Forty-five percent of consumers say they are using online grocery services more than before the pandemic, according to Supermarket News.
However, despite restrictions being eased, online grocery delivery is likely here to stay.
Instacart is one of the most popular grocery delivery services, but it’s not the only one.
Whether you’re looking for a secondary grocery delivery service because you don’t like the company’s high fees or for any other reason, read on to learn more about the best Instacart competitors and how each of them works.
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What Is Instacart?
Instacart is a grocery shopping app operating in the United States and Canada.
It connects consumers with a personal shopper, who does your grocery shopping for you.
Then, either the same shopper or an Instacart delivery driver brings your groceries straight to your doorstep, in as little as one hour.
Instacart Alternatives: The Best Grocery Delivery Services
While Instacart is great, it’s not for everyone.
Perhaps you’re looking for a store that isn’t currently on Instacart.
Maybe you’re looking for something with low fees or a more intuitive app.
Here are the best delivery service apps in North America.
1. Amazon Fresh
An Overview of Amazon Fresh
Amazon Fresh is an online grocery store operated by Amazon.
You need to be an Amazon Prime member to use Amazon Fresh, but you can use it while on your Amazon Prime free trial.
It is available in over 2,000 cities in the United States, including major ones like New York, and you can get your groceries in as little as one hour.
How Much Does Amazon Fresh Cost?
You’ll need an Amazon Prime membership to be a Fresh shopper, and that will cost you $14.99/month.
Students can get Prime for half of that, and they’ll still be eligible for Amazon Fresh.
One-hour deliveries come with a fee, which varies based on your location.
You can get free shipping on two-hour deliveries if you order at least $50 worth of groceries (it’s $35 in some locations).
When you order from Whole Foods Market on Amazon, all one-hour and two-hour delivery orders will cost $9.95.
On top of that, we also recommend tipping your Amazon Fresh drivers.
Why Is Amazon Fresh an Instacart Competitor?
If you are already an Amazon Prime customer, why not enjoy free two-hour delivery at no extra cost, with excellent customer service?
You can get free two-day delivery on eligible Amazon Prime products and access to other Prime perks at the same time.
Plus, Amazon Fresh has physical locations in some cities, while Instacart does not, making it a good alternative to your local grocery store.
Walmart has been trying to break into the grocery and food delivery market for years, and is now starting to see some success.
It now offers a premium membership, with many benefits to members.
An Overview of Walmart+
Walmart+ is a premium membership for Walmart shoppers.
Using their Spark delivery service, customers can order groceries and other items from Walmart and get them delivered the same day.
Walmart+ members can also use the mobile app to scan products and check out while shopping in Walmart, skipping the checkout counter.
How Much Does Walmart+ Cost?
Walmart+ costs $12.95/month or $98/year.
It comes with some special perks, however, like 5¢ off every gallon of gas at Walmart and Murphy stations.
Why Is Walmart+ an Instacart Competitor?
Unlike Instacart, Walmart+ gives its members free deliveries on all orders, with no order minimum.
However, if your order is less than $35, a small-order service fee of $5.99 will apply.
Furthermore, Walmart+ has a 30-day free trial, which is longer than Instacart’s 14-day trial.
Shipt is perhaps Instacart’s most well-known rival, with good coverage across the United States.
It is primarily a subscription-based service, however.
An Overview of Shipt
Shipt is very similar to Instacart.
You can order groceries from stores like Target, ACME, and Costco.
Same-day delivery is available.
How Much Does Shipt Cost?
Shipt costs $99/year.
Members enjoy free food delivery on orders above $35; all orders below that come with a $7 delivery charge.
You can also purchase a Shipt membership, officially called a “Shipt Pass” (or get a few of them in bulk) to pay for individual Shipt orders.
One Shipt Pass costs $10, but you can get them as low as $8 per Pass if you purchase five at once.
Why Is Shipt an Instacart Competitor?
Shipt is available in over 5,000 cities, and it supports around 130 retailers.
As such, it is the closest competitor to Instacart in terms of coverage.
It has excellent customer service and an intuitive app.
If you live in the Northeast, consider FreshDirect instead of Instacart.
It offers flexible membership options.
An Overview of FreshDirect
FreshDirect started in New York City, but it has since expanded beyond the city to places like New Jersey.
Furthermore, it operates in other metropolises like Philadelphia and Washington D.C.
On FreshDirect, you can buy groceries, produce, and ready-made meals, with food arriving on refrigerated trucks.
Same-day delivery is available.
How Much Does FreshDirect Cost?
You don’t need a membership to shop on FreshDirect, but a delivery fee will apply.
However, you can skip the delivery fee by signing up for a delivery pass, which starts at just $6.50/month.
The midweek delivery pass, which includes free delivery on Tuesday to Thursday only, is cheaper.
Why Is FreshDirect an Instacart Competitor?
FreshDirect uses lean manufacturing to get you your products quickly.
It’s better than Instacart for ready-made meals, and its delivery pass options offer more flexibility than Instacart Express, with a minimum order of only $30.
DoorDash is primarily a restaurant delivery app.
However, you can now order groceries and convenience store items from DoorDash, while benefiting from instant delivery.
An Overview of DoorDash
While DoorDash is often thought of as an alternative to Uber Eats, it’s also a superb alternative to Instacart.
