Can Amazon replace my favorite grocery store? As a one-car family with a brand new baby, I was keen to find out! I’ve checked out Amazon’s Prime Now 2-hour delivery, and the Amazon Fresh grocery delivery – now it’s time for their dry-goods-in-a-box service, Prime Pantry.
Prime Pantry has been around a lot longer than Amazon’s other grocery offerings. It’s also the only one that’s available to all Prime members – not just people who live in certain areas. Despite all that, this is the first time I’ve actually ordered anything from Prime Pantry. But I got a $5 off Prime Pantry promo from selecting the “No Rush” shipping on a previous Amazon Prime order, so I figured… why not?
What is Prime Pantry?
Prime members can shop for groceries and household products in everyday package sizes (for example, a single box of cereal) with Prime Pantry. Prime Pantry allows Amazon to expand its selection and offer thousands of items to Prime Members that are cost prohibitive to ship for free individually.
Prime Pantry provides vast selection, exclusive savings, and convenience. You can purchase groceries and household items in everyday sizes, as opposed to bulk sizes, online or using the Amazon.com mobile apps, and have these items delivered to your doorstep, saving you a trip to the store and giving you some time back in your busy life. Prime Pantry also provides great value with Weekly Deals and Coupons.
My take? Prime Pantry is a $5.99 box, that you can fill with any number of non-perishable food items or drugstore-type items, and the shipping cost will remain just $5.99 as long as everything fits in the box. You don’t need to 100% fill the Prime Pantry box – that’s a misconception I had before I looked closer at the service. However, your brain will trick you into thinking that you do, just to justify the shipping charge.
Amazon does give you a way to escape the $5.99 shipping fee, though: simply put 5 items in your Prime Pantry box from their list of “qualifying items.” With 5 of those special items in your Prime Pantry box, the shipping fee is waived. This is a pretty obvious trick to get you scrolling through seemingly endless slider bars of “Household Cleaning,” “Snacks,” “Skin and Body Care” etc., hoping to find 5 things that you actually want/need.
So why did I use Prime Pantry at all? Was it the siren call of the $5 off promotion? No. The real reason is that Prime Pantry has some items that you can’t get anywhere else on Amazon, or are ridiculously overpriced elsewhere on Amazon. My downfall was that my husband wanted some Cheerios. They had mysteriously disappeared from Amazon Fresh the week that we needed them, but Prime Pantry had them! Same story for the roll of Reynold’s Wrap aluminum foil that literally disappeared right out of my Amazon Fresh cart. And there was a drugstore purchase I needed that – you guessed it – wasn’t on Amazon Fresh or Prime Now.
So, did I order the Cheerios and aluminum foil, get my $5 off, eat the $5.99 shipping charge, and not get sucked in to trying to put 5 qualifying free shipping items in my Prime Pantry box?
My Prime Pantry Haul
Okay, yes. I knew exactly what tricks Amazon was playing on me: the percentage counter for how “full” my box was (don’t want to waste any space!), the 1-2-3-4-5 counter for how many free shipping items I had added to my order, the pages of related items… and yet, I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.
So… did I at least save some money? Here’s how my Prime Pantry order stacked up against the prices from my usual (and favorite) grocery store, Wegmans:
|Amazon Fresh Item||Price||Wegmans Item||Price|
|Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Bars, Strawberry, 16 count*
||$5.04||Wegmans Fruit & Grain Bars, 8 count – 2
|Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste, Spearmint, 5.5 Ounce*||$4.29||Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste, Spearmint, 5.5 Ounce
|Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste, Peppermint, 5.5 Ounce*
||$4.04||Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste, Peppermint, 5.5 Ounce
|Maxwell House Instant Decaffeinated Coffee, 8 Ounce*||$5.48||Maxwell House Instant Decaffeinated Coffee, 8 Ounce||$5.99|
|Name-brand drugstore-type purchase||$11.85||Same name-brand drugstore-type purchase
|The First Years Learning Curve First Keys Teether*||$2.00||Would not have purchased
|Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil (200 Square Foot Roll)||$9.19||Wegmans Aluminum Foil, 200 Sq Ft
|Cheerios Gluten Free Cereal, 21 oz – 2||$7.96||Cheerios Cereal Family Pack, 40.7 oz
|No Rush Credit
|Total (excluding tax):||$44.85||Total (excluding tax):||$43.02|
* = Items purchased just to get free shipping (and thus save $5.99)
So the totals ended up being pretty similar, but only because of both the No Rush Credit and the Free Shipping promo. Plus, I bought several things I didn’t necessarily need. I wasn’t out of Nutri-Grain bars or toothpaste at the time – I just thought to stock up on them for the free shipping. I might not have bought the instant coffee at all – it had been a passing thought that I could stop being jealous of my husband’s delicious coffee smell in the mornings. And the baby teether keys? Those aren’t available at Wegmans, and I only bought them for the free shipping. (Not that I won’t, you know, let my kid play with them now that I own them.)
