Amazon Fresh vs Amazon Pantry (The Right Choice)

Both Amazon Fresh and Amazon Pantry are online stores available to Amazon Prime members. They are popular among time-pressed shoppers. The names “Amazon Fresh” and “Amazon Pantry” suggest they both have something to do with groceries. And indeed they do. So what are the similarities and differences between the two?

Let’s take a close look at both Amazon Fresh and Amazon Pantry – how do they work, what do they cost, how fast are their deliveries, and more. We will highlight the pros and cons and compare the two services. And we will help you decide which service is a better fit for you.

While both Amazon Fresh and Amazon Pantry offer free grocery delivery to Amazon Prime members, there are some major differences between the two:

  • Product Focus: The focus of Amazon Fresh is on perishable produce such as fruits and vegetables. These products need to be delivered quickly or they will go bad. Amazon Pantry, on the other hand, focuses on non-perishables such as cookies and cleaning supplies. These products can be delivered by conventional ground shipping such as UPS & FedEx
  • User Qualification: Only Prime members and EBT cardholders can use Amazon Fresh. Everyone can use Amazon Pantry
  • Delivery Speed: Amazon Fresh orders are delivered within 2 hours. Amazon Pantry orders take 1 to 4 business days to be delivered
Amazon FreshAmazon Pantry
CostFreeFree
Who can usePrime members & EBT cardholdersAnyone
ProductsPerishable groceries & household productsNon-perishable groceries & household products
AvailabilitySelect citiesSelect areas
Order Threshold for Free Shipping$35 ($50 in NYC)$35
Who Qualify for Free ShippingPrime members & EBT cardholdersPrime members & EBT cardholders
Shipping Fee for Orders Under Threshold$4.99 – $9.99$5.99
Shipping Fee for Non-Prime members & Non-EBT cardholdersNA$5.99
Delivery Time2 hours1 – 4 business days
Delivered ByLocal Amazon Flex delivery trucksConventional ground shipping (UPS, FedEx, USPS)
PickupYes – ready in as little as 30 minutesNo

You should choose Amazon Fresh if you:

  • Want to get perishable produce delivered to your home
  • Need your order delivered quickly – within 2 hours
  • Live in one of the cities where Amazon Fresh is available

You should choose Amazon Pantry if you:

  • Want to get non-perishable items delivered to your home
  • Do not mind waiting up to 4 days for your orders to arrive
  • Live in one of the areas where Amazon Pantry is available

Does Amazon fresh accept EBT? Yes, Amazon does accept SNAP EBT from all states except Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine and Montana.

Related: How To Use EBT on Amazon

How Amazon Fresh Works

Amazon Fresh is Amazon’s grocery delivery and pickup service. It focuses on perishable produce such as vegetables, fruits, milk, and meat. It also offers everyday essentials such as cookies, crackers, chips, pasta, paper towels, toilet paper, detergent, and shampoo. Basically, it delivers to you what you would normally buy at your grocery store.

Unlike some other grocery delivery services such as Instacart that fulfill orders from grocery stores, Amazon Fresh orders are fulfilled by Amazon fulfillment centers and delivered by local Amazon Flex delivery trucks.

To use Amazon Fresh, you typically have to be a member of Amazon Prime. The only exception is for people with a valid SNAP EBT card. They can place Amazon Fresh orders without being a Prime member.

Amazon Fresh is only available in selected markets including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

To find out if Amazon Fresh is available in your area, visit Amazon.com/AmazonFresh.

Even if you live in an area where Amazon Fresh is available, you still need to be invited by Amazon before you can use Amazon Fresh. To request an invitation, go here.

The demand for Amazon Fresh has been high. Users are reporting that it takes a week or more after requesting an invitation to get a response from Amazon.

Once you get an invitation, you can sign up for Amazon Fresh. After that, you can shop Amazon Fresh on either the Amazon website or the Amazon app.

When you place your Amazon Fresh order, you have the option to choose 1of 3 order types:

  • Attended Delivery: The driver will only hand over your order to you or someone you have designated. Choose a time slot when you will be available to receive your order in person. You can also ask the driver to leave your order with a doorman or security guard. Attended delivery is available in all cities where Amazon Fresh is available.
  • Doorstep Delivery: The driver will drop off your order at your doorstep without requiring you to be there to receive your order. Doorstep delivery is also available in all cities where Amazon Fresh is available.
  • Pickup: For pickup orders, you can choose a pickup location and then reserve a time slot. Pickup is only available in some of the cities where Amazon Fresh is available.

Amazon Fresh Delivery Fee

File:Amazon Fresh (5095355117).jpg

Amazon Fresh used to cost $14.99 per month in addition to the Amazon Prime membership fee. Then in Oct 2019, Amazon dropped the subscription fee for Amazon Fresh altogether. Amazon Fresh now comes free with Amazon Prime. But depending on the size of your order, you may still have to pay delivery fees on individual orders.

In most cities where Amazon Fresh is available, any order $35 or more gets free shipping. In New York City, the free shipping threshold is raised to $50.

Orders under the $35 (or $50 in New York City) threshold will come with a shipping fee of $4.99 or $9.99, depending on the location.

For pickup orders, there is no additional cost and no order minimum.

Related: What is the Average Price of Salmon Per Pound?

