I’m a total foodie so the grocery store is more fun to me than going to the mall (don’t worry, my sisters think I’m crazy too!), so I was never sold on buying groceries online. That all changed when my grandmother had a stroke and lost the ability to drive. She hated to rely on us for groceries, so we set her up with Peapod and it was a real godsend. Ever since, I’ve been hooked on online grocery shopping. For this reason, I was intrigued by the new Amazon Pantry. (See how Pantry’s prices compare to a grocery store, below.)
Is Amazon Pantry a good deal?
Pros of Amazon Pantry
Convenient – Amazon Pantry ships to 48 states (sorry, Alaska and Hawaii) and allows you to digitally clip coupons (if available). This makes scoring extra savings really easy…which I love.
Variety – There are 1,668 pantry items to choose from including snacks, beverages, household cleaning supplies and more.
User Friendly – Each Pantry box can weigh up to 45 pounds and take up to four cubic feet of space. As you add items to your box, Amazon shows you how full your box is. Under each item, Amazon lists the percentage of the box that it will fill. For example, a 100 oz. bottle of Tide detergent will take up 16.8% of a Pantry box, a 24-pack of Arrowhead water will take up 62.2%, and a bag of potato chips will take up 3%. You can put items into a box and take them out as you like.
Easy Cost Comparison – Amazon includes the price per ounce and price per count so customers can compare to prices at a typical grocery store and other online grocery delivery services.
Regular Sizes at Discount Prices – The new service allows customers to buy single size items that were previously offered in bulk. This is an especially nice feature for singles who don’t need a huge quantity, or for those who live in small apartments and lack storage for bulky items.
Cons of Amazon Pantry
Joiner Fee – Pantry is only available to Amazon Prime members, and membership recently jumped from $79 per year to $99. Ouch! There is also a $6 delivery fee per box. Since Amazon prime recently changed for the worse…I’m not sure I’d be willing to pay this fee.
Weight Liimit – Each box can only hold 45 pounds of items. If you are purchasing heavier items like sauces, oil, or canned goods, you will hit this weight limit quickly!
Shipping Delay – Amazon Pantry is currently offering 4-day delivery. That is a long time to wait for household items that you usually shop for weekly – and that you can buy from your local grocer in a few minutes. This is especially true when comparing Amazon to grocery services such as Instacart that offer same day delivery or Peapod, which offers next day delivery.
Brand Names – Currently, Amazon is focused on brand names, which means it may not be the best place for frugal shoppers. Buying store or no-name brands will usually be less expensive, unless you are coupon stacking.
Nothing Fresh – Amazon Pantry is only for non-perishable items, so no fresh food can be purchased. Most grocery delivery services offer fresh produce, so this is definitely a negative for those looking to do all their grocery shopping with a single online service. However, if you live in the San Francisco Area, Seattle Area, and Southern California, you can use Amazon Fresh.
Coupons – While Amazon allows coupons and takes the work out of coupon cutting for you, they might not always have the best deal. For example, Peapod allows you to double manufacturer coupons up to $.99. With Amazon you can only use the coupons they offer, so the deals might not be as sweet.
USA Today shared a quick video sharing their opinion on Amazon Pantry. Check it out below!
Price is a huge factor when we decide where to buy our groceries, just as convenience is. So how does Amazon Pantry compare to Peapod and a typical grocery store? We compared the numbers so you don’t have to.
Grocery Price Comparison
Amazon Pantry only offers name brand items. When the same items were available on Peapod or ShopRite in generic forms we used the lowest priced item/brand. This is designated by a (G) next to the price.
|Loaf of Bread||Not Available||$1.69 (G)||$1.00 (G)|
|Honey Nut Cheerios (17 oz.)||$2.97||$4.99||$4.00|
|Raisin Bran (23.5 oz.)||$3.68||$3.00||$3.99 (18.7 oz.)|
|Flour (5 lbs.)||$3.99||$3.19 (G)||$1.99 (G)|
|Angel Soft Double Roll Toilet Paper (12 ct.)||$5.97||$4.99||$7.59|
|Olive Oil (51 oz.)||Not Available||$13.49 (G)||$12.99|
|Chips Ahoy! (13 oz.)||$2.50||$2.50||$2.99|
|Pasta (16 oz.)||$1.59||$1.00 (G)||$1.19 (G)|
|Can of Progresso Chicken Soup (19 oz.)||$1.88||$2.99||$2.49|
|Detergent (50 oz.)||$4.50||$3.00||$1.99|
|Potato Chips (8.5 oz.)||$2.53||$2.50||$3.69|
|Dish Soap (25 oz.)||$2.37||$2.50||$2.99|
|Garbage Bags (4 ct.)||$3.41||$2.79 (G)||$3.19|
|Bottled Water (24 ct.)||$3.98||$3.99||$2.99|
|12 cans of Coke-A-Cola||$3.99||$5.49||$4.79|
|Apple Juice (64 oz.)||$2.48||$2.39 (G)||$1.49 (G)|
|Paper Towels||$5.97 (6 ct.)||$4.99 (G – 8ct.)||$4.99 (G -8 ct.)|
|Progresso Breadcrumbs (15 oz.)||$1.50||$2.29||$1.99|
|Ketchup (32 oz.)||$2.54||$3.59||$1.79 (G)|
|Velveeta Mac & Cheese (12.oz)||$2.55||$2.50||$2.99|
While the idea behind Amazon Pantry is great, I’m not sure I’m willing to try it out just yet. The convenience just doesn’t seem to be worth the cost, especially with the lack of fresh food. What do you think?
