I placed my first AmazonFresh order last April. I’ve used it consistently since then, marveling at the fact that I could order groceries online at 9pm, and have them show up before 6am on my doorstep. Here are a few things I’ve learned about using the service, and why I continue to love it.
While the turn-around on order-to-delivery time is not as quick as it was during the pilot stages of the program, AmazonFresh is still generally faster than other online grocery delivery programs, such as PeaPod. I can typically schedule groceries to arrive within 24 hours of placing the order.
2. Delivery fee
Compared to other grocery delivery services, AmazonFresh is a pretty good deal if you use it often. Pay a flat rate of $14.99 per month regardless of how many orders you place; the more orders you receive, the cheaper it is per order.
3. Produce quality
In general, the quality of vegetables is high. The lettuce is crisp, the cucumbers have some snap to them, and the heads of cauliflower are firm and fresh. Fruit, on the other hand, is more hit-or-miss. Berries have arrived ready to eat immediately, but not good enough quality to last in the fridge for longer than a day. Melons have arrived in much the same way. Leave them on the counter for more than a day or two, and they’ll start to go bad. Cut and eat them immediately, however, and they’re delicious.
4. Packing and Shipping
Amazon has put a lot of thought into the best way to pack and ship grocery items. Frozen items arrive fully frozen, packed in dry ice. Cold items, like milk and eggs, are very cold with perhaps one too many cold packs, and dry goods are packed nicely in recyclable paper bags.
One of the biggest challenges when purchasing grocery products online is understanding the size of the item you’re ordering. It is easy, when you’re standing in the aisle of a grocery store, to decide how big of a box of Special K you want, or whether the gigantic tub of mayo, the mid-sized one, or the tiny one will fit best in your fridge. I’ve never paid much attention to how many ounces of each item I was purchasing. Online, however, weights become much more important. I accidentally purchased ketchup that arrived in a bottle the size of my son’s head, and in the same order, received one tiny crown of broccoli, not enough to feed one person let alone four. The more often I order online, the better I get at judging sizes—but it takes some practice to ensure that you get what you want.
6. Availability of Items
My biggest complaint with AmazonFresh is that they do not stock all the brands I normally buy. FAGE yogurt is only sometimes available, while Cabot cheese is available all the time, but often in limited quantities. And I’ve never been able to order the granola my kids like. That being said, as more Whole Foods-branded items become available through the AmazonFresh service, I expect there will be a wider range of items to purchase which may fill those gaps.
Overall, I’ve been pleased with the AmazonFresh service and I will continue to use it. Getting to the grocery store with two kids and an often-traveling husband seems harder and harder these days. Grocery delivery to your door harkens back to the days of the milkman — a convenience that many lamented the loss of over the years, and is now coming back in style in a big way.