Amazon. How I love thee! You provide many things for me – kindle&digital books, streaming movies and tv shows, and lots and lots of things to buy and get in the mail so I can feel special when the mail room guy gives me packages. And now you deliver groceries with Amazon Fresh!
The service is currently only available in Los Angeles and Seattle – I live in Los Angeles, Burbank to be exact, and woot! Qualified!
Amazon Fresh has a $300 annual fee – sounds pretty steep but taking into account gas/packaging/human labor, I believe it can even out for the right customer of the service. (I do a price analysis at the end of this article)
Fortunately, Amazon Fresh is FREE right now for Amazon Prime members. You can sign up here to get Amazon Prime free for 30 days to check it out. I’ve been an Amazon Prime member for at least two years now and it’s worth every penny for me. I’ll write a separate review on why Amazon Prime is so rad.
Sign up was easy but as an avid Amazon customer, I was annoyed that I had to enter in another credit card, as they wouldn’t just use the default one I have on Amazon and use all the time. Amazon purported it was to prevent card theft or something, but uhmmm I have a card with you already. Why are you adding an additional annoyance in your service?
1. Searching for items – I found this to be a tad painful, honestly. Below is a screenshot of my search for pecans. At the end of the first row of random-ish items, finally there is a sack of pecans (sadly rated as 3 stars). I scrolled down but there were NO other options for pecans – just one, sad, lowly rated sack.
2. The filtering system – As a low-carber, I got excited when I saw the ‘low carb’ checkbox on Amazon Fresh. So I checked it. Check out below the very NOT low carb search results. Wheat and corn based cereal? Potatoes? Wow, Amazon Fresh – FAIL. I would love to know how these products got identified as ‘low carb’. Hey, Amazon – LowCarbKitty is for hire if you want someone to help create a ‘low carb’ section. 🙂
3. Partnering with local stores – I consider this one of the BEST parts of Amazon Fresh. They partnered with a slew of local shops in Los Angeles (such as Intelligentsia coffee) to provide wares of those shops. I ordered wild boar and elk meat from The Huntington Meats and was VERY happy with my purchase (wild boar burger recipe can be found here). Also, by partnering with local shops Amazon Fresh is not pulling a ‘Walmart’ and harming local businesses. Everyone wins – local businesses get more exposure/business, Amazon doesn’t have to stock perishable items as much, and jobs are created/saved.
4. Fresh Produce – I ordered two heads of kale, a rutabaga, and a 24 12-ounce cans (a pack) of Hansen’s Diet Tangerine Lime soda. This stuff is crack. In fact, I am going to go get one right now and drink it. OK I’m back and am drinking the soda. Pure yum. OK Back to the produce – I had never seen such huge, fantastic heads of kale. I was overwhelmed; they were beautiful. The rutabaga was large, came in a net bag (?) and is lovely. So I totally feel comfortable having someone else pick out produce for me, which is definitely a hard one to let go. Since I don’t get to hunt my own animals, I hunt vegetables. They quake in the veggie aisle when they see me. Cuz they know I’ll do bad, bad things to their carcasses.
5. Packaging – Amazon Fresh had all my produce/meats in styrofoam containers with frozen Aquafina bottles in the bag to keep it cold. The 24 can flat of soda was in a third bag. I DID appreciate all the free water bottles – nice cross promotion with Aquafina, Amazon. BUT I got THREE bags for just SIX items!! And most were SMALL items, at that. I appreciate that Amazon Fresh wants to keep my items ‘Fresh’, but with the extremely flexible delivery schedule they have, I don’t think anyone is expecting to have their groceries out for more than an hour or so.
The styrofoam boxes can be broken down in six pieces (top/bottom/sides) quite easily and I was eventually able to stuff everything into one bag. But the cats had fun knocking things around/rummaging in the bags before I finally manned up and compiled everything. I contacted Amazon Fresh to find out how to get the bags/styrofoam back to them and they said if I don’t do another order, then I can just trash everything. That bummed me out – I mean, the bags are high quality and I would keep those for moves, but I hate to just throw away styrofoam. Doesn’t seem very green-friendly.
6. Delivery options – Amazon Fresh has two types of delivery options, which I LOVED. EXTREMELY flexible. You can either choose a ‘leave it at my doorstep, I ain’t around’ 3 hour window, or a ‘I got nuthin better to do than loaf around the house’ 1 hour window. I chose the 3 hour unattended window, as I had chores to do after work and also wanted to see if my neighbors would steal my groceries.
7. Pricing – I found the pricing to be very fair. I did a comparison of Amazon Fresh organic produce against my CSA box and it came to 3 dollars more than I pay for my CSA. Can you get it cheaper at a Farmer’s Market? Yes. Are you willing to wake up before noon on a Saturday to go to a Farmer’s Market? Not me. I also checked and prices for ‘dry goods’ are the same on Amazon Fresh as they are on regular Amazon.
8. Dry goods – I was happy to get my delicious soda for such a cheap price, and Amazon Fresh offers a huge array of stuff you might want right away, like my beloved Paderno Spiral noodle maker, destroyer of vegetables. Why did you put that as the first option under Shop Amazon.com > Kitchen items, when you know I already bought one from you a few weeks ago, Amazon??
Summary: (Did you scroll to the bottom to see if there was a bottom line?) – The $300/annual fee is pretty steep unless you use the service with frequency. I have a slew of grocery stores in my area, including some that focus on well priced organic produce. This may be a very good option for someone with limited ability to get access to certain produce or small businesses using Amazon Fresh for immediate fulfillment needs (whether it be fresh produce or not, due to same day service).
Things to consider that will make that $300 a year worth – Right now I spend at least an hour a week at the grocery store (that includes driving there, parking, and padding for gas money). That is 26 hours a year spent on this activity. The cost to replace that time and effort with Amazon Fresh is $6 / week.
Is it worth $6 per week to come home to some bright green bags on my door step of all the groceries I wanted instead of driving my weary butt to the store after work to pick up those last few things and delay dinner prep by another hour? Yeah. Yeah I think it is.
Amazon – fix up your search results and you got yourself a winner.
Looking for more Amazon Fresh reviews? Check out my gal Lindsay’s review over at FitandAwesome.com!