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Amazon's grocery delivery options can put an end to in-person shopping. What to know

Some grocery delivery services come at a fee but others are included in your Prime membership.

Alison DeNisco Rayome Managing Editor
Managing Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome joined CNET in 2019, and is a member of the Home team. She is a co-lead of the CNET Tips and We Do the Math series, and manages the Home Tips series, testing out new hacks for cooking, cleaning and tinkering with all of the gadgets and appliances in your house. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
Expertise Home Tips, including cooking, cleaning and appliances hacks Credentials
  • National Silver Azbee Award for Impact/Investigative Journalism; National Gold Azbee Award for Online Single Topic Coverage by a Team; National Bronze Azbee Award for Web Feature Series
Alison DeNisco Rayome
5 min read
See at Amazon
Whole Foods Market
Best for fans of organic food
See at Amazon
Amazon Fresh
Best for free delivery and lower-cost groceries
See at Amazon
Amazon or Amazon Prime
Best for when you need a few nonperishables
See at Amazon
Amazon Launchpad Grocery
Best for finding new, interesting specialty foods

The pandemic has changed how we buy food. Lots of people are switching from in-person shopping to grocery delivery. And  Amazon  is ready to meet the demand of delivery with a few ways for Prime members to stock up on fresh food and pantry items without leaving the house. You can even refill your pantry if you have an Alexa-enabled device with voice commands. 

Prime members can get 2-hour delivery on over 170,000 items (and other subscription perks, too). You can buy snacks and drinks directly from the Amazon app. Whole Foods has a plethora of fresh fruit, vegetables and poultry (However, it will soon require a delivery charge), But how do these options compare to Amazon Fresh

Read more: Does Amazon have the best price? Use these four tools to find out

We've broken down which Amazon grocery choices give you the best bang for your buck. And we'll explain how long delivery takes and any memberships and fees you might face. And here's the best alcohol delivery services, the best meal kit delivery services and the best restaurant delivery apps. We recently updated this story. 

Claudia Cruz/CNET

Price: Free delivery on orders over $35 for Prime members.

Thanks to its purchase of the Whole Foods Market grocery chain in 2017, Amazon offers free two-hour delivery of Whole Foods items, for Prime members who live in certain areas (namely, those with a Whole Foods nearby). You'll find everything you'd normally find at a Whole Foods on Amazon, including fresh produce, meat and seafood, and pantry staples. 

If your order is over $35, you're eligible for free two-hour delivery, or free one-hour pickup from any Whole Foods store. If you want your groceries in one hour, you'll be charged a delivery fee based on your order total. But as of Oct. 25, you can expect a $10 delivery fee on your Whole Foods hauls. 

If you prefer shopping at Whole Foods and have a Prime membership, this is a superconvenient service. Though Whole Foods products used to cost significantly more than comparable items from stores like Trader Joe's and Target, since the chain was acquired by Amazon, prices appear to have fallen quite a bit. Prime members who shop in a Whole Foods store will also get an extra 10% off sale items (excluding alcohol) and other deals throughout the store.

Whole Foods Market grocery delivery on Amazon is currently available in 2,000 cities and towns across the US. 

James Martin/CNET

Price: Free delivery for Prime members on orders over $35 to $50 (depending on area).

Amazon Fresh is a grocery delivery service available to some Prime members living in several cities, including New York, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Houston and Atlanta, as well as some cities internationally. Though you'll find some products from the Whole Foods 365 line, most groceries here come from Amazon's massive warehouse facilities. 

To find out if Fresh is available in your area, go to Amazon.com/Fresh and enter your ZIP code in the "Deliver to" field at the top left corner of the page. 

Up until 2019, Amazon Fresh cost $15 a month. But now it's included with your Prime membership of $13 a month or $119 a year. Both paid and free-trial Prime and Prime Student members are eligible to shop Amazon Fresh, but Prime Video members aren't. Amazon Fresh is currently available in 2,000 cities and towns across the US. 

There's one exception to the Prime membership rule: Customers using a SNAP EBT card in a participating area receive free access to the Amazon Fresh selection without a Prime membership, and get free delivery if they meet a certain price threshold.

If you're eligible for Amazon Fresh, you can shop for just about anything you'd find at your local grocery store, including fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, cheese, canned goods, pantry staples and household items. 

With Amazon Fresh, delivery is free on orders that meet a certain threshold. Depending on the area, that'll be either a $35 or $50 minimum before tax. If you don't meet that price, you'll be charged a delivery fee of $5 to $8, depending on how fast you want your order. Some cities also have a free pickup option. Delivery can be as fast as two hours, or during a two-hour time slot that day or the next that fits into your schedule. Amazon will leave items on your doorstep or wherever you specify. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Price: Free to shop with potential delivery fees, or $13 a month for a Prime subscription.

That's right -- you can order groceries through your regular old Amazon or Amazon Prime account, the same way you would any other product through the site. Under the site's Grocery & Gourmet Food category, you'll find nonperishable items like water, candy, coffee, snacks and kitchen items like plastic wrap or garbage bags. These products arrive the same way any other product you buy through the site does. Some offer the Subscribe & Save option for an extra discount. 

From the Grocery & Gourmet landing page, you can refine your search by specialty (like gluten-free, organic or kosher), calories per serving, fat calories per serving and nutrition facts. You can also search by price, Prime eligibility, delivery time, brand, seller or reviews, or by categories, including alcoholic beverages, breakfast foods and snack foods. However, some categories (like deli and prepared foods, or frozen) will show options that are available only through Whole Foods.

Basically, the Grocery & Gourmet Food page is useful for finding nonperishables, but it's also a repository for all other Amazon grocery delivery options. 


Price: Free to shop with potential delivery fees, or $13 a month for a Prime subscription.

A final grocery category on Amazon is part of Launchpad, the site's showcase for startups. Amazon works with entrepreneurs to provide resources and support for new products. Within the Launchpad Food section of the site, you'll find lots of options for nonperishables from companies you probably haven't heard of yet. A quick glance at the landing page reveals everything from specialty honey to protein bars to salmon skin chips to vitamin-infused coffee pods. 

Launchpad probably isn't where you're going to go to grab a carton of milk and some Doritos, but you might find some interesting new specialty products or ideas for gifts. 

Watch this: Get $10 from Amazon by shopping with your voice

More kitchen deals for 2021

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.