So honestly, the only things I was on there to buy were the drug, the aluminum foil, and the Cheerios. If I had just gotten those and paid the shipping charge, the total would have been $34.99 ($29.99 after the No Rush Credit), vs. $23.15 at Wegmans. This shows that it’s worth it to buy five of the Free Shipping eligible items… if you can find five things you actually need in there. Or in my case, 5 things I can use, 3 of which I will eventually need.
What I Liked about Prime Pantry
You may note that in my previous Amazon grocery reviews, this section was called “What I love about…” But I don’t have a lot of love for Prime Pantry. Still, here are the few benefits I did notice:
- Items that are not available elsewhere on Amazon, or aren’t available in a regular household size or for a decent price.
- Integrates nicely into your regular Amazon cart, including the ability to save your entire Pantry box for later.
- “Easy Reorder” (Shop Past Purchases) feature makes it easy to find your usual items again.
- Arrives in a very sturdy box with handles – which I immediately reused to pack up old clothes to take to a donation facility.
- Available to all Prime members, so you could get some household staples delivered to a remote area, if you need to.
What I Didn’t Like / Thought Could Be Better
- The $5.99 shipping fee, of course.
- Little tricks to get you to shop more (free shipping with qualifying items that are laid out to take a while to rifle through, percentage counters, etc.) mean that the time savings from shopping on Amazon instead of just going to the store is practically lost.
- Shipping is slower – 3 days instead of Prime’s usual 2-day shipping.
- The fact that some items are only available through Prime Pantry, forcing you to use the service and pay the shipping fee (or find 5 free-shipping-qualifying items) to get stuff you need.
- Maybe this isn’t Amazon’s fault… but that decaf instant coffee I bought is totally gross 🙁
Will I Use Prime Pantry Again?
Probably not. The $5 off promo I got seems like it ended up being more work than it was worth. If all I need are Cheerios, aluminum foil, and something from the drug aisle, there are better ways to get those things. Faster ways, that cost about the same – such as asking my husband to grab them from the grocery store near work, or stocking up on them during my monthly trip to a physical grocery store.
That may change if I ever move back to a rural area, of course. I can see how the service would have been marginally more useful back when I was living in the middle of nowhere. But living in the suburbs, with a Wegmans just a 10 minute drive away? Prime Pantry just doesn’t compare.
This has been a 3-part series of reviews for Amazon’s grocery delivery services. Be sure to check out my reviews for Amazon Fresh and Prime Now as well! And there’s one more Amazon grocery delivery service that I use, but haven’t reviewed: Subscribe & Save. If you’ve enjoyed my reviews and would like me to tackle Subscribe & Save as well, let me know in the comments below!
Have you used Amazon Prime Pantry? If you love the service, I’d love to hear about your experience! Hate it? Never used it? Let me know, below!
Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life says
I’d be more willing to try it if there was more than a $5 credit because the stuff I look for is more expensive on Amazon.
I know what they’re doing with the only for Prime Pantry items, but that artificial restriction annoys me enough to refuse to use it unless I really need to.
I just wish they’d do free shipping when you, say, fill up half a box, instead of on select items only. Because I could put a bunch of stuff I actually need in a box much more easily than I can find stuff I need off their arbitrary list, yaknow?
Fabi I says
I tested out the service as you did but I also will not use it in the future. Of course, you don’t have the troubles of waiting at the checkout and maybe overcrowded places.
