amazon fresh vs whole foods

Amazon Fresh Vs Whole Foods – Important Differences

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Grocery shopping has modernized incredibly over the last few years, with you not even needing to leave your house to stock up on a week’s worth of groceries.

Naturally, with the modernization of grocery shopping comes a whole host of different stores, services, and brands to choose from, and it can become overwhelming trying to pick one out.

Two of the most popular are Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods. What are the differences between the two?

While both are huge businesses with a large reach, Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods are fairly different. They provide different target markets, they have varying delivery and collection options, and their fees are different as well.

It is important to note the differences between the two grocery providers, as there will be one that suits your needs best, so read on to find out all you need to know!

Let the Amazon Fresh vs Whole Foods battle begin!

What Is Amazon Fresh?

Amazon Fresh is a subsidiary of Amazon and is Amazon’s answer to online grocery shopping and fast grocery delivery.

With Amazon Fresh, you can conveniently browse groceries online, add what you need to your cart, and have them delivered to your home.

Amazon Fresh is focused on online shopping and quick delivery, but there are also storefronts too, although they are not as common as some other store brands might be. 

There are brick-and-mortar Amazon Fresh stores in Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. You can search your zip code to see whether items are in stock at your closest store.

Amazon Fresh is not focused on one type of grocery or a certain diet, it offers products in general groceries, including food, beverages, baby and pet care, household items, personal care, and seasonal items too.

What Is Whole Foods?

Whole Foods was bought by Amazon in 2017, but the two entities have stayed very separate in terms of their identity and what they specialize in, so it is easy enough to differentiate between Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods.

whole foods market

Whole Foods is one of the biggest organic food stores and holds a huge chunk of the organic foods market. This means that the prices are considerably higher than in regular grocery stores, but the food is organic and generally of a higher quality.

The customers that Whole Foods targets and caters to are those who are health-focused, and who do not mind a higher price tag that ensures a clean-eating diet.

Amazon Fresh Vs Whole Foods – What Are The Differences?

Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods are both grocery stores, but there is quite a bit of difference between them.

Here are the important differences between Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods:

Groceries on Offer

One of the main differences between Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods is that they offer different types of groceries.

Amazon Fresh focuses on everyday grocery items for the everyday household, including pet and baby care, household items, and personal care. These are similar to the selection of items you could find at your average grocery store.

Whole Foods on the other hand provide natural, clean, organic food options, for those who are more health-conscious. These are not necessarily the everyday items that you would find in a grocery store, but rather those that are focused on a specific type of diet and lifestyle.

You might be able to find similar items sold at Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods, but as a whole, the two provide different types of groceries and products.

Target Market

As Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods provide different types of groceries, they have different target markets.

Whole Foods’ target market is more niche than Amazon Fresh. The target market for Whole Foods is those who are health-conscious, who want organic products, who are following a clean-eating diet, and who do not mind spending more on their groceries.

Amazon Fresh provides to the everyday family, who want quality groceries at an affordable price, and who are not necessarily looking to spend more money on organic, clean foods. It is for those who want a convenient, simple grocery service with good products.

Delivery Options

Customers can order both Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods for delivery, and both can actually be ordered off the Amazon app or website, as they are part of the same company, although they are kept separate.

On Amazon Fresh, Prime members get a free two-hour delivery option, on orders over $150, but you need to make sure that you are in an eligible location for this. You can also choose the pickup option if you are in the right location, and this is available free to Prime members with no minimum order amount.

You are able to order delivery online from Whole Foods, and most often, the delivery fee is set at $9.95. This does seem like quite a bit, but members who get free delivery on Amazon Fresh do need to pay a monthly Prime fee.

There is the option for a rush order with Whole Foods, where the food will be delivered in a shorter period of time, but this does come with additional fees.

Both Amazon and Whole Foods provide the following delivery options:

  • Attended Deliveries – Attended deliveries are where you select a time slot in which you or someone will be home to accept the delivery. The delivery driver will bring your order directly to you, ensuring that you can take it in straight away and that the delivery is handed directly to you.
  • Doorstep Deliveries – Another option is doorstep delivery, where you choose a time slot for the delivery, but instead of handing the groceries to you, the driver leaves them at your doorstep or another designated space. This is a good option for those who cannot rush to the door or who are not wanting contact.
  • Pickup Service – A pickup service is for those who do not mind going to the store, but who want their items picked and packed ready for them. This is ideal for when you are on your way home from work, and can’t rely on a time you’d be home for a delivery.

In some areas, you can pick your order up from the store as little as 30 minutes after you have placed your order.

Brick-and-Mortar Stores

Whole Foods has always had numerous brick-and-mortar stores where customers can browse and shop, and the online grocery service only grew from this storefront business. There are over 500 Whole Foods stores in the USA, which means that there is likely one close to most people.

amazon fresh market

Amazon Fresh worked the other way around – it started off as an online grocery service, and the first storefront was only built recently. There are currently only 44 Amazon Fresh stores in the USA and 28 Amazon Go stores. This is a substantially lower number than Whole Foods.

