Amazon Fresh vs Instacart

Amazon Fresh Versus Instacart

It’s safe to say that many people are trying to avoid the grocery stores these days. Whether it’s because life is busy and grocery shopping is a dreaded chore, or you’re just trying to practice the “safer at home” philosophy as much as possible, shopping apps have become a lifesaver for many households.

Shopping apps and grocery delivery services aren’t all created equal. When it comes to choosing between Amazon Fresh vs Instacart, there are many similarities but also key differences to consider. Here, we’re taking a look at each and break down their high points and weak spots.

Table of Contents

Amazon Fresh

amazon fresh box







How They Work

With Amazon Fresh Vs Instacart, the core premise is the same – you order groceries online or through an app and have them delivered to your door. However, the exact process of how this works is different with each.

With Amazon Fresh, you choose groceries, pantry items, and household staples from a specially designed platform. Amazon Fresh features a mixture of their own product line and products from other companies, making it easy to find your tried and true favorites. Unlike other grocery delivery services, you don’t get to choose from several local stores to shop from.

Using the Amazon Fresh site or the app, you place items in your cart, choose a delivery time, and pay. Your order will arrive within 2 hours of the time you have chosen.

Instacart works a little differently in that they will shop different stores in your local area. This offers more selection, but the options are limited to the stores that are available in your area and willing to work with Instacart.

To use Instacart, you simply place an order using their App. Membership isn’t required but you’ll end up saving money with their Instacart Express program if you shop with them frequently. After you place your order, you pick a delivery time and wait for your order to arrive. If there is an issue while shopping for your order, the Instacart shopper will contact you.

Selection of Grocery Items

amazon fresh selection

There is some difference in the selection of grocery items between Amazon Fresh and Instacart. With Amazon Fresh, you’re limited to what they offer through their site but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re limited on choices.

With Amazon Fresh, you can select items from over a dozen different categories. This includes fresh foods, like produce, meat, and dairy. You’ll also find a category of “Fresh Deals” which is a direct link to featured products that Amazon is offering coupons or deals on.

From a selection perspective, Amazon Fresh has the bases covered. You’d be hard-pressed to come up with a basic grocery store item that wasn’t in their store. They offer products from their own line, as well as popular brands – including lots of organic options in the mix. They also offer the 365 brand from Whole Foods.

With Instacart, the only limitations on product offerings depend on which stores are available in your area that partner with the company. Instacart shops at almost all stores, except for Trader Joe’s, and they’ll even shop at Costco. This is a plus if you want specialty ingredients that only come from one store, or you have a grocery store that you love to shop at based on their quality.

Customer Service

As is the case with most things in life, there’s always the possibility that something will go wrong when you order from a grocery delivery service. If something doesn’t go as planned, you want customer service you can count on to remedy the situation.

With Amazon Fresh, you have access to Amazon’s customer service department, which is considered fairly reliable based on customer reviews. The issues that seem to occur with Amazon Fresh more involve delivery staff, such as poor product selections, delivering to the wrong door, or leaving purchases too far from the actual door.

If you’re looking at reviews, you’ll see that Instacart doesn’t get the highest marks in customer service. Customers report a range of issues, spanning from wrong product selections, lack of communication, and rude delivery people to carelessness with purchases.

Delivery Time

Amazon Delivery

Both Instacart and Amazon Fresh claim they offer same-day delivery but do they follow through? When ordering from Amazon Fresh, you have to place your order very early in the day for a shot at same-day delivery. If you place an order at 11 am for dinner that night, chances are it won’t arrive until the next day.

Amazon Fresh does ask you to choose a delivery time that allows them a two-hour window. You’ll want to make sure that you’re available during that entire window, unless you choose contactless delivery and don’t mind if your groceries sit outside.

Your chances of same-day delivery are much greater with Instacart. Like Amazon Fresh, you also get to choose a time window, however, Instacart seems to be better at delivering at your chosen time, without such a large window


When you’re having groceries delivered regularly, cost is a factor worth considering. An annual fee program might be costly but the fees for individual orders without a membership can quickly add up if you’re ordering from a grocery delivery service regularly.

The nice thing about Amazon Fresh is that it’s available to Amazon Prime members for no additional charge. In the early days, Amazon charged just under $15 a month to add Fresh to your subscription services. To remain competitive, they’ve eliminated the fee and offered the service to existing Prime Members.

Prime members who can take advantage of Amazon Fresh, get free local shipping if they meet a delivery threshold of $35. In some areas, that threshold is $50, so you’ll want to check your specific area to make sure.

Grocery costs from Amazon Fresh are comparable to what you’d pay in a grocery store, with some items costing a little more and others costing a little less.

With Instacart, you don’t need a membership or subscription to use their app but if you’re a frequent Instacart shopper, signing up for the Instacart Express program is a smart move.

Without an Instacart Express membership, delivery fees start at $3.99 per order but can change based on the size of your order and delivery time. Fees are higher for large orders and those that request a peak delivery slot.
Instacart Express members always receive free delivery on any order that crosses the $35 threshold. An Instacart Express membership is $99 per year, or $9.99/month if you choose a monthly payment option.
Pricing can be a little unpredictable with Instacart because each store sets their own prices on the Instacart platform. While many stores charge their in-store prices, some do add a bit of a mark-up. Other retailers might add a flat percentage rate charge to accommodate the fees they pay to Instacart.



First, let’s start by saying that when comparing Instacart Vs Amazon Fresh, that it’s incredibly hard to pick a winner. Both have their strong points that leave them running neck in neck. Instacart squeaks out ahead based simply on the fact that they serve a more expansive area and that you can usually receive your orders the same day.

Just because Instacart is going to be a better choice for some, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for everyone. Consider this before placing your next order for grocery delivery.

Choose Instacart if you:

  • You live in an area not serviced by Amazon Fresh 
  • You need grocery delivery the same day
  • You’re able to stay in contact with your shopper to answer questions about product selection
  • You have a good variety of stores in your local area that partner with Instacart
  • You’re ok with the small markup some grocery retailers place on products

Choose Amazon Fresh if you:

  • You live in a major metropolitan area that’s serviced by Amazon Fresh
  • You have an Amazon Prime membership or are interested in subscribing 
  • You are familiar with Whole Foods and enjoy their 365 brand product selections
  • You don’t mind placing your order a day or two ahead of when you’ll need it
  • Prefer consistent pricing with no surprise markups

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