Amazon Fresh Delivery Time

  • For delivery orders, Amazon is promising a delivery time of 2 hours
  • For pickup orders, they can be ready in as little as 30 minutes

How Amazon Pantry Works

Amazon Pantry is an online store where customers can shop for groceries and household products in everyday package sizes (for example, a single box of cereal).

While the focus of Amazon Fresh is on perishable produce such as fruits and vegetables and super fast (2-hour) shipping, the focus of Amazon Pantry is on nonperishable items such as bottled water and detergents.

And unlike Amazon Fresh orders which are delivered by local Amazon Flex delivery trucks, Amazon Pantry orders are delivered by conventional ground shipping such as UPS, FedEx, and USPS. As a result, Amazon Pantry order delivery is much slower than that of Amazon Fresh (more on this later.)

Amazon Pantry is available to both members and non-members of Amazon Prime. Prime members – and customers using a valid EBT card or those who have a verified Medicaid card – get free shipping on qualified Amazon Pantry orders. Everyone else has to pay shipping.

Amazon Pantry is only available in select regions. To find out if Amazon Pantry is available in your area, visit the Amazon Pantry page.

As long as you live in an area where Amazon Pantry is available, you can place Pantry orders on the Amazon app or the Amazon Pantry website.

Amazon Pantry Delivery Fee

Prime members and people with valid EBT or Medicaid cards get free delivery on Amazon Pantry orders of $35 or more. For Pantry orders under $35, they have to pay a flat shipping fee of $5.99 per order.

Non-Prime members can also place Amazon Pantry orders. For them, all orders come with a shipping fee of $5.99 per order regardless of order size.

Amazon Pantry Delivery Time

  • Amazon Pantry orders are delivered by conventional ground shipping such as UPS, FedEx, and USPS. Typically, the delivery time is 1 to 4 business days.

Related: How to Handle Lost Packages From Amazon | USPS | UPS | FedEx | DHL

Amazon Fresh Pros & Cons

In this section, we will look at the pros and cons of Amazon Fresh.

Amazon Fresh Pros

  • Convenience: This is the biggest selling point of Amazon Fresh. No more driving to the grocery store and then back home. No need to navigate the grocery store, pick out things you want, and then wait in line for checkout. Just place on order online and your grocery will be delivered in less than 2 hours. With Amazon Fresh, you can easily save hours every week. It is a game changer
  • High-Quality Produce: The quality of the fruits and vegetables you get from Amazon Fresh is consistently high
  • Good Prices: Prices are competitive with traditional grocery stores. If you live a frugal lifestyle, you will be happy with this as you are not paying a big markup for the convenience
  • Easy to Order: The UI design of Amazon Fresh is simple and intuitive. There is a “Past Purchases” list that helps you quickly re-order things you regularly buy

Related: What Is a Frugal Person? Frugal vs Thrifty vs Cheap Comparison

Amazon Fresh Cons

  • Order Minimum: You only get free shipping for orders over $35 (or $50 in NYC.) This is not a service you can freely use for small purchases
  • Limited Product Variety: Compared to grocery stores, the variety of products available on Amazon Fresh is more limited
  • Availability: It is only available in a limited number of cities
  • Invitation: You need an invitation from Amazon to use it

Amazon Pantry Pros & Cons

In this section, we will look at the pros and cons of Amazon Pantry.

Amazon Pantry Pros

  • Convenience: Just like Amazon Fresh, Amazon Pantry helps you cut down or even eliminate your trips to grocery stores. This could be a huge time saver
  • Good Prices: Prices are competitive with traditional grocery stores. You are not paying a big markup for the convenience

Amazon Pantry Cons

  • Slow Shipping: Unlike Amazon Fresh which gives you 2-hour shipping or Amazon Prime which gives you 2-day shipping, Amazon Pantry shipping takes as much as 4 business days
  • Availability: It is only available in a limited number of regions

Market Feedback on Both Services

Here is some user feedback about Amazon Fresh and Amazon Pantry

Amazon Fresh Feedbacks:

  • A Reddit user was not happy with Instacart and tried Amazon Fresh. Their order arrived in the first half of the delivery window. All items were present. Cold items were still cold. The produce looked nice and fresh. They called Amazon Fresh “simple & easy”
  • Another Reddit user complaint that a lot of the items on Amazon Fresh are out of stock when they tried to order

Amazon Pantry Feedbacks:

  • A Reddit user reported that a lot of items on Amazon Pantry were substantially cheaper than they were at his local Kroger store
  • Another Reddit user was really disappointed with food from Amazon Pantry. They received food that was 6 months past the “Best By” dates and cans that were over 50% dented

Bottom Line

Both Amazon Fresh and Amazon Pantry are useful services that can save you a lot of time. With Amazon Fresh, it is possible to eliminate the need to go to grocery stores regularly. Amazon Pantry offers you a convenient way to replenish non-perishables and household products with free shipping.

If you are already an Amazon Prime member, you get Amazon Fresh and Amazon Pantry at no additional cost. These services just make Amazon Prime membership an even better deal.

Key Takeaways

  • Both Amazon Fresh and Amazon Pantry are available to Prime members for free
  • The focus of Amazon Fresh is perishable produce
  • The focus of Amazon Pantry is non-perishable items
  • You get free shipping for Amazon Fresh & Amazon Pantry orders over $35
  • Amazon Fresh orders are delivered in 2 hours
  • Amazon Pantry orders are delivered in 1 – 4 business days

Related: Walmart Plus vs Amazon Prime Comparison