You are so right. I find out about this constantly.
Incredible blog post.
I made my first Prime Pantry order last week just to try it out. I’m a current user (and admittedly and OVER-user) of their Subscribe and Save/Amazon Mom program, so I can save 20% on a lot of bulk shipments per month. For a LOT of things like toilet paper, paper towels, cereal, coffee, etc. I’m ok with buying it in bulk. However, I think in order to make Prime Pantry work for me it needs to be more of a pick and choose kind of situation. When I see something for the same or lower price than I would normally see it at my grocery store then I’ll buy it through Prime Pantry. Considering there’s no fresh produce this means that I couldn’t completely cut out my weekly trip to the grocery store. But what it does mean is that it will substantially cut down on my shopping list. (Considering that I have a huge tendency to forget things ALL the time, this is a massive plus for me.)
What I kind of am hooked on is that I can spread out my household spending between Subscribe and Save, Prime Pantry and the grocery store. Where as of this time last year I was probably spending upwards of $200 a week on everything I needed. Now I’m spending about $150 a week (ish) on MORE products.
Do I think it’s an exclusive solution? No, definitely not. As an addition to a kind of “shopping regimine”, I really like it.
I am not 100% sold on the extra $5.99 S/H BUT even taking that into acct..
1. Most generics are crap and no way to shop unless you are needed to save every penny and more than likely your are too worried about quality or ingredients lists in the least. (blog point is mostly moot)
2. MUST factor in time and gas saved! (blog should have added this into the numbers; (my time is VALUABLE)
3. People need to plan ahead; at most my time from checkout to door is 3 days. Shopping “at once” is a sure way to over-buy. (blog point is moot)
4. You shouldn’t buy bread or fresh items online! (blog point is moot)
5. Olive oil missing? OK, not yet in their panty list but plenty in the subscribe & save (better option for most items listed in my opinion)
I ran your sample list vs my avg store vs my real world panty experience. I removed the oil and bread as the best comparison. NOT counting time & gas used Peapod was only a $5.70 savings. Shoprite (which is a discount store, or a retailers’ cooperative….not an avg grocery) was a $15 savings, which for the most part is generic and/or off-brand items. Savings LOST with time & gas factored in.
People need to see/understand the ENTIRE picture; know HOW to shop, know/understand brands and ingredients (the cost alone is NOT always key for most) and they also need to learn how to take advantage of online shopping. Instant gratification is a DOWNFALL. Plan your needs, meal… make a list, shop in advance.
Most generics are made with the exact same ingredients as the name brand products (many of them are even manufactured at the exact same factory as well). There are a few store brand that aren’t great, but most of the time generics are the same as the name brand just in a different package.
Using Amazon Visa gives 3% back on purchases on Amazon.com as well.
I was thinking about using it for household goods only.. I would still do my usual grocery shopping at the store and just order toilet paper, paper towels, laundry stuff, dish soaps, ect through amazon prime. But now that I’ve read this, I am second guessing my decision. Hmm maybe making an extra stop isn’t so bad when you think of the cost of membership, plus extra shipping, wait time, and prices… Thanks for the article, you did my research for me!
I should say, I wish it has compared name brand to name brand. I am a self admitted label snob and I wouldn’t buy generic anyway, so it would have been nice to see what the name brand cost on Peapod and ShopRite.
I live 25 miles from the closest grocery store. It is about 50 miles round trip. It takes about 3 gallons of gas for one shopping trip.. I have no problem paying $5.99 for shipping.. I am not too crazy about Prime Pantry’s prices, (even with coupons) they are about the same price as the suggested retail on most items. I think the prices are fair, but your not going to find any of the GREAT deals the local store offers. Today, I went to the store picked up a few items.. stood in line 25 minutes to check out, and fought traffic another 25 minutes.. That would be awesome if I can avoid that. I’m still going to need produce, meat, and dairy. So either way I will have to make a trip to the local grocery store. Even with Subscribe and Save, its difficult for me to time things out to where I will need a product. If my wife runs out of shampoo that’s a crisis… And waiting 3 business days for products to arrive is not an option,… Subscribe and Save is too much unpredictable. Sometimes I get something on the 15th of the month, sometimes its as late as the 25th.. I also don’t keep a lot of money in my checking account, and its too hard to predict when Amazon will zap my account for the Subscribe and Save items..