It doesn’t have nearly as many grocery stores as Instacart, but its grocery delivery service is constantly expanding and attracting new shops.
Some grocery and convenience chains that are currently on DoorDash include Target and 7-11, though availability varies based on location.
When you order on DoorDash, you can either have your order fulfilled right away or schedule it in advance.
The grocery may pack your order for the DoorDash driver to pick up, or your “Dasher” might do the shopping themselves.
How Much Does DoorDash Cost?
Fortunately, DoorDash doesn’t charge any membership fees.
However, in addition to the cost of the items and tax, you’ll have to pay a delivery fee, a service fee, a small-order fee (when applicable), and a surge fee (when there is a surge in demand).
DashPass is available in some areas and costs $9.99/month.
For orders over $12, you’ll get free delivery and reduced service fees—that applies to fast food and restaurant orders as well.
Why Is DoorDash an Instacart Competitor?
DashPass might be an attractive alternative to Instacart Express, especially if you’d like to enjoy free delivery on restaurant orders as well.
The fact that the minimum order to qualify for free delivery is only $12 (as opposed to $35) makes up for the smaller selection of grocery stores.
Peapod was founded more than three decades ago as one of the first online grocery delivery services.
However, some big changes are currently underway.
An Overview of Peapod
Peapod was founded in 1989 and launched its website in 1996.
It was one of the earliest internet startups, right at the beginning of the dot com bubble.
While it survived until 2022, it has since shut down operations as a standalone online grocery delivery service, and its website is currently under maintenance.
Peapod is owned by Ahold Delhaize, a company in the Netherlands that also owns Stop & Shop.
Stop & Shop is now integrating Peapod and offering pickup and delivery services through the Stop & Shop mobile app.
How Much Does Peapod Cost?
The Stop & Shop app is free to use.
Orders come with a $9.95 delivery fee, although orders above $100 cost only $6.95.
The minimum order is $60.
A PodPass (now rebranded as a GO Pass) costs $12.95/month or $119/year.
It gives you free delivery on all orders, although orders under $100 come with an added fee.
Why Is Peapod an Instacart Competitor?
Stop & Shop has a wide variety of products, and you can benefit from next-day delivery and pick a delivery time slot from as early as 6 AM until as late as 10 PM.
However, the most attractive aspect of Stop & Shop Delivery is that deliveries are free for the first 60 days!
7. Thrive Market
If you love organic and healthy food, you’ll love Thrive Market.
It’s also optimized for people with specific diets, like vegan or keto.
An Overview of Thrive Market
Thrive Market is an online grocery store focusing on organic and healthy products.
It supports over 70 diet plans, including gluten-free, vegan, paleo, vegetarian, keto, low FODMAP, organic, and many others!
You can filter based on your diet plan.
Thrive Market doesn’t offer same-day delivery, but it delivers to the entire contiguous US (that means that it doesn’t deliver to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, etc.).
How Much Does Thrive Market Cost?
Thrive Market is a membership-based online grocery service.
However, membership costs just $5/month.
Delivery fees vary based on whether you are ordering grocery items, frozen items (which cost more to transport), or wine.
Standard grocery items cost just $5.95 for shipping, but all orders above $49 ship for free.
Frozen products cost $19.95 for shipping; orders above $99 ship free.
Wine costs $13.95 for delivery; orders above $79 ship free.
Why Is Thrive Market an Instacart Competitor?
Thrive Market is perfect if you care about the environment and want to eat healthy or organic.
The membership is cheaper than Instacart Express, although the minimum order to qualify for free delivery is slightly higher.
Thrive Market ships orders within one business day to the entire contiguous US—that means that it delivers to smaller towns where Instacart might not be available.
What Is an Ethical Alternative to Instacart?
Thrive Market is an ethical alternative to Instacart.
For starters, all packaging materials are recyclable.
Thrive Market also uses smart packaging to reduce packaging materials by almost 50%.
It uses carbon-neutral shipping to preserve the environment, and it diverts over 90% of waste away from landfills.
That means that almost all waste is either recycled, composted, or reused.
Finally, you can filter for organic products to do your share of protecting the environment from harmful pesticides.
You can also filter for vegan or vegetarian products if you believe eating meat products is unethical.
How to Choose the Best Grocery Delivery Service for You
First, see which grocery delivery services are available in your area.
Instacart and Shipt likely are, unless you live in a remote area.
DoorDash might be available, but it may only have restaurants where you live.
Next, decide how often you will shop online.
If you will only make online grocery orders once in a while, a subscription-based service like Shipt or Walmart+ might not make sense.
Instead, you can stick to Instacart (without Instacart Express) or DoorDash and pay a delivery fee when you make an order.
How big will your orders be? Different apps have different minimum orders (or minimum orders to qualify for free delivery).
For example, Stop & Shop’s minimum order is $60, which is relatively high.
Finally, what type of products do you need?
If you need to eat ready-made packaged meals, and you live in the Northeast, consider Fresh Direct.
Organic and vegan eaters can consider Thrive Market.
A lot of people use Instacart because they don’t know that other good alternatives exist.
Whether you shop for groceries online twice a week or once a month, there are plenty of options available, regardless of where in the US you live.