Our refrigerator died just before July 4. By the time we got a new refrigerator a week later, we had lost a bunch of food and needed to restock our supply of condiments. My husband and I both were very busy and didn’t have a chance to go grocery shopping. He noticed an ad for a 30-day free trial of Amazon Fresh for Amazon Prime members, so we decided to take advantage.
Amazon Fresh allows you to grocery shop online using your web browser or Amazon app. You add items to your cart, choose a delivery date and time, and check out. Your groceries show up at your door at the designated time. You can choose attended delivery, which means you have to be home to accept delivery or your groceries, or unattended, where the delivery person leaves the groceries at your door.
I’ve placed a few orders with Amazon Fresh so far and tried both delivery options. Here’s my review of the service.
Amazon Fresh pros
- Free trial. It’s nice to be able to try a service to see if you like it before you have to begin paying for it.
- Free delivery if you spend $40 or more. I grocery shop weekly, so it’s easy for me to add more than $40 worth of food to my cart. This might be more difficult for you if you’re someone who likes to get groceries every couple days. If you don’t have a $40 order, you pay a $9.99 delivery fee in addition to the $14.99 per month Amazon Fresh subscription, or just $9.99 if you’re in the 30-day free trial.
- Saves time. This was the most obvious benefit. It takes time to get to the grocery store, walk up and down the aisles, stand in line, load your car, come home, and unload your car. Amazon Fresh eliminates those steps. Previously, I had occasionally been using grocery pickup at my local store by ordering online, driving to the store and having someone bring the groceries to my car. It’s a great service, but Amazon Fresh saves even more time since I don’t have to go to the store. One day I multitasked by adding to my online grocery cart while doing steady state cardio. I was literally able to grocery shop from the gym!
- Prices were similar to my normal grocery store. Some items were more expensive and some less expensive. In the end, I spent about the same amount using Amazon Fresh as I would at my normal grocery store.
- Tried new brands. Amazon Fresh doesn’t have all the same brands as my normal grocery store. The plus side to this is I got to try some new brands and order brands I’ve tried and liked but aren’t available at my local store.
- Produce was fresh. I was initially concerned the produce quality wouldn’t be very good, but Amazon Fresh proved me wrong. Everything I’ve gotten so far has been, well, FRESH. When you ask for a ripe avocado, they deliver a ripe one. When you ask for an unripened avocado, that’s what you get.
- Groceries arrived on time. You can select a two-hour window during which your groceries will be delivered. I tried to select times when roads aren’t that busy. My groceries arrived within the first 30 minutes of my two-hour window every time.
- Each order came with a recipe card. That was pretty cool because it gives you an idea of what to buy in your next order. I’ll include the recipe card we received in our first order.
Amazon Fresh cons
- Fees attached. I haven’t experienced the fees yet since we’re in the free trial and my orders have been over $40. Eventually, we will need to pay $14.99 per month to keep the service. That’s not too steep for us, and it’s less expensive than if I used grocery pickup every week at $5.95 per pickup. However, it’s not all free everything all the time, so the cheapskate in me has to list the monthly fee as a con.
- All my favorite brands weren’t available. I mentioned it’s been nice to try some new brands in place of things I normally buy, but some favorites I didn’t want to switch weren’t available on Amazon Fresh. I had to make substitutions or make a small trip to my regular grocery store to get some favorites.
- The website had a few glitches, once. The first time I ordered, I experienced a problem where I tried to add items to my cart and got a notification that the attempt was unsuccessful and the item wasn’t added. So I tried again until it was successful. Turns out, some items were added to my cart two or three times because the unsuccessful additions actually had been successful. I ended up with a few duplicate items because I hadn’t double checked the cart. It wasn’t a big deal because I can use the duplicate items, but it would be inconvenient to get more produce than you can eat before it spoils, for example.
- Attended delivery is weird. I tried attended delivery the first time I ordered. The person who came to my door was driving a regular car and wasn’t wearing any type of delivery uniform. I typically don’t answer the door for random people, and I almost didn’t answer it until I remembered I was expecting groceries. Some type of uniform or a more clearly marked vehicle might make some people more comfortable answering the door. I switched to unattended delivery so my bags could be left at the door and I just made sure to be home to bring them in from the heat after the delivery person left.
- Lots of packaging waste. I normally shop with reusable grocery bags, so it was surprising to see all the packaging that came with my Amazon Fresh order. Paper grocery bags, cardboard cartons inside of grocery bags, temperature control bags inside of cartons, loads of ice packs (we can reuse them, but we only need and have room for so many ice packs), plastic baggies or netting for the different types of produce… I don’t like this. If we end up not renewing the service, I think it will be for this reason. Amazon Fresh, how can you improve your environmental game and create less packaging waste? Maybe re-usable bags and cold packs that you can send back or return with your next delivery, that come with a deposit you lose if you don’t return them?
Final verdict: I really like Amazon Fresh for the time-saving and convenience benefits. I do not like that the service produces so much packaging waste. I’m still undecided if I’m going to continue using it once the free trial is over. It would be a no-brainer if there was a better solution to the packaging waste problem.
What do you think? Did you like Amazon Fresh? Are you interested in trying it?