delivery. Operating in five regions, we give customers access to a diverse selection of items while simplifying their lives.
My take on it: Amazon is trying to create a true grocery delivery service with Amazon Fresh. They’re attempting to have the full stock of a real grocery store available. And they’re doing everything they can to make it as convenient as possible, so you’ll get in the habit of using it.
Unlike Prime Now (where the products are delivered in Amazon-branded paper grocery bags), Amazon Fresh deliveries are left on your doorstep in slick-looking sturdy Amazon Fresh totes (pictured above). The cold stuff is all packed together with extra insulation and a few ice packs to keep it cold. They just ask that you put the totes outside your door for the next delivery so they can take them back and reuse them!
The Magic Dash Wand
One of the really neat things they’re doing with Amazon Fresh is the Dash Wand. This handy little device has a barcode scanner, a microphone, and a wi-fi connection on it.
All you need to do is hold down the button on it, and then either scan the barcode of a product or say the name (e.g. “apples” or “butter” or “an 18-gallon jug of maple syrup”), and it will be added to your Amazon Fresh cart. If it’s not available on Amazon Fresh, it will add it to your regular Amazon cart. If the Dash Wand isn’t sure which brand of 18-gallon maple syrup jug you prefer, it will put a little prompt in your cart, asking you to choose:
You can even click the little speaker icon in your cart, so you can hear yourself asking for things (creepy!). But as one of the question answerers on the Amazon page pointed out, this is useful if you have multiple people in your household, and someone keeps adding cookies and ice cream to the list, and you need to identify the culprit. (In my case, it would be me. But maybe you can discover a sleepwalking and sleep-Amazon-shopping problem you didn’t know you had?)
Because it will add things to your regular Amazon cart, and not just to your Amazon Fresh cart, this is actually a very handy little device to have in the house even if you don’t use Amazon Fresh. (And it’s magnetic, so you can keep on the fridge!)
But, if you do decide to try out Amazon Fresh, there’s an added bonus with the Dash Wand: right now, Amazon is selling the Dash Wand for only $10 to Amazon Fresh customers… AND they’re giving out a $20 promotional credit when you order the Dash Wand. So, it’s on sale to Fresh customer for negative $10. (Currently, Amazon says this offer is valid through January 31st, 2017. But when I ordered my Dash Wand in December, it said it was only good through the end of that month, and then they extended it. Check the Amazon Dash Wand page to see the current offer.)
My Amazon Fresh Haul
This was actually my second Amazon Fresh delivery – the first order included the Dash Wand (of course). I signed up for Amazon Fresh under a promo that gives us a 30-day free trial (forgoing the $14.99 fee for the month). Again, check the Amazon Fresh website for the current promotion details.
So here’s my order, and how it compares to the prices at my usual (and favorite) grocery store, Wegmans:
|Amazon Fresh Item||Price||Wegmans Item||Price|
|Brussel Sprouts – 2 lbs
||$3.98||Wegmans Brussel Sprouts Family Pack, 2 lbs
|Shenandoah Apple Blossom Local Virginia Honey||$9.99||No equivalent available, leaving price in for comparison
|Bagged Hass Avocados, 4 count small
||$0.01||Avocados, Family Pack (4 count)
|Gold’n Plump, Whole Chicken, 56 oz||$6.20||Wegmans Roasting Chicken with Giblets – $0.88/lb||$3.08|
|Asparagus, 1 Bunch||$3.49||Asparagus, 1 Bunch||$5.24|
|Frigo Cheese Heads, String Cheese, 24 count||$7.10||Wegmans Cheese Sticks, Mozzarella, Family Pack – 1/2
|Bananas, 1 bunch (min. 5 ct.)||$1.38||Bananas, 1 bunch – $0.49/lb||$1.18|
|Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup, Roasted Chicken – 3||$0.93||Nissin Ramen Cup Noodles Soup, Chicken, 6 pack||$2.99|
|Nissin Ramen Cup Noodles Soup, Beef – 2||$1.58|
|Yams (Yellow to Orange Flesh), 2 lb||$3.91||Yams, 2 lb||$1.98|
|Maola, Whole Milk, Gallon, 128 oz||$4.52||Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Vitamin D Milk||$1.79|
|Idahoan Potato, Flakes, 13.75 oz||$1.49||Idahoan Potato Flakes, 13.75 oz
|Swanson Unsalted Chicken Stock, 32 oz – 2||$4.58||Wegmans Chicken Culinary Stock – 2||$3.98|
|Applegate, Natural Good Morning Bacon, 8 oz||$4.85||Wegmans Uncured Bacon, Applewood Smoked||$6.99|
|Mission, 10 Inch Burrito Flour Tortillas, 8 ct, 20 oz||$0.00||Wegmans Tomato & Basil Tortillas, Gordita Style
|Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Comfort Plus Mint Flavor Floss||$3.46||Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Comfort Plus Mint Flavor Floss||$5.99|
|Total (excluding tax):||$53.73||Total (excluding tax):||$60.46|
The above total does not include the $20.00 discount for the Dash Wand promotion, so my total paid that day was actually $33.73 before tax!
