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Thrive Market Review: Thrive Market’s Products, Prices, Membership Fee & More

Reviewed by Laura Myers, RDN on Aug 24, 2018
Written by Sabrina Wilson
Thrive Market Review

Post Summary

Our Thrive Market review shows that their prices are slightly lower than competitors most of the time and dramatically lower some of the time. Overall, we found that the savings substantially outstripped the $59.95 annual membership fee. See the comparisons in the article to maximize your savings.


Getting the Best Prices on Organic Items

Shopping to get high-quality organic food at a reasonable price isn't easy. One of my personal hacks is to do a lot of comparison shopping for any packaged goods our family eats. Getting fresh, local fruits, vegetables and meats is always the core of a healthy diet. But we use farmer's markets, CSAs and local grocers for that portion. Getting the very best deals involves some time and diligence, so I'll show you how we do that below.

For the packaged goods, I've been testing out a newer website called Thrive Market and comparing it to other online options we utilize. The standard ones we use most frequently are Vitacost and Amazon, so these are the ones we'll compare against Thrive Market.

TEN OF THE BEST ORGANIC PRODUCTS YOU CAN BUY FROM THRIVE MARKET
odptbl-table__imageNature's Path Honey Oat Crunch Granola Bars
  • Certified organic dark chocolate chips with whole grains and gluten-free oats
Check on Thrive
odptbl-table__imagePrimal Kitchen Mayo
  • Made with no junky oils like soy, corn or canola
Check on Thrive
odptbl-table__imageThrive Market Ghee
  • Clarified butter; one of the best-selling items on Thrive Market
Check on Thrive
odptbl-table__imageBob's Red Mill Baking Soda
  • Processed without the use of chemicals
Check on Thrive
odptbl-table__imageLundberg Organic Brown Rice Syrup
  • Lightly sweet, amber-colored and smooth; great alternative for sugar
Check on Thrive
odptbl-table__imageAnnie's Organic Bunny Grahams
  • Made with organic whole grain wheat; non-GMO
Check on Thrive
odptbl-table__imageThrive Market Organic Maple Syrup (Grade A)
  • Straight from wild grown maple trees harvested in the Green Mountain state
Check on Thrive
odptbl-table__imageBig Tree Farms Organic Coconut Sugar
  • One of the lowest glycemic index sweeteners
Check on Thrive
odptbl-table__imageClif Kid Organic Fruit Rope
  • Made with organic fruit pureé concentrate and apple juice concentrate
Check on Thrive
odptbl-table__imageAlive & Radiant Foods Kale Krunch
  • Dairy-free despite the cheese flavor
Check on Thrive

Current Thrive Market Promo:

Get an Extra 25% Off Your First Order

Vitacost has an extensive selection of both food and other household items. We typically only order from them when there is a decent promo of 15%+ off running. Their site and ordering process can be clunky compared to others and you usually have to order quite a bit at once to get free shipping, so we often combine orders with friends or tag along on each other's larger orders. They do have some items that aren't easily found elsewhere and on certain items we use, they reliably have the lowest prices. 

Amazon

Amazon.com

For Amazon, we have a Prime membership, which I highly recommend for many reasons but especially if you shop for groceries online. Without Prime, shipping fees can add up. Also, with Prime, the shipping times are truly blazing fast. They are currently running a special that allows you to try it free for 30 days and I think that's worth doing.

Thrive Market Review

thrivemarket

The new entrant is Thrive Market. Thrive Market is focused on natural and organic groceries and household products, so it's more niche than the other two, but we use a lot of those products in our household. Thrive Market has taken $159 million (!) in venture capital funding, so they are very serious about becoming dominant in their niche. 

Thrive Market's model is a bit different than the other two; it is more like Costco than Wegmans. Here are the pros and cons of using Thrive Market:

Thrive Market benefits:
  • Generally low item prices, sometimes dramatically lower than competitors
  • Decent selection of foods chosen for their healthiness
  • Stocks some otherwise hard-to-find items
  • Free shipping over $49
  • Have their own branded items that can't be found elsewhere
  • For every paid membership, donates a free membership to a family in need
  • Attempting to reduce carbon footprint in their shipping practices
Thrive Market drawbacks:
  • There's a membership fee
  • Shipping isn't free under $49
  • Shipping can be slow
  • The selection is somewhat smaller than other vendors (but appears to be expanding very quickly)

As you can see above, there are definite pros and cons. The fact that shipping isn't free under $49 doesn't bother me because we don't order in small quantities so it never comes into play. In that way, it's similar to how we use Vitacost.

Thrive Market tries to save on shipping both for financial reasons and to be more green by packaging everything into as few boxes as possible. This means there's more variability in the shipping speed. I've gotten orders as quickly as 3 days and as slowly as 2 weeks. So you have to think further ahead when shopping at Thrive Market than Amazon, but the savings to the planet of the reduced packing materials and carbon footprint are no doubt real. It just depends on what you value, and as I said, we make use of all three of these options.

What's with the negative reviews?

One of the reasons it took me a while to try out Thrive Market was that I read online reviews and it appears to be a service you either love or hate.

There are quite a few very negative reviews out there so I spent some time sifting through them. They mostly seem to fall into two camps:

  1. "I didn't know there was a membership fee"
  2. "It's hard to cancel"

Thrive Market runs a lot of promotions, often touting free products. However, their free products come with a trial membership and once it expires they will bill you for the annual fee. This is how almost all subscription services work, going all the way back to the Columbia House Records deals from my youth. I don't actually expect to get anything for free so this isn't a turn off to me, but beware; if you accept their offers they will bill you after the trial period.

The other one is that the membership is hard to cancel. I have started it, canceled it and restarted it without any real issues. Like most subscription products, they try to talk you out of leaving when you express that intent. Again, I expect that so it doesn't offend me to jump through the hoops to leave when that time comes.

Let's Talk about the Membership Fee

The part of the Thrive Market service that will make most people balk is the membership fee as it's a little unusual to pay a fee like that for groceries (unless you use Costco or BJ's). And to be honest, it initially rubbed me the wrong way so it took me a while to give it a try. However, I now think it's one of those things that at the end of the day makes no serious difference. 

The reason I say that is that using Amazon frequently means you'll need to buy