Amazon Prime Now begins delivery of Whole Foods Market groceries in four US cities on Thursday, with plans to expand its offers more broadly later this year
You can now shop at Whole Foods — without actually shopping at Whole Foods.
Amazon Prime Now announced Thursday that it will begin a new free, two-hour delivery service for Whole Foods Market products, available starting today to customers in four cities — Cincinnati, Austin, Dallas, and Virginia Beach. The company also says it plans to expand the service to other parts of the United States later this year. For reference, Amazon acquired Whole Foods for nearly $14 billion in 2017.
While it’s free to receive your groceries in two hours, if you’re in a rush to scarf something down, you can pay $7.99 to rush-deliver your groceries in one hour flat, on orders of $35 or more.
So what, specifically, can you buy? A lot. Shoppers can purchase fresh and organic produce; baked goods; dairy, meat, and seafood products; flowers; certain alcoholic beverages; and other items, too.
While this new service is likely to delight Amazon Prime customers craving some Whole Foods goodness, it’s not the only way to have groceries delivered straight to your door. Amazon launched grocery delivery service AmazonFresh in 2007, and today, for $14.95 per month (plus $9.99 for orders under $40), AmazonFresh will deliver a broad array of groceries to shoppers’ doorsteps.
Grocery delivery is certainly not unique to Amazon, though. Grocery chains like Kroger, Publix, Ralph’s, the Food Emporium, and other national and regional grocers have partnered with Instacart, an app and delivery service operating nationwide. Kroger, for its part, expanded its delivery options by test-piloting a partnership with Uber in 2017 in Dallas and Richmond.
Instacart will also deliver from Costco, Whole Foods, Key Food and other grocers; orders placed through the app must be above $10, and come with a delivery fee that varies based on the size of the order and the time window specified. Orders above $35 are delivered gratis if you hold an Instacart Express membership, which costs $149 per year.
Plus, other services like Postmates have made a concerted effort to penetrate the grocery delivery sector, launching Postmates Fresh in Manhattan, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in Nov. 2017, to deliver many of these same products to young, digitally-conscious shoppers. The service offers products from high end brands like Acme Bread and Cowgirl Creamery as well, and touts 30-minute delivery compared to most other competitors’ two hour window. What’s more, there’s an affordable $3.99 delivery fee for orders, or a $9.99 per month membership option.
With all of these options available to alleviate the burden of hiking to the supermarket, it’s little wonder that the online grocery sector has been booming. Data released in early 2018 by the Food Marketing Institute found that online grocery consumption could amount to $100 billion in sales — as much as 20% of the entire grocery market — by 2025, with 70% of shoppers using online food shopping in some capacity within the next five to seven years.
And one in four of us now buy groceries online, versus less than one in five (19%) in 2014 — proof that this trend has been catching on for sometime.
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