Amazon Will Soon Charge Prime Members For Some Grocery Deliveries

For many, shopping for ingredients is a big part of the thrill of preparing our favorite dishes at home. Whether meandering through a farmers market, strolling the aisles of a specialty food shop, or making a quick run to the nearest grocery store for the basics, gathering the ingredients for the recipes we love can be almost as fun as the cooking process itself. This can be because many shoppers have strong loyalties to a particular store like New York-born Wegmans, perennially snack-foods-packed Trader Joe's, or pricey-but-indulgent Whole Foods

But the "supermarket" favored by many Americans, according to a nationwide survey conducted by data service agency Dunnhumby, is the online retail giant Amazon. Results of the agency's annual retailer preference indexes show that in 2021 and 2022, grocery shoppers ranked the "store" #1 based on quality, convenience, and affordability. So maybe the ability to smell the cantaloupes or check the steaks for marbling isn't so important to some consumers after all.  

The question of convenience and affordability is about to get a bit more complicated, however, as the retailer announced last week that free delivery for Prime grocery orders worth more than $35 is about to go the way of the Dodo.

To get free delivery, Prime members will have to shell out $150 or more

If you're an Amazon Prime member who likes to order groceries from the Amazon Fresh section, you know that currently, all grocery orders above $35 (or $50 in New York) ship for free. But according to the Associated Press (AP), that flat rate will disappear on February 28. The outlet writes that last Friday, Amazon sent out an email to Prime members announcing the changes, which will only offer free shipping on orders of $150 or more. The Amazon email noted that orders of $50 or under will ship for $9.95, orders between $50 and $100 for $6.95, and orders between $100 and $150 for $3.95.

The AP explains that the increased delivery fees come as the online giant seeks to cut costs in a number of ways, including a freeze on hiring corporate employees as well as plans to lay off 18,000 workers.

"We will continue to offer convenient two-hour delivery windows for all orders, and customers in some areas will be able to select a longer, six-hour delivery window for a reduced fee," Amazon wrote in the email to Prime members. While it's perhaps small solace for those unprepared to pay significantly more on shipping, even the retail giant is not safe from the need to belt-tighten.