Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Grocery Delivery Services During the Pandemic

The novel coronavirus and COVID-19 have sent shockwaves around the world over the last few weeks and months. Millions of people across the globe have been either quarantined or forced to stay home and shelter in place until the pandemic passes, creating a massive new challenge; how to stay safe but still be able to feed your family.

Shelter in Place, Stay Safe and Let Amazon Deliver Your Food and Pantry Items

One of the best solutions to this problem is also one of the most respected and utilized home-delivery service companies on the planet – Amazon. The world’s largest online retailer, Amazon makes millions of deliveries every day to customers across the United States and the world, surpassing even Walmart in terms of size and scope. Included in their massive mix of products are fresh grocery items, non-perishable grocery items, and household items as well, delivered via 1 of their 3 grocery delivery services.

Grocery Delivery Services

What Grocery Delivery Services does Amazon Offer?


Amazon offers two different delivery services for food and grocery items: AmazonFresh and Prime Pantry. With AmazonFresh a customer can have fresh groceries and sundry items delivered to their home or office. Prime Pantry offers delivery of non-perishable grocery and sundry items, making it quite a bit different since you can’t purchase, say, fresh vegetables or fresh fish using the service. Both are considered ‘add-ons’ to an Amazon Prime subscription membership.

What are the Main Price Differences Between AmazonFresh and Prime Pantry?

As we mentioned, if you want to get fresh groceries like vegetables, fruit, fish, meat and so forth, food that can ‘go bad’ and thus needs to be refrigerated, AmazonFresh is likely your best choice. If you want food that is not perishable, like a box of cereal, a bar of soap or a bottle of olive oil, Prime Pantry is probably the better choice. After doing some research we found that frankly, there aren’t a lot of differences between the two options, but there are a few that are notable.

First, to use both services you’re required to have an Amazon Prime subscription, which you can pay for monthly or annually. The annual cost will save you some money but it does mean a higher up-front cost. The good news, at least for students, is that as a student in college or university you can get a discounted Amazon Prime subscription. You can also get a discounted subscription as a recipient of Medicaid or EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer).

The specific Amazon Prime subscription prices are as follows:

Standard Amazon Prime Subscription*
$119.00 per year if paid in full at the start of the year (on 23/03/2020).
$12.99 per month and thus $155.88 per year when paid monthly (on 23/03/2020)

Student Amazon Prime Subscription*
$59.00 per year if paid in full at the start of the year (on 23/03/2020)
$6.49 per month and thus $77.88 per year when paid monthly (on 23/03/2020)

Medicaid and EBT Amazon Prime Subscription*
$5.99 per month and thus $71.88 per year when paid monthly (on 23/03/2020)

(Medicaid and EBT users can only pay monthly and can only use Amazon Prime for up to 4 years)

What are the Differences in Delivery Cost between Prime Pantry and Amazon Fresh?

With AmazonFresh, you’re getting what basically amounts to a digital grocery store. You can order, for example, fresh products like carrots, fish, ground beef or oranges from local stores using AmazonFresh, including Whole Foods which is now owned by Amazon. You can also get non-food items like soap, paper towels, the suddenly valuable toilet paper and more. All of these items will then be delivered next-day, right to your door, which makes social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic a lot easier.

The cost for delivery (or shipping, whichever term you prefer) is $9.99*, but that cost will be waived if you order over either $35.00 or $50.00*, depending on where you live and the rules set up in your particular area of the US. Again, as we mentioned above, there is an extra cost for AmazonFresh of $14.99* a month, which is over-and-above your Prime membership cost.

