Krzysztof is a lifelong future tech junkie investigating the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.
What Is Amazon Fresh?
Amazon Fresh is Amazon's online grocery store where customers can do their grocery shopping online and get it delivered the next day.
It began in 2007 near the company's headquarters in Seattle, Washington, and has since expanded across the US and internationally.
The variety of goods and services has grown exponentially, but how exactly does it work?
Here are 55 facts about Amazon Fresh to help you decide if it's the delivery service for you. You'll find out:
- Cities where the program is offered
- Where the food comes from
- What to do with the green delivery tote bags
- How the prices compare to other services
- What customers say about the service
How Amazon Fresh Works
Where Is Amazon Fresh Offered?
In general, Amazon Fresh delivers to those near and around those cities, including surrounding boroughs and suburbs. The service will continue to expand in the years ahead, so be on the lookout if you're interested in trying them out.
If you're unsure whether Amazon Fresh is available in your area, then you can go on the Amazon website and type in your zip code to find out.
As of September 2019, these are the locations where this grocery service is available:
- Seattle (WA) area
- Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego CA
- New York City
- Philadelphia, PA
- Baltimore, MD
- Boston, MA
- Dallas, TX
- Chicago, IL
- Denver, CO
- Tokyo, Berlin, and central/eastern London
- Houston, TX
- Minneapolis, MN
- Phoenix, AZ
- Atlanta, GA
- Miami, FL
- Washington D.C.
- Las Vegas, NV
Update: As of November 30, 2017 Amazon Fresh is no longer available in parts of PA, NJ, DE, MD, and CA. Primary focus for Fresh delivery will be in major cities until further notice.
Update #2: As of September, 2019 Amazon's new partnership with Whole Foods has brought back grocery delivery to those previously discontinued Fresh locations under Prime Now with 1-2 hour deliveries. Deliveries are free if $35 and over ($4.99 fee if under) and Prime Now is included in your Amazon Prime subscription.
Where Does Amazon Fresh Food Come From?
How does online grocery ordering work?
- Food and goods are stored in Amazon's massive warehouse facilities similar to where their non-edible inventory is kept.
- Amazon logistics provides a web of delivery services that can reach nearby destinations in as little as 24 hours.
- The company has tie-ins with local grocery stores and third party brands including Amazon's own private labels.
- There are hundreds of thousands of available products including vegan and organic options.
- Products are delivered via attended or doorstep delivery.
- In attended delivery, you must reserve a one hour window where you'll be available in person to pick up your food from the driver.
- In doorstep delivery, you can reserve a 2-3 hour drop-off time where food will be left by your door.
- When placing your order, you have the option to add to your order or cancel your delivery before it's shipped.
- Make sure to check front and back entrances of your home for deliveries if you can't locate them.
- Amazon Fresh does not deliver to dorms or closed locations.
- All orders and drop-off scheduling is made through their website, including the ability to add to or cancel items/order.
- Amazon has partnered with Allrecipes.com to add required ingredients for any recipe to your Amazon Fresh cart as a way to challenge Blue Apron's meal-kit deliveries.
How to Recycle the Green Delivery Totes
What Do I Do With the Green Delivery Tote Bags?
The staple of Amazon Fresh is their large green totes, which carry the bulk of your products. Typically, the totes contain several ice packs or dry ice as well as paper bags where your goods are placed. In an attended delivery, you may only receive large brown paper bags.
You don't have to return your green totes or brown bags. But you may be wondering what's in those totes or how do I get rid of them?
- All green totes, paper bags, or cardboard dividers are recyclable.
- You can get rid of your green totes by scheduling tote pickup on Amazon's website.
- Your totes can also be picked up on your next Fresh order if you leave your totes outside your door.
- In an attended delivery, you'll likely receive your products in brown paper bags.
- In doorstep delivery, your green totes will have ice packs or dry ice in them to better preserve your food in that 2-3 hour window.
- All ice packs can be kept or recycled.
- Dry ice is often used when ordering frozen foods like ice cream or pizza.
- Dry ice is extremely cold and must be handled with extreme caution.
- Be sure to contact customer service in case of damaged paper bags or green totes.
- Damaged goods are eligible to be refunded.
How Do Amazon Fresh Prices Compare?
So I bet you're probably asking yourself, "Is Amazon Fresh worth trying?"
Well, that depends on you, but let me break down the costs:
- You must have an Amazon Prime membership ($119 annually) before you can try Fresh.
- Amazon Fresh is an add-on that'll cost you $14.99 a month on top of your Prime membership.
- You can add Fresh to a monthly Prime membership ($12.99 a month).
