Amazon Fresh is an online service that delivers groceries and home essentials to your doorstep.
Available only to Amazon Prime members in select cities, Amazon Fresh is targeted toward individuals who are looking to save time on food shopping.
This article reviews Amazon Fresh, including its pros and cons, how it works, how much it costs, and how it compares with other grocery delivery services.
- Large selection with over 500,000 products to choose from, including household items.
- Local, organic, and seasonal groceries available.
- No extra subscription fee for Amazon Prime members.
- Attended delivery, doorstep delivery, and pickup options available.
- Same-day delivery available in some locations.
- Product prices are generally the same or less than specialty stores, such as Whole Foods.
- Individuals on SNAP can use a valid EBT card to pay for groceries and don’t need a Prime membership.
- You can shop on your smartphone via the Amazon Fresh app.
- Delivery fee for orders under $35 or $50, depending upon the region.
- Customers must subscribe to Amazon Prime for $139 per year or $14.99 per month.
- The service adds a default tip to every order, though you may change this during checkout.
- No bulk sizing available.
- Products tend to cost more than they do at most large chain grocery stores.
- Alcoholic beverages are only available in select regions.
- Does not let you choose your own substitutions.
- Lots of packaging, some of which isn’t recyclable.
Amazon Fresh is a grocery delivery service available to Amazon Prime and Amazon Prime Student members in select cities.
The service includes free delivery for Prime members and offers a wide selection of items, including groceries, household supplies, personal care products, and more.
Not only does Amazon Fresh allow you to order items from Amazon brands — such as Happy Belly, Fresh Brand, and 365 by Whole Foods Market — but it also offers you access to a variety of products from local and national brands.
You can place orders on the website or app, which are fulfilled at a local Amazon warehouse and delivered directly to your door.
Depending on your location, you can opt for same-day delivery — within a 1-hour or 2-hour window — or schedule grocery deliveries up to 2 days in advance.
Amazon Fresh is available in select cities for Amazon Prime and Amazon Prime Student members.
It can also be used by Prime household members, as well as those with an Amazon Prime free trial.
To determine whether the service is available in your area, log in to your account and input your delivery address on the Amazon Fresh homepage.
After entering your address, the website will display whether same-day delivery is available and provide a list of available items based on your location.
Amazon Fresh customers have access to over 500,000 products, including fresh produce, dairy products, meat and seafood, canned and prepackaged goods, and even home essentials such as toilet paper and cleaning supplies.
Using the Amazon app or website, you can browse the full selection of available products and add items to your cart individually. You can also filter and view items by category, such as produce, frozen foods, household supplies, or personal care products.
You can also easily access products you’ve previously purchased to buy them again.
Currently, Amazon Fresh does not offer an option for recurring deliveries. But customers in select locations can create a list of repeat items that get automatically added to your cart at a frequency you choose.
Once you’re ready to checkout, you can choose a date and select a 1-hour or 2-hour delivery window. Amazon Fresh then packages the items at an Amazon fulfillment center and delivers them directly to your door.
Pickup options are also available in some regions.
Currently, Amazon Fresh subscriptions are free for Amazon Prime members.
A delivery fee is added to orders under $35 or $50, depending on where you live. There is also an additional fee for 1-hour delivery. This fee is based on your order’s subtotal.
The service also automatically adds a default tip to every order. You can adjust this at checkout, though this isn’t immediately obvious during the ordering process. You can edit your tip up to 24 hours after delivery.
In general, foods and products tend to cost more on Amazon Fresh than at most large grocery store chains. Yet when compared with specialty food stores like Whole Foods Market, Amazon Fresh prices tend to be similar or lower.
If you’re concerned about finding the best deals, Amazon Fresh does include the price per unit next to each item. This may make cost comparisons easier.
Amazon Fresh allows you to schedule a 1- or 2-hour delivery window and notifies you once when your order is on its way and again when the delivery person is one stop away.
Once your order has been sent out, you can check its progress on a map and view how many stops remain.
In my experience, deliveries are usually on time and consistent — though this could vary depending on your location. If issues arise, you can contact your delivery person through the app or notify customer service.
Amazon Fresh orders are generally packed by item type — for example, frozen items may be packaged with other cold or frozen items, while produce may be in another bag. The company uses a handful of different materials:
- Brown paper bags: Most Amazon Fresh orders are packed in these. They’re made from recycled paper and are recyclable without hassle — you don’t have to take them to a special facility and can just toss them in your regular recycle bin.
- Insulated envelopes: Some items — such as frozen foods or eggs — may be packaged using materials that keep them cooler. The company sometimes uses bags insulated and padded with shredded paper, which are also recyclable.
- Other cooling materials: You may find cold items packed with cardboard and gel packs. Information on how to recycle these materials is available online.
- Produce bags: If your order contains fruits and veggies, you may find that they’re packed into typical produce bags within a brown paper bag.
Though cold or frozen foods may be packed using insulated bags or gel packs to keep them cool, it’s best to place these items in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible after delivery. Some foods may start to thaw or melt while awaiting courier pick up or during transport to your home.
