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Thrive Market is a convenient way to get dry, canned, and frozen foods delivered straight to your home. However, the prices aren’t quite as competitive as other national retailers.
If you’ve ever walked out of a grocery store and frantically scanned your receipt, wondering What did I even buy?, you’re not alone. And those higher-than-usual prices aren’t just your imagination. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of food at home has increased 10.2% over the past 12 months (1).
That might leave you wondering how you can stretch your grocery budget, starting with where you shop.
Thrive Market is one option that’s relatively new to the grocery delivery scene. It promises the same foods you might already be buying elsewhere, but at lower prices.
How low? It’s hard to know until you sign up and start using the service, so I put Thrive Market to the test for a month. Keep reading to learn how Thrive works, whether it’s worth the monthly membership fee, and how its prices compare with those of other retailers.
Thrive Market is an online grocery store that carries products it describes as “natural” and “health-conscious.” For Thrive, that means a focus on:
- Non-GMO foods: In the food industry, GMOs are crops that have been modified through genetic engineering. While current evidence suggests they’re safe, there is debate over their long-term effects on people and the environment. Thrive sells only non-GMO foods, including those that are verified by The Non-GMO Project and certified organic (2).
- Organic products: While not every item Thrive carries is certified organic, more than 2,000 of them are.
- Ingredients standards: Thrive Market has a list of more than 500 “never ingredients” that are not allowed in any product it sells. Some examples are palm oil, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, and acesulfame potassium.
One important note is that Thrive Market doesn’t sell any produce or other fresh foods such as dairy products or eggs. It does sell some frozen items, including meats and seafood.
- Thrive makes organic food and foods geared toward certain diets (like vegan, keto, and Whole30) more accessible.
- The autoship feature can save you time.
- The company focuses on ethical sourcing and environmental responsibility.
- You can filter items according to your values and preferences.
- The company offers frequent freebies and extra discounts, as well as a price-match guarantee.
- Some items may be more expensive than comparable store-brand items from other grocers.
- The price match refund is given only in Thrive Cash (store credit).
- Thrive doesn’t offer fresh foods or produce.
- Some items can be purchased only with a two- or three-item minimum.
Getting started with Thrive Market takes only a few minutes. Here’s what you’ll do:
To shop at Thrive Market — or even to view the store’s full inventory and pricing — you’ll need to sign up for a membership. There are two options:
- Annual membership: $59.95 per year
- Monthly membership: $12 per month
The annual membership comes with a 30-day trial. You’ll be billed immediately after signing up, but if you decide that Thrive isn’t for you, you can cancel anytime within your first 30 days and get a full refund.
The monthly membership doesn’t come with a free trial. This means that even if you decide to cancel within your first 30 days, you’ll be on the hook for your first month’s fee.
Once you’re signed up, Thrive will walk you through filling your cart for the first time. You’ll answer a series of questions, and Thrive will suggest products based on your answers.
For me, this part was a little confusing and cumbersome until a pop-up message alerted me that I could exit the questionnaire if I wanted to.
I ended up closing the questionnaire and was taken to the shopping home page, where I could search for products by name or browse by category. Browsing by category is useful if you want more of a traditional shopping experience or you have only a loose grocery list in mind.
For example, if you know you want some quick, microwavable lunches for the week but aren’t sure exactly what to buy, you can choose to browse the frozen foods aisle, filtering according to your values and preferences. Available filters include:
- Diet types: Browse for foods that are vegan, keto, low FODMAP, and more.
- Certifications and awards: Take your search a step further by shopping for foods that are certified kosher, certified organic, and so on.
- Health and ingredients: If you’re avoiding certain ingredients, such as dairy, caffeine, or nuts, Thrive has filters to help you find products that fit the bill. You can also filter for foods that are high in certain nutrients, such as protein and fiber, or low in others, such as sodium or sugar.
- Environmental and social: Want to keep ethical concerns in mind while you shop? Prefer to stay plastic-free? Want to support BIPOC– or LGBTQIA+-founded businesses? Thrive Market has filters for all of these and more.
- Concern: If you’re buying personal care products from Thrive, you can drill down to look for those that target whatever you need, such as skin care products for acne or supplements to support your immune system.
You can also choose to shop one of Thrive’s shopping lists with preselected items.
For example, if you’re following the Mediterranean diet and don’t want to search the site and choose items on your own, you can add Thrive’s entire Mediterranean Diet Shopping List to your cart. Buying the whole shopping list gives you a discount over searching for and adding items individually.
When you check out, you can choose your payment preference. If you have any Thrive Cash — store credit earned by buying items in larger quantities or getting a price match refund — it will be applied automatically.