- Amazon Fresh offers a 1-month free trial for its subscription service.
- The price of goods varies depending on the food items for Fresh and other local grocery stores.
- Unlike local markets that offer extensive coupons, you're unlikely to find the same for online products.
- You must spend a minimum of $35 to get free shipping.
- The costs vary regionally and internationally so tread carefully.
- You must factor in the cost of gas and your time when choosing an online vs. a physical shopping experience.
- Unfortunately Amazon Fresh does not come free with your Prime membership, but there are ways to get a 1 month free trial.
- Outside of the trials, you'll be spending $14.99 a month on top of your Prime membership for a total annual cost of around $300. That might sound steep, but you have to factor in the cost of gas, product savings/coupons, and other valuable commodities like your time into the equation.
What Do Customers Say About the Service?
Millions of people have tried Amazon Fresh and so far the reviews are mixed. There are, however, plenty of ways to voice concerns if you're unsatisfied with your order.
- Refunds are available for damaged or missing goods.
- Since the items are mostly edible, they cannot be returned.
- You can check out reviews for Amazon Fresh on the Amazon website.
- If your product is unavailable or not in stock after placing your order, it may be substituted with a similar item at a reduced cost.
- You may get a full refund if the items are not to your liking (unsatisfactory, not fresh).
- Make sure to only add items with the "fresh" logo next to them when shopping through Amazon Fresh.
- Items will be placed in your shopping cart, which you will click after you're done shopping.
- Please go on Amazon's customer service page if there are any issues or concerns with your order.
- Once your order is shipped, you cannot modify it but you may cancel it if necessary.
- Success of deliveries and product satisfaction will vary from place to place. Overall the reviews for Amazon Fresh remain mixed with some reporting satisfactory results while others have issues with their shipment.
- Unsatisfied customers will often get a refund or added perks to keep them happy.
- Amazon Fresh is still a work in progress, but generally, their food quality is rarely the problem. The biggest complaints are missing/late deliveries, lack of availability, and the high cost of services.
I'd suggest giving it a shot, if possible, to see for yourself. After all it's free to try as long as you're a Prime member.
Questions & Answers
Question: How fresh is the produce from Amazon's fresh grocery delivery?
Answer: The produce gets recycled multiple times a day, so it's always fresh when you receive it. The relatively short delivery times and ice packs also help keep your produce fresh when you get it.
Question: Can I return Amazon fresh ice packs by putting them in the green totes?
Answer: Many people have returned totes with ice packs, and I've never heard someone say you couldn't.
Question: When will Amazon fresh come to Houston?
Answer: I read that it's available in parts of the metro. Perhaps Amazon will switch to mostly Whole Foods distribution, as it has a broader reach. In fact, the two services might eventually blend together.
© 2017 Krzysztof Willman
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on December 04, 2017:
It's a great for those who are too busy or don't have the means to go to the store. You should see if there are other programs near your area. I would look into Postmates or Instacart.
Doug Bradford on December 03, 2017:
Just wish this worked close to the Panhandle of Texas so I could use this program. As I read this article this sounds like a great program.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on July 31, 2017:
Thank you, it's understandable that people prefer to pick their own produce because who better to trust with quality than yourself. I think if the pricing was more reasonable then more people would jump on board, but e-commerce itself only has a total market share of 10 percent in the retail world so it's going to take several years before these concepts get a chance to flourish :)
FlourishAnyway from USA on July 31, 2017:
I appreciate the review. Living in the suburbs groceries are not a problem to shop for and the price seems so steep. I like picking out my own vegetables and fruit.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on July 31, 2017:
Amazon's aquisition of Whole Foods, their Amazon Fresh Pick-up trial, and Amazon Go are all designed to take Amazon Fresh on a larger scale, but you're correct that they have a lot of work to do to gain mass public appeal. The cost is a huge issue for many but there are several benefits as well especially for those handicapped, sick, or even busy parents who don't have the time to go to a store, so there are mixed feelings.
I'm curious to see where they'll take Fresh next though as Amazon is not one to sit around and wait for things to happen. Thank you for your response.
Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on July 31, 2017:
I buy a lot of things from Amazon and I even buy from Amazon's Prime Pantry once in a while. But as far as fresh fruits and vegetables go, I'll pass on that.
Thanks to your comprehensive review, I realize that they force you to spend $40 just to save the shipping costs, and that's on top of the monthly fee. In addition to that, I would lose out on the savings I get from local stores that always offer discounts and coupons.
I think Amazon is going to have to rethink this business plan if they want to compete with fresh groceries.