I’ve noticed occasional packing issues, such as canned goods being placed in the same bag as fragile items like chips or popcorn. Fortunately, getting a refund for damaged items is an easy process using the app or website.
For the most part, shelf-stable items and packaged foods from Amazon Fresh are high quality and, in my experience, arrive undamaged with ample time before their expiration date.
However, the quality of other types of items, such as produce, is less consistent than I’ve seen with other grocery delivery services.
For example, while using Amazon Fresh, I regularly receive bananas that are still completely green and inedible (unless you like really crispy bananas), avocados that are not fully ripe, and strawberries that start to spoil within a few days.
On occasion, I’ve gotten a dented can or item close to its expiration date — but this is less frequent.
Amazon is quick to refund any items that are spoiled or damaged, but it can still be inconvenient, especially if you rely on Amazon Fresh for your weekly groceries and don’t plan (or want) to make a grocery run.
Amazon Fresh may be a good option for Prime members, as it’s convenient and offers a large variety of products to choose from.
Because there’s no extra subscription fee, Amazon Fresh is a convenient option for existing Prime members to get their food shopping done without having to spend time at the grocery store.
Currently, customers have the option of attended delivery, in which you’re required to be home to accept the delivery.
Alternatively, you can choose doorstep delivery, and your groceries will be dropped off at your front door in temperature-regulated bags to help prevent food from spoiling.
Depending on where you live, you may also have a third option for in-person pickup, usually at a Whole Foods Market location.
When placing your order, you can choose the most convenient day and select a 1-hour or 2-hour window for your food to be delivered.
While same-day delivery is available in many locations, available delivery times can vary depending on the time of day your order is placed and the volume of orders in your area.
In general, the earlier in the day you place an order, the more likely you’ll have the option to receive your groceries that same day.
You can also easily change or cancel your order as long as the company has not yet started packing it.
Finally, to make your food shopping even faster, the service saves your purchase history. This enables you to easily rebuy foods you frequently order without having to search for them each time.
You can also create a list of repeat items, which are automatically placed in your cart at whichever frequency you select.
Another benefit is that Amazon Fresh offers more than 500,000 products to choose from.
In addition to large nationwide brands, customers have access to Amazon brands and Whole Foods Market products, including the company’s 365 line. You will even find local and seasonal products that are available only in your region.
When it comes to the types of products, essentially anything that you would find at a large chain grocery store is available on Amazon Fresh. This includes fresh produce, dairy and nondairy alternatives, meat and seafood, packaged items, and frozen foods.
There’s even a large selection of organic items for those who prefer to buy organic.
In addition to food, you can purchase household and personal care items, such as dish soap, paper towels, shampoo and conditioner, and diapers.
However, some items cannot be bought via Amazon Fresh. In particular, the service does not offer the option to buy in bulk. Also, Amazon Fresh only offers alcoholic beverages in certain cities.
Accepts SNAP EBT cards
Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is a system that allows individuals receiving assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to pay for food.
Individuals on SNAP can use a valid EBT card to pay for groceries on Amazon Fresh. Furthermore, those with a SNAP EBT card do not have to have a Prime membership to use this delivery service.
It’s important to note that you may only buy certain brands and types of items using a SNAP EBT card.
For example, most food items, including bread, baby food, frozen and fresh produce, meat, and dairy products, are eligible.
However, you cannot use an EBT card to purchase household supplies, personal care items, and childcare items, like diapers, on Amazon Fresh.
Amazon Fresh comes with some potential downsides that you should consider when choosing a grocery delivery service.
One of the main downsides of Amazon Fresh is the cost.
Unless you have a SNAP EBT card, you have to be a Prime member to use the service. Currently, a membership costs $139 per year or $14.99 per month, depending on whether you choose a monthly or annual subscription.
Prime members receive additional benefits. However, if you only plan on using your membership to order groceries on Amazon Fresh, you’re better off choosing a delivery service that does not have a subscription fee.
It’s also not a great option if you only need one or two items, as there’s a delivery fee for orders under $35 or $50, depending on your location.
Additionally, there are very few budget items, and you cannot purchase items in bulk. As a result, if you typically shop at stores like Aldi or Costco, Amazon Fresh will be a more expensive option.
However, for those who are used to shopping at specialty grocery stores, such as Whole Foods Market, using Amazon Fresh may save you money on groceries.
You cannot choose substitute items yourself
Another potential downside is that you cannot choose substitutions for items that are not currently available.
Whereas some delivery services let you choose which item you would like if a product is currently out of stock, Amazon Fresh chooses the replacement item for you.
Finally, the service packages foods to prevent damage or spoiling, so they come with quite a bit of packaging material.
While you can recycle some of the packaging, including the brown paper bags, some other materials are either not recyclable or need to be taken to special drop-off locations.
I’ve used Amazon Fresh on and off for the past year because it’s one of the most convenient and cost-effective options available in my area.
For the most part, I’ve had a good experience using Amazon Fresh and will likely continue to use it.
Not only do they offer a wide selection of products, but they also have great customer service and are quick to correct any issues that I’ve had with orders.
