Product Reviews

What Is Amazon Pantry? Should You Try It?

Written by Michelle Bryan

The price of buying groceries from home starts with a Prime membership, not to mention delivery fees.

Amazon Prime Pantry grocery food delivery allows you to scroll, rather than stroll through the aisles of brick and mortar stores.

With Prime Pantry membership, you can easily load up on any one of hundreds of nonperishable items, from cereal to soap, that will be delivered to your doorstep. The service eliminates one of the most tiresome responsibilities of adulthood: grocery shopping. But is Prime Pantry worth it? Depends on what type of relief you’re looking for.

According to the USDA, the average family of four spends between $200 and $300 a week on groceries.[1] Will ordering pasta and dish soap from Amazon chip away at that total? Not necessarily. Besides, time and convenience are what you get in exchange.

If you’re already an Amazon Prime member, some items may be worth your time to check out.

How does Amazon Prime Pantry work?

It’s simple, really. From the Amazon website or free mobile app, drop into Prime Pantry and begin filling a virtual box.

As you choose items, Amazon will alert you to how full your box is. The box will hold up to 45 pounds, but you don’t have to fill it. Whether you are shipping two items or 20, the box ships for the same price.

Prime Pantry membership cost breakdown

They call it Prime Pantry for a reason. Amazon’s grocery food delivery service is available only to those who pay for a Prime membership, which costs $99 a year or $12.99 a month.

Once you have that, the Prime Pantry membership cost is an additional $4.99 per month if you want free delivery for orders of $10 or higher. Orders less than $10 come with a $5.99 shipping fee.

If you do not want to pay for the monthly subscription on top of your Prime membership, you can place a single order and pay $5.99 if the order total is below $35. You can get shipping for free if the order is over $35.

Whether you already have a Prime membership or not, you can get a free 30-day trial of Pantry.

After the trial ends, Prime members are automatically charged the recurring $4.99 fee. Avoid the upgrade fee by canceling your free subscription prior to its termination date.

The cost of Prime is probably not worth it if all you’re doing is buying toothpaste and toilet paper. But if you’re already paying for the membership, this is a value-added offering.

Choose at least least 5 qualifying items for the box and the fee is waived. Additionally, Amazon Prime Pantry deals will refresh regularly, offering incentives, coupons, and sales. When I’m loading up and trying to get free shipping, I seek multiples of something small like mints or wipes — cheap stuff you use all the time.

Don’t forget to cut back with some coupons.

Before you shop online, clip digital coupons. Amazon has screens full of them that you can sort by popularity or by category — baking, breakfast foods, etc. $5 off razors, 20 percent off vitamins. Chances are, if you’re seeing it in the Sunday flyers, it’s online too.

Just because you may not save on any particular item doesn’t mean you’re not saving. Ordering online eliminates the impulse buy, and at least one mom I know calculates savings in the double digits for each trip avoided. Plus, you’re saving on gas, too.

How’s the selection?

This is not a bulk-buying-makes-it-cheaper affair. And you can’t purchase your meat or dairy, but Amazon is selling regular-sized goods at more-or-less street prices. Remember, these are nonperishable items. But if you can find it in an aisle at the grocery store, you can find it online. All there.

Replenish your inventory with:

  • Boxed cereal
  • Bottled drinks and soda
  • Coffee
  • Candy
  • Snacks
  • Condiments
  • Paper towels
  • Foil, cling wrap, and sandwich bags
  • Cleaning items
  • Plastic containers
  • Toiletries
  • And more

Amazon does not offer generics, nor is it selling luxury brands. But the standards are here: Nabisco, Heinz, Betty Crocker.

Armed with a standard list that includes Dove Body Wash, Corn Chex, Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts, Head N Shoulders, and the like, I find most prices within pennies, but sometimes cheaper by as much as a quarter to competitor Target Restock.[2] They weren’t much cheaper or more expensive than my corner grocer, either.

Prime Pantry’s pros and cons

One survey clocked the average American grocery store outing at 43 minutes — not including travel time.[3] And the typical family sends someone to the grocery store more than once a week. Imagine the time saved by skipping a couple of aisles entirely.

The downside is immediacy.

Prime Pantry delivers by ground only, which means the standard 2-day shipping is out and the 1- to 4-day wait is in. Deliveries are shipped only within the continental U.S., so you guys in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Canada are out of luck.

Finally, while other Amazon items can ship to a P.O. box or Amazon Lockers, Pantry deliveries go to residential (not including dorm rooms) or business addresses only.

While Prime does not deliver to dorms, you can save on membership if you have a college kid living at home or in a college apartment (remember, students get a discounted Prime membership).

Many people who use this grocery food delivery program leverage the service to deliver supplies to their elderly family members who cannot drive or have trouble getting around.

If you’re looking for a grocery delivery service from a tried and true delivery organization, why not give Prime Pantry a try?


About the author

Michelle Bryan