If you choose to use Prime Pantry there is no extra cost per month, but you can’t get fresh produce. What you can get are pantry items that are ‘shelf-stable’ (which means they don’t need to be refrigerated) and other household products. The big benefit to Prime Pantry is that you can get everything you order in regular, everyday packaging. For example, a single bar of soap, a protein bar or a can of Planters peanuts. Normally these things would be too inexpensive to qualify for free shipping on their own.
You can also get bulk items with Prime Pantry which is a boon for seniors and anyone not able to lift, for example, an entire case of pickles. Again, this is a free service for Amazon Prime members although you need to meet their $35.00* minimum to get free shipping. Additionally, you can opt to pay $4.99* a month extra and the minimum for any order will fall to $10.00* and over to get free delivery.

Amazon Fresh (on 23/03/2020)*

• $14.99 per month whether you’re a Prime member or not
• Orders under $35.00 to $50.00 = $9.99 for delivery (shipping)
• $35.00 to $50.00 (or over) per order = $0.00 delivery
• The $35.00 or $50.00 depends on your area

Prime Pantry (on 23/03/2020)*

• $4.99 per month if you’re not a Prime member
• No extra cost per month if you’re a Prime member
• Orders under $35.00 = $5.99 for delivery (shipping)
• $35.00 (or over) per order = $0.00 delivery
• The option of Paying $4.99 / month for $10.00 minimum to get free shipping
BONUS – One added benefit of paying the $14.99* extra a month for AmazonFresh is that on all Prime Pantry orders you will receive free shipping.

BONUS – If you’re ready to try one of both services here’s something to keep in mind: AmazonFresh has a 30-day free trial. That means you could get both services for 30 days, try them out in tandem and not pay anything extra to Amazon, at least not for the first 30 days.

AmazonFresh QUICK LOOK GUIDE

What can be purchased? Perishable groceries, products, sundry items like soap, and also items from local stores and restaurants.
What is Cost per Month? $14.99* with a Prime Membership.
What is the Delivery Fee? $9.99* but, if you order over $35.00 or $50.00* (it’s area dependent) shipping is automatically free.
What are the Delivery Options? Delivery to your front door with both attended and unattended options. Also, pick up in-store, which is free.

Prime Pantry QUICK LOOK GUIDE

What can be purchased? Any type of non-perishable household or pantry items including cleaning supplies, soap, etc. Also, you can buy in single-size containers or in bulk.
What is the Cost per Month? Free with a Prime Membership or $4.99* if you want to drop the minimum order to $10.00* for free shipping.
What is the Delivery Fee? $5.99* but, if you order over $35.00* shipping is automatically free. Or pay $4.99* per month to drop the minimum to $10.00* for free shipping.
What are the Delivery Options? Ground shipping is usually used which can take anywhere from one to four days.

What are the Main Benefits of AmazonFresh?

There are several benefits to have an AmazonFresh membership if it’s available in your city. You can get fresh products like vegetables, fruit, fish and meat, favorite items from local stores, plus items from Whole Foods including their 365 brand. All of these are then delivered right to your door, attended or unattended, and you’ll be paying the highly competitive Amazon prices for everything.

What are the Main Benefits of Prime Pantry?

Prime Pantry has the benefit of being a free service if you have a Prime membership, unlike AmazonFresh that charges an extra $14.99* a month. The better benefit, however, is that you can purchase individually sized products like an individual protein bar or 1 can of beans, plus you can buy bulk items like an entire case of beans, and you can have both shipped for a very low, or free, cost which is almost impossible with any other service. Plus, the minimum for free shipping is only $35.00* or, if you want to lower it to $10.00* minimum, you can pay an extra $4.99* a month.

In Closing

Both AmazonFresh and Prime Pantry allow you to have groceries delivered to your door at low Amazon prices and for very low delivery fees or, in many cases, for free. As we all struggle to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, including new work-at-home rules and shelter-in-place orders, Amazon continues to deliver food and pantry items to millions of people, making this crisis just a little bit easier.
To all of our friends and family and anyone who is reading this article, we wish all the best. Stay safe, wash your hands, practice social distancing where possible and be well. We will all get through this together.

* All prices here are current on 23/03/2020 and can be changed. Check on Amazon.