Thrive Market Review: Can This Online Grocery Store Really Save You Money?

Better-for-you ingredients shipped directly to your door—at a discount? We tested Thrive Market to see if this online grocery shopping service is too good to be true. 

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Not too long ago, the idea of doing all your grocery shopping online seemed almost too good to be true. Now, that dream has become a reality. You can order almost anything from the comfort of your couch for delivery straight to your door. Thrive Market is one such company, offering nothing but clean, all-natural groceries at discounted prices. I spent hours combing their website to see if their advertised savings are as significant as the company claims. Then, I placed an order of my own to conduct my Thrive Market reviews to see if they could change the way I buy groceries.

What is Thrive Market?

Think of Thrive Market as a mix of Whole Foods, Costco and your favorite online grocery store. For a $12 monthly subscription fee (or $59.99 if billed annually), you can shop thousands of grocery, cleaning and personal care items that are natural, non-GMO and sustainable. They also carry a wide range of products that accommodate dietary preferences like gluten-free, vegan and paleo.

Thrive Market has an extensive list of over 500 “never ingredients” you won’t find in a single product they sell, including high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and bleached flours. Though not every product they sell is organic, Thrive Market carries over 2,000 certified organic items, which isn’t too shabby. In addition to dry goods, Thrive Market also sells frozen foods, including flash-frozen meat and seafood. They don’t offer refrigerated goods like eggs, produce or dairy. (For produce, we’re big fans of Misfits Market.)

Their Mission

Besides giving everyone in the lower 48 states ready and easy access to healthy foods, Thrive Market’s greater mission includes ending food inequality. The company regularly partners with small food equity organizations like Foodcorps and FoodCycle LA and has set a goal of providing at least $20 million of healthy groceries to people in need by 2030. Additionally, every annual membership sponsors a free membership for families that could use a bit of help.

Thrive Market prides itself on sustainability, boasting they’re the only grocery store that’s climate-positive. The company is already carbon-neutral, with goals to become carbon-negative by 2025. All of Thrive Market’s warehouses recycle or repurpose at least 90% of the materials used. Plus, all packaging is 100% recyclable or compostable. Whew!

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We Tried It

Thrive Market

Thrive Market is an online grocery store where everything is organic or sustainably sourced and curated by experts.

Thrive Market Features

Shopping Thrive Market requires a membership. But if you regularly purchase specialty groceries, the fee will pay for itself in no time. In fact, the company guarantees that if you don’t recoup your annual membership fee in savings each year, they’ll pay you the difference in store credit. Monthly memberships cost $12 and don’t come with the benefit of a free trial period. Thrive Market reviews will tell you that it’s a better decision to spring for the $59.99 annual subscription, which allows you to cancel within 30 days for a full refund.

Shipping

Thrive Market ships anywhere within the lower 48 states. Orders are usually processed within 12 hours once they’re placed and shipped within 24 hours. Pantry items and dry goods usually arrive within 2-4 days after an order is placed, while frozen goods take between 2-3 business days to arrive once shipped. Thrive Market only ships out frozen orders on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays to prevent any shipping delays over the weekend.

For goods you buy regularly, Thrive offers an auto-ship program that can save you an additional 5-10% off their already discounted prices. Autoship orders can be set for every 4, 8 or 12 weeks, and can be canceled, postponed, or rescheduled as needed.

Product Specialist

Every paid membership comes with a free 15-minute phone consultation with a Thrive Market Product Specialist. This feature is especially helpful for people who are starting restrictive diets like keto, or those with specific nutritional/medical needs. During the consultation, the Product Specialist will help you sift through Thrive Market’s inventory to find the best products for your particular needs, and provide tips to help you maximize your membership.

Thrive Cash

In addition to their regularly discounted prices, some items allow you to earn Thrive Cash, which is essentially a cash-back store credit program. Thrive Cash is automatically applied to your next order, as long as it’s within 30 days. The company also offers Thrive Cash as a part of its price-matching program. If you find a product you want at a lower price, you can submit a screenshot or photo of the item along with its advertised discounted price. Once Thrive reviews your photos, it will send you the cost difference in Thrive Cash.