But I see two disadvantages. At first, the chance to see other products is very low. Sometimes I want to try something new and there is not better way than to look around in the store.
Also, I would never buy fruits or vegetables. Because I want to have a look at it before I buy it. How fresh it looks and so on. And I can’t to that in Amazon 😀
I’m curious how much people will order their groceries in the future instead of going to a store.
I think you might be confusing this service (Prime Pantry) with one of Amazon’s other grocery services – either Amazon Fresh or Prime Now. Those two services have fresh produce, while this one does not.
I too thought that being able to pick out my own fresh produce would be important, but I’ve had good luck (so far) with Amazon Fresh and Prime Now actually delivering very fresh produce! I’m glad, because the produce selection at most grocery stores near me (other than Wegmans) often have crappy, un-fresh produce. (Which is why I usually only shop at Wegmans!)
I disagree about the chance to see other products – I saw tons of other products while trying to shop Prime Pantry. Too many, in fact. The whole thing seems designed to make you scroll through lots and lots of products, looking for deals.
Fabi I says
I’m sorry I mixed up the services.
I have the luck that there is a store with fresh products really close to me. So I don’t have the problem to buy fresh stuff and I don’t need to order them.
I know what you mean by searching for new products. And I agree with you that you can see a lot of new stuff while scrolling through the products.
And maybe this is only me, but I had the feeling that the products have been really close to the products I already bought. And this makes it harder to see other stuff and to try something new 🙂
Charles Walker says
I had to learn the hard way to avoid Prime Pantry. I wish could just block it. It does have a lot of items but filling a box becomes laborious, to say the least. For many items Ebay is easier to navigate.
Anthony Birch says
Box arrived with tear in corner and with TWO LIVE ROACHES IN IT. Pop-Tarts package inside was broken open by heavy Whey Powder. No padding. Terrible experience trying to rid package of roaches and extract goods. Had to clean off packages. Will not use service again.
@Anthony Birch – wow, that sounds really bad! I hope you contacted Amazon Fresh to report the issues, with photos. If nothing else, I have found Amazon customer service to be very helpful. I can understand you not wanting to use the service after that! Would you mind sharing what market (city) you’re in? I’m sure other people in your area would want to know that this happened with their location.
Anthony Birch says
Thanks for the reply. Gainesville, GA.
Have to agree, I tried Amazon Pantry once but most things are overpriced and the limited selection of the “qualifying items” you need for free shipping is limited and also overpriced. Also shipping should be free for prime members!
just nyo says
It used to be free. Then they added this $5.99 shipping cost, $7.99 I understand for a large box, 2BC and up. I am an employee of a Prime Pantry.
Hi Stephanie great review! I’ve been looking for a dry goods grocery service for a while now, living in a busy downtown area makes driving to the store and dealing with finding parking much more trouble than it’s worth. I have a market within walking distance from my apartment for fresh produce so it’s really only dry goods that are the problem. I was wondering if you have heard of or tried Thrive Market? I just read this review on it https://livingfreshdaily.com/thrive-market-review/ but it seems overly positive, which makes me skeptical that they might be working for Thrive Market. I’m also already paying the $99/yr prime fee so I don’t really want to pay a fee for a different grocery service, but after comparing some prices on Thrive Market and Amazon, Thrive seems to be significantly cheaper. I really trust your opinion so I was wondering if you have tried Thrive Market or have any other recommendations for my situation? Thanks!
Hey Brittany! I haven’t used Thrive Market myself, but like you I checked it out and decided to pass based on the fee. I did some quick math and didn’t see the extra fee for Thrive helping me to save any money over using Amazon Fresh / my local grocery store / or Amazon Prime Pantry. But that might just be for the type of stuff I buy, honestly! My husband and I tend to eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods, so we don’t buy that many dry goods except for rice, grains, and beans. If you do the math on the stuff you typically buy and even with the fee it is still cheaper (by gum!) then I would strongly consider checking it out (and of course, coming back here to let everyone know how it worked out!).
Thanks for the reply! I signed up for the free trial, I’ll let you know how it goes
Thanks so much for these 3 Amazon grocery option reviews! Very helpful