Also I should mention on Subscribe and Save.. Every item I buy shows up as a separate transaction on my bank account. If I buy 10 items on Subscribe and Save, I have 10 transactions on my bank statement. that may not be a problem for some people.. But if you forget to put money in your account, that could be 10 overdrafts, and $350.00 in overdraft fees..
First time using Prime Pantry. I am very satisfied. I have 2 preschool-aged children, so needed a lot of juice, snacks, fruit snacks, cereal, breakfast-to-go bars, and popcorn. I also hate going to the store and have little time to do so. We usually make a midnight trip to Walmart to avoid the crowds. That being said, Prime Pantry is by no means a complete alternative for the grocery store avoider. But with a little work and a few additions and adjustments, it can be. I order produce online from an organic market the next state over. We get meat, dairy, and bread from Winn Dixie or Sam’s, but that will probably be cut down to dairy since I found a local butcher I want to try, and I’m going to start making my own bread. We are lactose intolerant, so we don’t use dairy too often, and I make my own soaps, lotions, and shampoos. Anyway, for what we ordered for our first Pantry fill, we saved about $35 from my estimations. Not including gas or the prime or pantry box fee. My Prime membership is the discounted student price, and it has more than paid for itself. I’m forgetful, so I appreciate being able to ship things the little things I forget at no additional charge. The coupons that were applied paid for the Pantry box fee. the box did arrive a day later than I expected, but still within the estimated shipping range. Items not found in the Pantry can usually be found in the regular Amazon listings under Prime shipping, so all things consider I will be using Amazon Prime Pantry again.
Also, this is the only grocery delivery service available for my area.
Not sure I’d put “Nothing Fresh” as a con. Not sure I would want to purchase fruits and vegetables, and meats with a grocery delivery service. You need a personal touch. Will they choose rotten bananas, bread will holes in them, or a steak that’s too thick or thin?
Donna W. says
I just started using Prime Pantry and I’m loving it. I live 25 miles from a town with the big grocery stores and I don’t drive anyhow. So I can’t follow all the sales at Target, Price Chopper, etc. I already had Amazon Prime. So the cost of that doesn’t enter in.
For me, Pantry works! I’m sure the selection is greater than when you did this article, too.
Mara Sweet says
Sounds like Prime Pantry is perfect for someone in your circumstances! I think those of us who live in metropolitan areas forget that not everyone has the same conveniences.
I have arthritis flair ups which makes a trip to the store unbearable. Prime Pantry and Amazon Prime in general is a lifesaver. Some items I buy outright from other merchants if I can’t find what I want on amazon at a much cheaper price in the quantity I want such as Jolly Time Popcorn, and Cranberry Juice. Otherwise, I recommend Prime Pantry and Amazon Prime for its convenience.
With Amazon you get the most out of it by layering their products. I’ve never been particularly loyal to one store/service but Amazon is an exception for me.
I originally got Prime because it was a 2-in-1 deal for me: Prime Video is my TV, and I love the free 2-day shipping. I then got their credit card for the 3% points back I get for all the crap I buy from them (since that $99 yearly subscription only pays for itself after you make a certain number of free-shipping purchases). And now I’m trying Pantry because when you check out on a Prime account, you can trade in your 2-day shipping for regular shipping and get a $5.99 credit at Pantry. Hmm, I wonder how they came up with that number.
I’ve filled up a cart, but being the cheap-o that I am, I am still planning to compare the items in my Pantry cart to their equivalents in the store before I check out. And I’m probably only going to use Pantry when I can get that checkout credit.
But I think it will definitely be worth it. I go to a sort of expensive grocery store because they have the best selection of organic produce, so unfortunately all of their toilet paper and bleach and stuff like that is marked up too. So buying some of that online will offset my costs without me having to go to multiple stores (and waste more gas and $$).
As for waiting several day for the purchases to arrive, I think Pantry should be viewed as a way to stock up in bulk ahead of time, especially since you have to pay the $5.99 regardless of how full your box is.
And I also agree that buying produce online is a bad idea anyway. I need to see what it looks like (and probably poke it too) before I buy it.
On thing I would watch out for is the sales tax. I don’t know how it works in different states, but in Ohio on your state taxes you are asked to look through your online purchases that year and pay sales tax on the ones where it was not automatically taken out. Amazon sometimes takes out the sales tax and sometimes doesn’t. I haven’t checked out yet with Pantry so I don’t know if the tax will be taken, but if not, then that could be a pretty unpleasant surprise at tax time if you are not budgeting for it.
Mara Sweet says
Good point re: the sales tax. I haven’t ordered from Pantry, but I am very curious how much it takes to fill up a box. I go to Costco on a regular basis, so I don’t ever see myself using Pantry, but it sounds like it could definitely save you money. I personally much prefer the video credits for choosing regular shipping!
Alice K. Merwin says
I ORDERED FROM PANTRY FOR THE FIRST TIME. I THOUGHT I WOULD GET $6 off my many items. I did not see it at checkout. Also delivery charge was over $11. Surprise to me as well!