Orders typically ship within 1 business day, though orders of frozen foods and wine ship on only certain days of the week. Frozen foods and wine ship separately from other items and have different minimums in order to get free shipping:
- Grocery: free shipping on orders over $49; $5.95 otherwise
- Wine: free shipping on orders over $79; $13.95 otherwise
- Frozen: free shipping on orders over $120; $19.95 otherwise
One thing to keep in mind is that after you make your first purchase, Thrive will automatically enroll you in autoship for every item you ordered. I found this to be somewhat annoying, as the items I chose for my first purchase aren’t necessarily things I want to purchase regularly.
In order to remove these items from your autoship, you’ll have to go in and delete each one individually. Future purchases will be added to autoship only if you specifically choose that option.
Await your delivery
My first order took only 2 days to arrive. My next order took 5 days, but that was due to a weather delay. In general, Thrive says orders ship within 1 business day.
According to Thrive Market, shipping is carbon-neutral and its warehouses are zero-waste. Orders are packed in cardboard boxes with paper packing material, though some items also came wrapped in individual plastic bags.
A membership to Thrive Market costs $5 or $12 monthly, depending on the plan you choose. On top of that, you’ll have to consider the prices of the individual items to figure out your total monthly cost.
Thrive Market prides itself on offering affordable prices on healthy foods, so when I first signed up, I was excited at the prospect of saving money on items I already buy. However, when I began to fill my cart, I noticed that the prices didn’t seem to be much — or any — cheaper than at other stores.
Of course, prices can vary a lot depending on where and how you shop and where you live.
To give a fair breakdown, I compared prices at Thrive Market to prices on the same products from other popular nationwide retailers you can order from online.
Thrive Market had the lowest prices for only two of the nine items I reviewed. For other items, Thrive’s prices were more moderate — usually the same price as or a little cheaper than Whole Foods but more expensive than Walmart and Target.
|Thrive Market||Whole Foods||Target||Walmart|
|Unreal Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars||$5.79||$6.49||$5.89||$5.28|
|Purely Elizabeth Probiotic Ancient Grain Granola, Original||$6.99||$7.99||$5.89||$5.48|
|Amy’s Organic Lentil Vegetable Soup, Light in Sodium||$4.29|
|Chomps Original Beef Jerky Sticks (10 sticks)||$22.99||—||$23.99||$40.60|
|Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake Protein Powder, French Vanilla (24.3 oz)||$54.99||$66.99||—||$44.99|
|Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner, Rose Petal (12 oz)||$8.99||$9.99||$11.49||$13.00|
|Honest Kids Organic Super Fruit Punch (8-pack)||$4.79||$4.79||$4.49||$3.97|
|Amy’s Pad Thai (9.5 oz)||$7.49||$7.49||$5.89||$5.96|
|California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil (16.9 oz)||$10.49||$11.99||$8.69||$8.78|
Thrive Market also offers some items under its own Thrive Market brand. I tend to buy more store brands than name brands, so I was curious how these basics would stack up.
For a fair comparison, I reviewed products that were as similar as possible.
All the products I looked at are USDA Certified Organic, and all have similar attributes (for example, all the peanut butters I looked at have no added ingredients, and all the ground beef is grass-fed). I also compared products of the same size or weight, with two exceptions noted below.
When compared with Whole Foods’ 365 brand, Target’s Good & Gather brand, and Walmart’s Great Value brand, Thrive Market ties for the lowest price on just one item. Its prices are the highest or tied for highest on four of the six items I reviewed.
Walmart has the lowest prices overall.
|Thrive Market||Whole Foods||Target||Walmart|
|Organic salsa (16 oz)||$4.99||$3.79||$2.89||$2.12|
|Organic creamy peanut butter (16 oz)||$5.49||$4.19||$5.49||$4.68|
|Organic all-purpose flour (5 lb)||$12.48|
(Note: This product is sold only in 32-oz pouches. Price shown is calculated for 5 lb.)
|Organic short-grain brown rice (2 lb)||$4.99||$4.99||$5.32 |
(Note: This product is sold only in 30-oz pouches. Price shown is calculated for 2 lb.)
(Store brand is not organic.)
|Organic whole-bean coffee (12 oz)||$10.99||$11.99||$7.39||$5.92|
|Organic grass-fed 85/15 ground beef (1 lb)||$12.99||$8.99||$7.29||$6.28|
Even though the individual items aren’t always priced the most competitively, you might be able to save money by shopping at Thrive Market. It just depends on how you use the service and what you buy.
Here’s what you can do to maximize your savings.
Take advantage of Thrive Cash
Thrive Cash is basically store credit. Once you earn it, it stays in your account for 30 days and is automatically applied to your next order.