Now, if you read the above chart carefully… you might have noticed some weirdness. Let me explain my order and my methodology for the Wegmans equivalents:
- The Amazon Fresh avocados were on special (a “Fresh Deal“): 1 cent for 4!
- The tortillas were free because they ran out of the ones I had ordered – Sundried Tomato Basil ones – so they substituted plain ones and refunded the price! They were $3.47 when I placed the order.
- Strange that I could get local honey on Amazon Fresh, but not at my local Wegmans! So I just left it in the Wegmans one at the same price because I would have bought it somewhere – farmers market, maybe?
- Generally, I tried to find the equivalent whole product I would have bought from Wegmans, but in a few cases where the quantity/size was vastly different, I calculated out the adjusted price on the Wegmans side.
- What I really wanted was some Cup Noodles Chicken Flavor, but Amazon Fresh only seemed to have Beef Flavor… hence why I ended up ordering that, and also 3 things of Maruchan Roasted Chicken Flavor. Wegmans does have the Chicken Flavor cup noodles I would have bought… but no Maruchan (only Top Ramen). It’s a pity, really.
- (The Cup Noodles are entirely the fault of Final Fantasy XV, by the way. Product placement works.)
- Wegmans has coupons too – and theirs are in an app now! So I checked the app – none of the coupons this month would have applied to these items. Ah, well.
So, it was the nearly-free avocados and the coupons that made this order less than the Wegmans equivalent. But even so, the prices are actually comparable, which surprised me! Especially with the $20 Dash Wand promo on top of that, it was a great deal. If Amazon Fresh keeps up the coupons and “Fresh Deals,” the $14.99/month fee will actually be worth it.
Still, Amazon Fresh doesn’t completely eliminate my need to visit a local grocery store. Though they have a much more robust meat selection than Prime Now, it’s not as vast as I would like, and generally the meats are all much more expensive than Wegmans prices. A few examples:
|Amazon Fresh Item||Price||Wegmans Item||Price|
|Jennie-O, Lean Ground Turkey
||$4.89/lb||Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Ground Turkey
|80% Lean Special Blend Ground Beef||$7.79/lb||Wegmans 80% Lean Ground Beef, FAMILY PACK||$1.99/lb|
|Gold’n Plump, Family Pack Chicken Thighs
||$1.77/lb||Wegmans Chicken Thighs, Bone-In, FAMILY PACK
|NatureRaised Farms, Boneless Pork Center Cut Chops
||$7.72/lb||Wegmans Boneless Center Cut Pork Chops, FAMILY PACK
Cheese is pricier too. Because Amazon Fresh lacks a generic option, you’re paying brand name prices. For that reason, my order above lacks a lot of meat and cheese, even though I ferociously eat both. Price-wise, it makes more sense to still do a monthly visit to Wegmans to stock up on meats and cheeses.
And then there’s the stuff that Amazon Fresh just doesn’t have. Like 20 Mule Team Borax, which I need for my laundry and dishwasher thanks to a hard water problem in my apartment. It’s available from Amazon Prime Now (a completely different service), or at a severe upcharge on Amazon Prime, but it’s not available to me from Amazon Fresh at this time. No french lentils on Amazon Fresh, either.
