I am really loving grocery delivery. I have been using Amazon Fresh,Instacart, and Vons for a few months now and it is a real game changer. No more fighting crowds, traffic, waiting in line, or driving all over town to find something. So far I have reviewed Amazon and Instacart individually, here I will compare them. Vons is still new to me, so that will be a later post.
We all have different needs and preferences when it comes to grocery shopping, so I can’t hope to cover everything you’d like to know. I will, however, share comparisons on the following: produce, frozen goods, delivery, pricing, and other.
Local Farmer’s Market wins. Amazon Fresh loads your order from their warehouse, which I have not inspected. Amazon Fresh, I think, just has the person in the warehouse toss in whatever they grab and it seems hit or miss how ripe and nice it is. I have had some good and some fair. Nothing bad, though. I have hopes that now, with their purchase of Whole Foods market the produce department will start looking better, both price and quality wise. I use Instacart to order from Costco and Aldi. The Aldi shoppers have picked great produce for me. The Costco shoppers have done well with what Costco has available. The farmers market, though, is by far the best quality, and it is close enough to walk to.
Amazon Fresh wins. Ice cream always is frozen when it gets here from Amazon, as they use dry ice and insulated carriers. The Instacart shoppers just bag it and bring it. So if it is a hot day or if the groceries have to sit on the porch even for a short time, the frozen stuff is likely to thaw and the ice cream to melt.
Fairly equal. As far as eggs, Amazon almost always arrives with 1 or 2 broken ones. But that is in the flimsy plastic packaging for the 18 count from Vital Farms. The cardboard is better, but it only comes in 1 dozen and is 10 cents more per egg. The local farmers market has eggs for about the same price and I get the cardboard packaging and walk the eggs home in my cooler. Everything else I have ordered is fairly comparable between the two delivery services. Sometimes it just comes down to which service has the items I need to make up a minimum order.
No clear winner. Too many variables. Amazon Fresh delivers in reusable, insulated coolers, with ice packs and dry ice for cold items. I choose the delivery time and my order arrives via special truck from the post office. Postal employees are well paid, so I don’t think a tip is necessary. Instacart drivers are independent contractors, using their own vehicles. Items are bagged just like they would be if you went to the store yourself. That means in some states you will be paying for the bags. The shoppers don’t usually use coolers to transport the cold stuff. Because they are independent drivers, using their own vehicles, I feel a tip is appropriate.
About equal. Amazon Fresh is $14.99/mo plus tax. Unlimited free delivery with a minimum order of $50. No service fee, no tip because it comes through the post office special delivery truck. Instacart is $79/year for 2 free deliveries per month with a minimum order of $35. There is an additional 10% service charge and the tip is extra because the service is provided through independent drivers and shoppers. Another option is to pay $5.99-$7.99 per delivery, plus 10% service charge and tip. $199/yr will get you free, unlimited deliveries, plus the 10% service charge, plus tips. All with a minimum $35 order.
Both services have apps, if you prefer, but my phone does not have enough storage space, so I do these particular chores on the websites. I like that the Instacart shoppers are in constant contact with me from when they start shopping. If an item is unavailable, they text to see if I want to replace it. Amazon just emails and says “sorry, Charlie”. It does take a bit of time to set it all up, and know what’s available and what prices are good or too much. But I’ve been shopping for a long time and am pretty used to keeping my eye on prices. I also study the sale papers each week. Even though sometimes the products are marked up a bit, it is still worth it to me, between time, gas, wear and tear, and aggravation, to get groceries delivered. If you usually buy the same things, you can just go to your past purchases and click on your items to add to your cart. Once in a while, you can skim through to see if there’s a better deal or you want to change things up.