So, while you will be able to find brick-and-mortar stores for Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh, you are much more likely to come across a Whole Foods store first, as there are nearly 10 times as many Whole Foods stores as there are Amazon Fresh.

However, Amazon Fresh storefronts are still fairly new, and there is a good chance they will be expanding in the near future. 


There is quite a substantial difference in pricing between Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods, and this mostly comes down to the type of groceries that either store sells, and the target market they direct their business to.

Amazon Fresh is more of an everyday grocery store, selling basics, essentials, and other common kitchen and household items that you might need. This is similar to the everyday grocery items you’d find at your local store, and it is all priced in line with this as well.

When looking at Whole Foods, the prices are quite a bit higher, and this is because Whole Foods products are clean, organic, and natural, which almost always comes with a higher price tag.

The food items at Whole Foods are sourced from special, organic brands, and due to the way these items are made, grown, or processed, they do cost more. Whole Foods prices its items as such, and its customer base pays these higher prices in order to have access to organic, clean food.

The two types of groceries sold at either store do cause quite a discrepancy in pricing, but there is an overwhelmingly large market for both.

Shopping in-Store at Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods

Whole Foods started as a brick-and-mortar store and offers a very traditional shopping experience when visiting the store. The aisles are packed with organic and natural items, and fresh produce is abundant too. 

As you would in most other stores, you grab a trolley or basket, fill it up, and pay at a self-service kiosk or at a teller. Not much has changed in this regard, even though the online grocery service is becoming more and more popular as people become busier.

Amazon Fresh has an advantage however, as the new stores are being built to a modern standard, which means a shopping experience in-store at Amazon Fresh or Amazon Go is very different from the shopping experience you get at Whole Foods.

Your groceries and household items are still laid out in aisles just like they would be at any grocery store, but the benefits of Amazon can be found throughout the store.

shopping in person

Alexa kiosks are dotted around each store, to make shopping easier. Customers can simply ask Alexa which aisle to find certain grocery items, what is in stock, and more, and Alexa will direct them to the correct area.

On top of this, Alexa can offer advice on food pairings, and food facts, and even give you some dinner ideas when you can’t think of what to cook!

You can even make a shopping list using your own Alexa device at your home, and then continue with this in the store. With the Amazon Dash Cart technology, you can tick off items on your shopping list as you add them to your cart.

It is a very modern and convenient level of service that definitely makes Amazon Fresh stand out, but many people prefer the traditional shopping experience!

How Does Amazon Dash Cart Work?

One of the biggest differences between Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods when shopping in-store is Amazon Dash. As mentioned above, Amazon Dash helps you tick off items from your personal Alexa shopping list as you add things to your cart, but how does this actually work?

Amazon Dash Carts work similarly to a self-service checkout. The carts have sensors and vision algorithms that actually identify items in your cart. The cart has a screen by the handles, which allows you to access your Alexa shopping list.

Using the built-in scanner, you can work through the items on your list and add them to your cart, which in turn will tick the items off of your shopping list.

Once you have finished shopping and found all of the items on your list, you can simply select finished on the Dash Cart, and Amazon will charge the amount directly to the payment method you have on your Amazon account, so you do not have to wait in line or even bother with check out.

This is obviously an incredibly convenient way to shop, and it takes care of the parts of shopping that most people want to avoid.

Which Is Better Priced?

If you are looking at pricing alone, then Amazon Fresh does come off as the better-priced grocery store, and if you are already a Prime member, then delivery should be free most of the time for you.

However, Whole Foods prices are higher for a reason, and for many people, these prices are justified as they come with an organic, clean promise.

The great thing is that you can actually mix up the two without having to order from both shops, as Amazon Fresh stocks 365 by Whole Foods items that you can add to your cart along with other Amazon Fresh groceries, although the selection will obviously be better in an actual Whole Foods store. 

Amazon Fresh Vs Whole Foods – Which Is Better?

Amazon Fresh Vs Whole Foods – there really is no clear winner as it all depends on what you are looking for from a grocery market.

amazon fresh vs whole foods

Amazon Fresh is a wonderfully convenient online and in-store grocery that provides everyday items at a good price, but it is most useful to those who are already Amazon Prime subscribers. There aren’t many Amazon Fresh storefronts, but the delivery makes it worth it.

Whole Foods is a good option if healthy, organic, clean eating is what you are after, and if you do not mind the higher price tag. The stores offer a more traditional shopping experience, but you can also order online, even through Amazon.

Both stores offer great service and products, it will just come down to your preferences!

Related Questions

Is Amazon Fresh the Same as Whole Foods?

Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods are both owned by Amazon, but they are two different companies and focus on different types of groceries.

Is Whole Foods Cheaper Than Amazon Fresh?

While there might be a few products that aren’t, products from Whole Foods tend to be more expensive than those from Amazon Fresh, as Whole Foods focuses on high-quality products.

Is Amazon Fresh Free With Prime?

Amazon Fresh orders are free with Prime, but only on orders over $150. Orders below this will incur a service fee.

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