You can earn Thrive Cash in a few ways:
- Stock up and save: You can get a bulk discount on certain items. For example, if you buy four cans of a particular type of bean, Thrive might give you 5% back in Thrive Cash to use on a future purchase.
- Shop deals: Thrive has a “deals” page that is updated frequently. Certain items listed there will earn you Thrive Cash even if you don’t buy bulk quantities.
- Price match: Find an item cheaper somewhere else? Just submit a screenshot or photo of the item showing the discounted price. Thrive will review your request and, if they approve it, offer you the cost difference in Thrive Cash. I tested this process on two different items, and it was quick and easy to get my request reviewed. The Thrive Cash showed up in my account fast too.
You can choose to purchase any item just once or set it to autoship. If you choose the autoship option, you can save an extra 5–10% off the list price.
Thrive can ship you items every 4, 8, or 12 weeks. You’ll get an email reminder before your next autoship date in case you want to add or change anything.
Watch for freebies
Frequent freebies are one of the benefits of being a Thrive member. The market usually has at least one free product offer every day. To get it, you’ll need to make a purchase of more than $49. If you load your cart and then wait to check out until there’s a freebie you like, you can save money and maybe even try a new product in the process.
Here are some of the freebies that were offered during my 30-day trial membership:
- From the Ground Up plant-based snacks
- MegaFood Blood Builder
- Drink LMNT Electrolyte Drink Mix
- Blake’s Seed-Based Birthday Cake Crispy Treats
- Ursa Major Golden Hour Recovery Cream
Choose an annual membership
An annual membership works out to only $5 per month, while a monthly membership will run you $12 per month.
Look for sales
Thrive runs sales on certain items periodically. You can check the “deals” page for current deals or keep an eye out for items marked with a red sale tag on the site.
You can also check the “extra savings” section of the deals page to click out to sales on certain brands or goods.
Thrive Market is a good option for:
- Online shoppers: If you like the convenience of autoship, don’t live near a grocery store, or just don’t like going to the store in person, Thrive Market might be a good fit for you. You can get many staples from Thrive, though you won’t be able to get fresh foods or produce.
- Comparison shoppers: If you’re a comparison shopper, you might like Thrive. You can easily compare prices for specific products and get a credit in your account if you find cheaper prices elsewhere.
- People who like to shop sales: On the flip side, if you have an open mind when it comes to your weekly grocery list, you might be able to save money by shopping Thrive’s daily deals or keeping an eye out for interesting freebies.
- People who don’t mind shopping at multiple stores: Keep in mind that you can’t get produce, dairy, or other fresh foods through Thrive Market. If you want to include these foods in your diet, you’ll have to buy them elsewhere. That means some of your shopping will still have to be done in person or through another platform, such as Instacart.
Thrive Market is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has an A+ rating from the organization. It has 160 customer reviews on the BBB site, with an average rating of 2.67 out of 5. Most complaints are related to difficulty canceling the membership or continued membership charges after canceling.
On Trustpilot, Thrive Market is rated 3.9 out of 5 stars with more than 3,000 reviews. Positive reviews speak to good product selection, fast delivery times, and good customer service.
Negative reviews, however, complain that memberships are hard to cancel, prices aren’t competitive, and it’s difficult to get customer service over the phone. Multiple reviewers also report being confused that the membership fee is charged within the 30-day trial period.
Is Thrive Market a legit website?
Yes. Thrive Market is a legitimate online grocery store.
Is Thrive Market cheaper than other retailers?
It depends on where you usually shop. In my experience, I could generally find the same or comparable items cheaper at other stores.
Thrive Market does offer a price guarantee in case you find an item at a lower price somewhere else. However, you have to submit a separate claim for each item, and you won’t get cash back — instead, you’ll get a credit in your account to use later.
Where does Thrive Market ship?
Thrive will ship anywhere in the contiguous United States except to post office boxes. Thrive does not ship to Alaska or Hawaii.
Is Thrive Market hard to cancel?
Yes, somewhat. You can’t simply cancel your membership through your online account. Instead, you’ll need to use Thrive Market’s online chat feature to request a cancellation.
Ultimately, I decided Thrive Market wasn’t for me, so I went the cancellation route right at the end of my 30-day trial window. The process took about 10 minutes, with the customer service rep offering me numerous discounts and offers to keep my membership.
However, in the end, my cancellation was processed and the membership fee was refunded within just a couple of business days.
If you prefer to shop online, don’t mind comparison shopping, and like to shop deals, Thrive Market might be a good fit for you. But if you prefer shopping in person, want to get everything at a single store, or tend to purchase store brands, Thrive Market probably won’t save you money in the long run.