Things go out of stock regularly, too. I originally had some aluminum foil in this order, scanned with the Dash Wand, but it disappeared from the cart before the order was placed. I didn’t see an alert for that one, but with the husband and I both using the Amazon cart, it could have just been the fact that he didn’t notice the alert and clicked away from it. Later, I scanned a box of kosher salt with the wand, and it too went out of stock and out of the cart (though I saw the notice in the cart for that one). These items were both available from Prime Pantry, but that’s yet another service with a different Amazon checkout, and shipping charges.
I bought Cheerios in my first order, and then for my second order, they were nowhere to be found in Amazon Fresh’s inventory. Now, they’re the headlining item for the cereal category! So things go in and out of stock, sometimes really inconveniently. The worst part is how the Cheerios didn’t show up as “out of stock” on Amazon Fresh – they just disappeared from the search results.
What I Love About Amazon Fresh
It may sound like I’m being overly critical of Amazon Fresh, but in reality, there are quite a few things I like about the service:
- The totes and delivery time frames make it super easy for me to do my grocery shopping without leaving the house or interacting with anyone. There are even really early morning deliveries available, which means I can get milk delivered before breakfast when I run out!
- Shopping from home also means that you won’t mistakenly buy something you already have. Do I need more clementines? Oh, I can just look in the fridge right now and see!
- Once you reserve a delivery time, you have an hour to check out (and keep your delivery time).
- You can add items to the delivery after you check out, if you forgot something. That’s how those instant potatoes ended up in my order!
- The Fresh Deals section has some fantastic deals, and makes it really easy to shop everything that’s on sale (unlike a physical grocery store).
- All of the produce was indeed fresh, which is more than I can say for most of the non-Wegmans grocery stores in my area (hence why I usually only buy produce from Wegmans)
- Everything about the Dash Wand. Even though an Amazon Echo can also add things to your cart with voice control, the Dash Wand has that cool barcode scanner. And at -$10 right now, the price is right!
- “Shop Past Purchases” function makes it really easy to get your “usual” stuff ordered fast.
- Though it’s a separate cart from the rest of Amazon, it’s better integrated into Amazon’s site and app than Prime Now. The two shopping carts appear as tabs on the side of the browser screen, which works pretty well.
What I Didn’t Like / Thought Could Be Better
- $14.99/month fee on top of the cost of a Prime membership makes this a pricey service if you don’t already have Prime for other reasons.
- Some of the product names are so long that the size gets cut off. That makes it hard to compare prices. I bought a block of mozzarella that was half the size I thought it was in my first order!
- Limited, expensive meat selection. The seafood selection is even worse.
- Some key (to me) items are missing, such as borax, french lentils, and certain spices. These items are available elsewhere on Amazon, but that’s a separate cart and order to place.
- Stock problems plague the service. Hopefully this is just a part of the growing pains of a new service.
Will I Continue to Use Amazon Fresh Past the Free Trial?
Maybe. I’m still undecided. Before I ran the math on my order, I thought Prime Now was going to come out the winner. I was not expecting my Amazon Fresh order to be cheaper than Wegmans!
Of course, most of the reason my order ended up cheaper is that I avoided buying items that were grossly overpriced on Amazon Fresh (meat, cheese, etc.). Because of this, Amazon Fresh isn’t completely replacing my need to go to the grocery store, which is what I’d hoped for. So is it worth the $14.99/month fee to replace 3 out of 4 shopping trips?
My initial thought is that we’ll keep the service active… for now. While I have an infant at home to take care of, the convenience makes a lot of sense. Maybe when the kid is older and I can pop out of the house more easily (ha! is that a thing?), it won’t make as much sense any more – we’ll see. Also, if the Fresh Deals start to dry up and prices rise, I’ll cut and run.
This is Part 1 of a 3-part series on Amazon’s grocery delivery services. Be sure to also check out the Prime Now review and the Prime Pantry review (coming soon!)