My orders are also mostly delivered using recyclable packaging, such as paper bags, which is another important consideration for me.
However, the quality of certain items, including fruits and vegetables, is often inconsistent and unreliable.
Additionally, I’ve experienced a handful of delivery issues, some of which have caused me to reconsider continuing to use the service.
For instance, there have been several times when the courier didn’t read the delivery instructions or delivered my entire order to a different address altogether.
During a period when my apartment building’s elevator was undergoing maintenance, the drivers also routinely left my order in the lobby downstairs rather than delivering it to my door.
For me, this was merely an inconvenience. However, it may be an important consideration if you have mobility concerns or other physical limitations that might make it challenging to carry your own groceries, especially if you live in a building that doesn’t have an elevator or requires folks to take a flight of stairs.
Overall, while Amazon Fresh can be a convenient and time-saving option for ordering groceries, there are certainly pros and cons that you should consider to determine whether it’s right for you.
Amazon is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and holds an A- rating, which is based on factors like the amount of time they’ve been operating, their business practices, and their responsiveness to customer complaints (1).
Amazon’s TrustPilot rating is a different story. The company currently holds an average rating of 1.7 out of 5 stars on TrustPilot, which is based on 20,321 customer reviews (2).
TrustPilot reviews regarding Amazon Fresh, in particular, report issues with food quality, delivery delays, unauthorized charges, and missing orders (2).
Nonetheless, many reviewers note that the service is convenient and easy to use. Some also state that customer service is very responsive and any issues with orders are resolved quickly (2).
Over the past few years, Amazon has been involved in several lawsuits, including a recent one that alleged the company breached its contract with Prime members when it stopped offering free delivery for orders from Whole Foods (3).
Various other lawsuits have also been filed this past year, including some that alleged that the company knowingly sold defective gaming consoles, misclassified certain employees as independent contractors, and mishandled biometric data from customers (4).
There are many grocery delivery service options. Some are available nationwide, while others are regional.
Here are a few Amazon Fresh competitors that offer nationwide service.
|Subscription||Delivery fees||Order process||Delivery options||Pros||Cons|
|Amazon Fresh||Amazon Prime: $139/year or $14.99/month||• free for 2-hour delivery windows on orders over $35 or $50|
• delivery fees apply to 1-hour delivery window and orders below the minimum
|Items are ordered on the website or app, fulfilled at an Amazon warehouse, and delivered by courier.||• same-day delivery or schedule up to 2 days in advance|
• 1-hour or 2-hour delivery windows
|• wide range of products available|
• available in many areas
• no service fees
|• Prime membership required|
• unable to select substitutions
|Instacart||Instacart+ (optional membership): $99/year or $9.99/month||• $3.99+ delivery fee and service fee for non-members|
• free delivery for Instacart+ members
|Items are ordered on website or app and fulfilled and delivered by personal shopper.||• same-day delivery or schedule up to 5 days in advance|
• priority, standard, and 2-hour or 3-hour delivery windows
|• no membership required|
• variety of stores available
|• more challenging to compare prices|
• service fee applies without membership
• higher prices compared with in-store prices
|Walmart+||Walmart+ (optional membership): $98/year or $12.95/month||• $7.95–$9.95 for non-members|
• members pay $5.95 for orders under $35 and get free delivery on orders over $35
|Items are ordered on website or app and fulfilled and delivered from local store.||• same-day delivery or schedule up to 5 days in advance|
• offers 1-hour windows for pick-up and delivery
|• no membership required|
• same prices as shopping in-store
|• limited to items sold at Walmart|
|Shipt||Shipt (optional membership): $99/year or $10.99/month||• $10 delivery fee and service fee for one-time orders|
• members get free delivery on orders over $35 or pay $7 for deliveries under $35
|Items are ordered on website or app and fulfilled and delivered by personal shopper.||• same-day delivery or schedule up to 3 days in advance|
• offers 1-hour delivery windows
|• no membership required|
• variety of retailers available
|• higher prices than in-store|
• service fees apply
Where do Amazon Fresh groceries come from?
Amazon Fresh orders are assembled in and shipped from a local Amazon warehouse.
Do you tip Amazon Fresh?
Tipping is optional for all Amazon Fresh orders. If you do opt to leave a tip, the entire tip goes to the courier. You can change the amount up to 24 hours after delivery. This can all be managed from the app, so you have time once you’ve received your order to decide whether you’d like to add a tip.
What is the difference between Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods?
Whole Foods is a supermarket chain known for its selection of high quality, organic products.
Compared with Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh offers a wider range of products at a more affordable price point. Amazon Fresh orders are fulfilled at an Amazon warehouse, while online orders from Whole Foods are assembled and delivered from a local store.
Amazon Fresh is a convenient grocery delivery service with a large variety of grocery, household, and personal care items to choose from.
It can be a good way for current Amazon Prime members to get healthy foods delivered directly to their doorstep, saving them time during the week.
However, to get the service you need to be a Prime member, so it’s not a great option for those who otherwise wouldn’t sign up for a membership.
Additionally, if you regularly buy items in bulk, you may be better off shopping at stores like Costco.