Another benefit to a Thrive Marlet membership is the frequent freebies, which are usually offered every day. Provided you purchase at least $49 worth of groceries, that day’s featured freebie will be automatically added to your cart. Buying at least $49 worth of packaged groceries will also net you free shipping; anything less is subject to a $5.95 shipping fee. There’s a $120 minimum to qualify for free shipping on frozen items; under that, the delivery fee is $19.95

How We Tested It

Grocery in a BoxAllison Robicelli for Taste of Home

Even though I’m a professional food writer and recipe developer, I have a huge soft spot for ready-to-eat foods and meal delivery services. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! Sometimes I’m way too tired to cook (or really do anything at all), and I have no issue boiling up some ramen noodles, tossing frozen snacks into the air fryer or microwaving a vacuum-sealed pouch of saag paneer. Not only that, as a single mom of two teenage boys, I like stocking the house with healthy(ish) foods my kids can eat on nights I’m too busy to cook dinnerparticularly foods they can prepare for themselves without making a mess of the kitchen. Thrive Market reviews will say they’re a great option for ready-to-eat foods.

Ready-to-Eat Foods

But as with most things, you get what you pay for, and the cost of filling a few cabinets with the best ready-to-eat foods adds up quickly. Even when the savings seem slight, they quickly add up to something significant when buying in bulk. Through Thrive Market, I was able to buy several weeks’ worth of all-natural (and delicious!) instant ramen cups, tinned fish, boxed tofu, jarred simmer sauces and more for about $200. Had I bought the same items retail, not only would it have cost me at least 30% more, but I would likely have needed to visit multiple stores to get everything I wanted. Another great thing about Thrive Market is they’re able to store massive amounts of inventory in their warehouses, so items rarely go out of stock.

That said, I wasn’t overly impressed with the savings for items I use in my home pantry. While the company has a price-matching program, searching for lower prices elsewhere is a tedious process that renders the convenience of online grocery shopping nearly irrelevant.

If I lived in a place where the nearest specialty supermarket was hours away, I wouldn’t care much about the overall savingsthe fact that Thrive Market could get healthy, all-natural groceries to my doorstep would be well worth the prices, even if they’re not much different than retail prices. However, I’m a city mouse and can easily pick up natural/organic pantry items, grass-fed meat and sustainable seafood. Ready-to-eat foods, on the other hand, are a different story.

As for my haul, I couldn’t be happier. If I’m too tired to cook anything substantial, there’s something delicious in my pantry that can be ready in minutes. Thrive Market is a fantastic supplement to regular grocery shopping if you stick to sales and shop intelligently.

Pros

  • Makes healthy foods accessible
  • Offers significant savings if you’re a smart shopper
  • Daily freebie offers
  • Flash sales that offer deep discounts
  • Not too difficult to meet the free shipping threshold on non-frozen items
  • Price matching program
  • Thrive Cash rewards program

Cons

  • Not all foods are offered at significant discounts
  • Frozen foods require a $60 minimum; free shipping offered with $120 purchase
  • Price-matching program is tedious to take advantage of

FAQ

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Can I browse Thrive Market without a membership?

To browse Thrive Market, you need to sign up for a membership. According to the company’s website, this is meant to protect the brands they carry, as many do not want their products publicly advertised at deeply discounted prices. Once you sign up, you’ll have full access to Thrive Market’s entire catalog of over 6,000 products. If you decide the prices aren’t low enough for you, you can cancel your subscription within 30 days for a full refund.

How much does a Thrive Market membership cost?

A Thrive Market membership costs $59.95 annually, or you can subscribe on a monthly basis for $12. Annual memberships come with a 30-day cancellation window, while monthly memberships do not.

Final Verdict

After conducting my own and reading many Thrive Market reviews, I can guarantee that this online grocery store is a godsend to anyone in the lower 48 states who doesn’t have easy access to natural groceries. It’s also excellent for people who are on restrictive diets like paleo or keto and who need to shop for a wide variety of specialty products. As for savings, as long as you shop smart, they can be significant, making Thrive Market well worth the cost of membership.

Where to Buy Thrive Market

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We Tried It

Thrive Market

The Thrive Market reviews are in! Get groceries without artificial flavors or synthetic preservatives.

You can sign up for your own membership exclusively on the Thrive Market website. Savings await!

Allison Robicelli
Allison Robicelli is a James Beard-nominated food and recipe writer, humorist, and the author of four (quite good) books. Her writing credits include the Washington Post, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Wine Enthusiast, Eater, Food52, The Takeout, and other major publications. Before becoming a full-time writer, she spent over a decade as a working chef, and was the co-owner of the acclaimed Robicelli's Bakery in Brooklyn. In addition to food and comedy, she also writes about history, parenting, and cannabis. She lives in Baltimore with her two teenage sons and four patient cats.