What do you think of grocery delivery from Amazon? Is Amazon Fresh available in your area? If so, have you tried it? Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
How was the delivery to your place / what was the speed like? I know it’s same-day but how late in the day might I be able to order then still receive muh foods?
1) Maruchan is way better than Top
2) If you’re looking for flavors that aren’t just chicken and beef, you can get more robust roast chicken or roast beef and also creamy chicken (my fave) or others at Shoppers – which I know is not convenient for you, but I figured you might want to know
3) A 12-pack of regular packet ramen or a 6 pack of cup noodle should be ~$2.50-3. If you’re buying individually instead of in packs they might be a little more, but the amazon prices here seem pretty high to me especially with the limited selection.
It may be because I’m in LA, but they advertise “same day or next day” to me. Probably an “in select areas” thing.
I’m not sure how late in the day you can place your order and still get it same-day. I checked at 4pm today, and there weren’t any more delivery windows available for today. That’s more Prime Now’s thing than Amazon Fresh. I’ll try to check again in the morning tomorrow to see if same-day is possible! Screenshot of my delivery time options at 4pm today: https://poorerthanyou.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Amazon_Fresh_Select_Delivery_Time.png
Also restricting your delivery time are some of the items – if they are out of stock and not coming back in until a certain time. This happened to me with the 1-cent avocado pack. I placed the order on Wednesday, but the avocados weren’t available until Friday at 4am, so I got my order Friday morning. I was given the option to pick an earlier delivery time, but without the avocados in my order.
The delivery itself was great – I picked the 6am-8am window so that we would have milk for breakfast that day. I woke up at about 8:10 and looked outside the door, and there were the 3 green totes waiting for me! I think they normally knock if you pick a more “regular” delivery time.
As far as ramen goes, that’s one thing I liked about living in LA – the Ralph’s down the street had a huge selection of ramen (I want to say it was Maruchan), individual packs, and I think they were like 6 or 7 for $1!
Amazon Fresh is lacking in the multipacks of Cup Noodles, They do have a 12 pack of Maruchan chicken flavor for $3.19: http://amzn.to/2iPg6Ka
As far as Top Ramen goes, it’s fine. Except for the Oriental Flavor, which is as awesome as it is mysterious (what does “Oriental Flavor” even MEAN?!?) – I friggin love Top Ramen Oriental Flavor.
Wonder if they deliver in the evening / at night in busy areas such as NYC and LA?
With grocery home delivery:
1- Choices not always are honored as it may be out of stock.
2- A person has to be waiting for delivery to receive the grocery.
3- A person has to put away grocery in refrigerator.
My question? Is their away that I can avoid all the above? Is there a consumer add value if grocery delivery is made and stocked in refrigerator without customer involvement? Live valet car parking with all safety requirements.
My friend has a concept to do that in really innovative way, is there a room for that in the grocery industry? Your thoughts is appreciated.
As for Amazon Fresh, 1 and 3 do apply, but 2 does not – you can schedule the delivery for a time when you are not home, if you want, since the items are delivered with ice packs and dry ice to keep cold items cold and frozen items frozen. Not a bad deal. Also, you can schedule it for a time when you will be home, and not have to sit around waiting at a time that isn’t convenient. And even if you have to run out to do an errand, again, there are those ice packs and dry ice packs to keep the stuff cold until you get back.
I’m not sure I would want someone to come into my home and stock my fridge for me, just a personal preference.
Something to keep in mind is that Amazon fresh does not ask for a tip. If you do more than 3 prime now orders at 5 dollars a tip per order, a month then the $15 a month would actually be cheaper than prime now.
That’s very true! The thing I like about Prime Now and the tip, though, is that you only pay when you place an order. So if you don’t make 3 or more Fresh orders in a given month, you are paying more that you would if those were Prime Now orders instead. Ideally, I’d rather have Prime Now (with all the selection of Amazon Fresh) and be able to pay the tip/fee only when I use the service. Because as it is, it looks like we are only placing 2-3 Amazon Fresh orders per month, meaning that Prime Now would probably be cheaper. Alas, Prime Now does not offer as many of the foods as Amazon Fresh, so the extra cost is worth it (for now).
