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If you’ve ever searched for a food item on Amazon, say chicken broth, you may have noticed that some of your search results are offers from Whole Foods, while others are from Amazon Fresh. So what does that mean exactly? Aren’t Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods the same thing now that Amazon owns Whole Foods? And why are there different delivery prices for Amazon Fresh vs. Whole Foods?
Understanding the Amazon Fresh vs. Whole Foods dynamic comes down to learning a bit about both brands, the different ways to shop them, and how being an Amazon Prime Member impacts the whole experience.
Let’s break down the similarities and differences between Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods, and what you need to know to get the most out of your shopping experiences with both.
But first, download The Krazy Coupon Lady app so you never miss a hot deal at either store!
1. Amazon actually owns Whole Foods.
Though the two companies used to be completely separate, Amazon purchased Whole Foods in 2017 for $13.7 billion. That’s why some items from Whole Foods pop up in the Amazon results for grocery items. And why you may see some overlap with branding and promotions.
Amazon Fresh is Amazon’s online grocery service, offering same-day delivery within a two-hour window. It launched in Seattle about a decade before the Whole Foods acquisition, and has since expanded throughout the U.S. More recently, physical Amazon Fresh stores have been popping up, too, with just over 40 currently operating around the country.
Compare this with Whole Foods, which began as a brick-and-mortar natural foods store and has since expanded to over 500 retail locations throughout the U.S. The in-person shopping experience is really the bigger focus for Whole Foods, but online ordering is now available via Amazon.
TIP: You can browse all the available Amazon Fresh offers here.
2. Amazon Prime members get perks at both Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh.
Because they share a parent company, Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods both offer privileges and benefits to Amazon Prime members. You actually need to be a Prime Member to order from Amazon Fresh or from Whole Foods online in the first place, though anyone can shop at the in-person locations of either store.
Here’s a quick rundown of the perks of Prime membership, as they relate to Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods:
- Discounted prices when shopping at Whole Foods. You can browse the Prime member Daily Deals listed on their website.
- Free Amazon order pickup and returns at Whole Foods. If there’s a Whole Foods or Amazon Fresh location near you, you can go there to pick up or return your Amazon orders (just make sure it’s a participating Whole Foods location). For returns, just bring your items to customer service, and they’ll repackage and ship it out for you.
- Credit card rewards. If you have an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card and are a Prime Member, you’ll earn 5% back on all of your Whole Foods Market and Amazon Fresh orders, in addition to your Amazon.com purchases.
3. Amazon Fresh beats Whole Foods on delivery fees — especially for orders over $150.
When you place an online order from Whole Foods for delivery, all orders have a flat $9.99 fee — no matter how much you spend.
Amazon Fresh used to offer free delivery for any order over $35, but they recently raised the minimum order amount to qualify for free shipping to $150. Delivery pricing for Amazon Fresh is now $9.95 for orders under $50, $6.95 for orders between $50 and $100, and $3.95 if you spend between $100 and $150.
Related: We found the best food to buy on Amazon, including snacks and grocery staples.
4. Amazon Fresh stores have cooler features.
If you’re fortunate enough to have an Amazon Fresh location near you, the in-store technology really elevates the shopping experience. What do I mean by this? For one, their “Just Walk Out” shopping carts will tally up your order automatically as you add things to your cart. No checkout or scanning needed.
You can also “Ask Alexa” to help you shop at kiosks within the store. Don’t know where to find polenta? Just ask Alexa and she’ll tell you the aisle. You can also get answers to foodie questions, like which wine pairs with a particular cheese.
Related: Put your smart device to the test with these 100+ funny things to ask Alexa.
5. You can shop from Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh at the same time, but you’ll have two separate carts.
Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods orders come from different warehouses, so if you start adding items to your Amazon cart from both stores, you’ll notice that it creates two separate shopping carts.
You’ll then end up having to do a separate check-out process for each — and pay separate delivery fees.
6. Amazon Fresh has a wider selection of products, but Whole Foods wins for organic options.
Comparing Amazon Fresh to Whole Foods based on their overall value isn’t really an apples-to-apples comparison at all. It’s more like a comparison of regular apples to locally sourced organic apples.
Amazon Fresh may have a wider selection of brands — as well as their own brand — at a variety of price points, while Whole Foods focuses more on high-quality organic products that tend to be priced higher. If you prefer fresh, organic, natural ingredients, you may prefer shopping at Whole Foods — but just know that those premium ingredients come at a premium price.
In terms of delivery costs, Amazon Fresh will cost you less as long as you spend at least $50, and you can reach free delivery status at $150. Whole Foods’ flat-rate of $9.99 may not be worth it to you unless you’re doing a sizable order of items you can’t get anywhere else.
As for in-person shopping, Whole Foods is still king, especially for people who prefer to support sustainable agriculture and responsible food sourcing. The stores are bigger and there are way more of them. Plus, Whole Foods has developed impressive brand loyalty among health-conscious shoppers over the years. But Amazon Fresh may soon become a formidable brick-and-mortar competitor as more locations continue to spring up simply because of the cool shopping experience.
The good news is you don’t necessarily have to choose one over the other when you’re shopping as an Amazon Prime member, as Amazon makes it easy and appealing to shop for goods from both retailers right from the Amazon app or website.