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April 03, 2017

Amazon Fresh grocery service really delivers during pregnancy

Mindful Mondays Groceries
04032017_Amazon_Fresh_Amazon Source/

Amazon Prime members pay $14.95 monthly for Amazon Fresh. From apples to zucchini, the service delivers fresh groceries to your door.

Last week, my husband and I moved to a new apartment in Center City Philadelphia. Luckily, we had a ton of help from family, but still it left us completely exhausted since we both work full-time and only took one day off for the actual move.

We also vowed the week before our move not to bring any more groceries into the house because it would be less to transport or spoil.

The fact that I am pregnant and can’t really carry anything too heavy left my husband doing double the heavy lifting, so I could see the relief on his face when I told him (over bagels for dinner) the first night in our new apartment, that I thought there was no better time to try the Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service.

Amazon Fresh had made the news that day with the announcement that they will build brick-and-mortar stores to serve as pickup locations for online orders.

But that wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I wanted the door-to-door service that Amazon Fresh provides to customers. So I signed on to my Amazon account and signed up for my free 30-day trial. (Amazon Fresh costs $14.99/month after the first month and is available to Amazon Prime members. Prime costs $99/year and guarantees free 2-day shipping on most everything and includes TV and music streaming services.)

The first step of the process is to determine your delivery window. There are several options, which makes it convenient to most schedules. The delivery window is narrow (1 hour) so you don’t feel like you are chained to your house for half the day waiting for delivery. I chose next day 7 to 8 a.m., hoping to receive my delivery before I had to leave for work.

Next, you choose whether you would like them to simply drop the bags at your door (not available at every location) or have a delivery driver hand off the bags to you at your front door. I chose the latter as the drop service wasn’t available at my location.

Then it is on to the shopping. I must say, it is very nice to grocery shop from the comfort of your own home. Plus you can check to see if you are out of anything, a luxury you don’t have in the actual grocery store. I placed the entire order from my phone, which was pretty cool because it felt like I was using a remote to order my groceries.

They break the products down into categories for ease of use (shop by aisle, local market, past purchases, etc.) The first category that I clicked on was “Fresh Deals,” which are essentially the sales and feature deals like, “3 lbs of clementines for $0.25." I also received $2 when I bought 2 Aqua Star products, shrimp cocktail and coconut shrimp, and 25 percent off cut pineapple and peppers (whole bell peppers were out of stock).

I continued on to the “Shop by Aisle,” category so I could keep some type of system going so as not to forget anything major. I think the first time using this may be the most time-consuming because this first list will be the baseline for future ordering. (Amazon saves past purchases so you can start from there and make edits according to your weekly needs).

I went through each aisle and tried my best to get what I needed. Pricing is pretty comparable for most things, the only difference is that Amazon doesn’t have its own brand (like 365 at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s in-house products) so everything you buy is name brand – and therefore a little bit more expensive. Also, some items like nuts and specialty paleo breads and wraps that we like were inexplicably expensive, so I skipped them completely. And certain things were out of stock or not available in my delivery window, but I simply chose a replacement option in that case.

Christie Mandia/For PhillyVoice

Pricing is pretty comparable for most things, but Amazon doesn’t have its own brand (like 365 at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s in-house products) so everything you buy is name brand – and therefore a little bit more expensive.

I hurried to place my order (they hold your delivery window for an hour while you shop) and the total came to $156.32, which is on par with my bigger shopping trips when cupboards are bare. I was excited and eager to see how the rest of the experience would go.

The next morning I patiently waited for my delivery, slated to arrive between 7 and 8 a.m. At 7:11 a.m., just over 16 hours after I placed the order, I heard a knock on the door. Yes! My groceries were here. I was a little bit nervous because I had a meeting at 9:30 and I had to leave at 8:30 to get there on time, so I was really putting my trust in the delivery to be on time. (Amazon rarely disappoints in terms of delivery, so I had faith)

The delivery driver was very gracious. He said, “Good morning ma’am, where can I put these groceries for you?” I asked him to put them right on the kitchen counter and he did, and then told me that I could leave the bags at the front desk of my building and that someone would be back to pick them up.

I started unpacking my goods as soon as he left. There were four bags in total and a case of water. One of the bags contained freezer items and was packed in dry ice for safe transport. Two of the bags, containing produce, meat and cheese were packed with regular ice packs to keep the food at refrigerator temperature. The fourth bag was just snack food that didn’t need to be temperature-controlled.

Everything was there and it felt like I was opening presents because there were some things I'd ordered, and forgot, and was pleasantly surprised to see them.

Overall, the experience was amazing. At least for the time being, while I am pregnant, working, living in the city and without a vehicle, Amazon Fresh is a godsend for me. There will still be trips to my local Trader Joe’s to pick up supplemental items and longtime favorites that are not available online, but I can guarantee you that you won’t see me lugging a case of water or paper towels around anytime soon.

When healthy food is on hand and readily available, it makes it so much easier to eat well and feel better and more confident in your body and health. Because I am expecting, I need to be aware of this now more than ever.

Suffice it to say, Amazon Fresh is in and bagels for dinner are out.

Have you tried Amazon Fresh or any other meal delivery service? If so, I would love to hear about your experience.

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I hope these tips help you as much as they have helped me. I will continue to keep you posted on my health journey. Follow me for updates @christiemandia.

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