Do you happen to know if they charge you if you decide to keep the totes?
I’m not sure, Megan, as I haven’t cancelled the service yet. They do let you keep the totes between orders (more like force you to keep them honestly, since there’s no way to return them except to place another order!). My guess is that no, they don’t charge you if you still have totes and you cancel the service, but I haven’t tested that theory yet. May be worth popping into Amazon’s LiveChat and just asking – they’re usually very helpful.
I love the service and convenience, however the produce I have received is a D+ or C- at best. I can’t say enough positive things about the delivery and the pricing (wouldn’t you pay someone $15 a month to run to the store for you)? I am really hoping the produce improves greatly.
I agree about the delivery and pricing, Bcubed! Would you mind sharing your general location? The produce here in Northern Virginia has been A or A+ in my experience (we’ve placed 5 order or so, thus far), but I definitely believe that it could vary based on where you are. :-/
I’m in the Dallas TX area. I have many choices for my fresh produce that are within minutes from my house. I’m trying to decide if Amazon Fresh is the way to go or maybe I’ll use Shipt. I love my Amazon Prime membership and the way that Amazon does business in general so I went to them first.
In NYC and Long Island I use http://www.ourharvest.com. They sell truly fresh poultry, meats, seafood as well as cheeses and baked goods. They are an online farmers market. They also support local food food kitchens by donating a meal if your purchase is over 25 dollars
Lisa C says
I’m curious if you have seen any change in their service lately? In the Chicago market they have switched from the green reusable bags to brown paper and cardboard – and they do not take away any of the packaging when they return for the next delivery. Amazon’s “solution” is that you are supposed to thaw the ice packs, then drain the gel into the trash, and then recycle the plastic along with the rest of the cardboard/bags. It is pretty crazy. Love the service, but the packaging situation in my opinion is just awful.
Hi Lisa! Yes, they have switched us to that packaging here, as well. I actually prefer it, honestly. Even though I hate waste, it’s more convenient for me than the big totes that couldn’t always be folded up and had to be stored somewhere in my small apartment until the next delivery… when I would have new totes to try to store. And one time (only one time), the Amazon Fresh delivery person didn’t pick up the totes – and it just happened to be the time they brought us our biggest order ever, so now we had 3x the number of totes in the apartment! So I was actually quite relieved the day they switched the packaging, and took away all of those totes.
I’ve found a use for some of the freezer packs, and the paper bags are handy for taking out our recycling (since plastic bags are not good for recycling, they clog up the sorting machines at the recycling facility, I prefer paper bags in order to be helpful, and this gives us a good steady supply of them). I agree that we end up with more of this packaging than we need, but again, I personally don’t want to go back to the totes, so I’m not sure what the alternative would be for the “leave at door” option. I guess it would be to always use the “Attended Delivery” option, instead. So I’m happy with the way they are doing it now, since I can’t think of any better way to do it!
Love the service…can’t stand the totes. I currently have 25 of them sitting outside my house for over a week. Six calls to customer service and zilch zero Zippo in being successful at having them picked up. I am considering cancelling the service because of this…pity because otherwise I like it.
@Theresa – Ooof! They failed to pick up the totes on me, only once. Unfortunately it was a time when we ordered a much larger-than-usual order, so we were left with triple the usual number of totes in our small apartment. But, we wrote into customer service and they took all the totes the next time.
Since then, our area has switched to paper bags (with silver “bubble wrap” inserts for cold stuff), and that’s been a lot nicer. They still seem to use a tote occasionally, so we have a few waiting here for the next dropoff/pickup.
Would it be possible for you to schedule an “attended dropoff” just once, so that you could meet the delivery person face-to-face and say “Please take all these totes with you?” That way they couldn’t slink away without taking your totes!
Len White says
In my neighborhood in Boston, ‘attended dropoff’ is the only option. This works out well for me since the items are all in a plastic bag within the tote bags so I’m able to take everything out quickly and have the driver take the tote back immediately. I was surprised to read that Amazon uses paper bags in other places, with ice packs, since bags are only used here for canned good, or dry items.
I do really like the service except for how often they discontinue products on ‘Fresh’ that I’ve previously purchased. I recently went through my past purchases and found that approximately 25% of those products are no longer available from ‘Fresh’. Not to mention the out of stock items which can be frustrating. Otherwise, I’m a big fan of the service.
Len, I agree with your 2nd paragraph 100%! Couldn’t have said it better myself. 🙂
Used to be my go-to. However, they switched from their own delivery fleet to US Postal Service, and the last five weeks I used them were a disaster of undelivered orders, extremely late (as in 6 hours or more) orders and the last straw — an order in which I got the soda, only, on time, the pantry/packaged goods 38 hours later, and the perishables not at all. Customer service is great, as always — got refunds immediately and credits for the inconvenience, but you just cant expect people to stick around when it’s an unending comedy of errors. Many apologies, and even the customer service people admitting to me that the service in my area had been so bad they didn’t blame me for quitting. This was in Brooklyn, NY in February to March 2018.
Wow Kat! I can’t believe they switched to USPS delivery – I would have left too. I work in Customer Service for an ecommerce retailer (and have done so for several different ecommerce retailers since 2009), and I have a million horror stories about USPS. I’m glad Amazon customer service took care of you, but yeah, I can’t even imagine the comedy of errors from having USPS deliver groceries!
Brian McCarthy says
I tried Amazon Fresh today. Never again.
8 items missing. Amazon said driver forgot them, and they’d deliver again in an hour. Never did. Amazon just refunded and said “tough luck”.
One strike you’re out. Back to Peapod.
Driver repeatedly over months refused to ring the doorbell or knock on the door upon delivering my items. I would not only report this to Amazon Fresh customer service but occasionally would go after them before they got into the elevator asking them to let me know when my goods have arrived. I always select “attended” on the order form which says clearly the driver will “hand me my items.” I always left instructions on how to deliver to my building, including that we provide free 30min temporary parking for delivery trucks, that we have full building staff that can help with the items and ring up to my apartment to see if someone is home, and we have carts to help carry the items as well as four elevators. A simple polite ringing of the doorbell would be helpful and not just dropping the goods and running away. I have over a period of months reported this to Amazon and this last time they told me I had no proof and that the driver said he did his job and his word is over mine and they gave me instructions on how to leave the service. Unreal. I would never recommend this service to family or friends, and I would choose local services like Roche Brothers, Stop & Shop’s Pea Pod, and even Instakart over Amazon Fresh — and we even have two local Whole Foods! I have never been treated as poorly by customer service from any company as I have from Amazon Fresh. Also, learn how to pack eggs! Don’t just throw a carton of eggs into a bag and hope for the best! These people don’t even know how to pack a grocery bag.
Braun Felder says
Since Amazon refused to post my review on their site as it did not adhere to their “guidelines”, I’ll go ahead and place it here, and probably a few other places as I don’t like to be censored for honest reviews.
I’ve had great experienced with Peapod and Safeway delivery, but I received a coupon from Amazon for Fresh so I decided to give it a go. First, I accidentally thought the delivery option was 9-11am, but it was actually 9-11pm. My fault, but when I called to change it, the only way to modify the order was to cancel it according to the call center rep. So I left it as is. When the delivery was made, there was no notice, no knock on the door, no email or text saying it was there… so the bags ended up sitting out in the rain for 15 minutes before I checked the door again.
One of the bags was missing, the eggs were crushed, and the jar of sauerkraut was not sealed. I called Amazon to see what happened and they told me one of the bags was lost and they wouldn’t be redelivering because of the holiday, so they issued a refund for the missing items. The next morning I let out the dogs and the missing bag was delivered, it had been sitting outside all night I guess. Fortunately it was mostly produce so it was okay, but the blueberries had fallen out of the package and were loose in the bag. The order was still missing the dip, but I wouldn’t have eaten it anyway as it would have been sitting out in the heat for hours.
I didn’t bother to call back for the refund of the other missing/damaged items as I’m tired of dealing with Fresh at this point. I’ll certainly never use them again, especially given the high price of the groceries.