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Thrive Market is an online grocery store that sells organic foods at wholesale prices – here’s what it’s like to use

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Thrive Market

Thrive Market is an online grocery store that curates the best organic, non-GMO groceries, beauty, and cleaning supplies.Its prices are 25% to 50% off regular retail prices, though you have to pay a membership fee ($60/year or $10/month).I saved more than $100 on my first order at Thrive Market than if I were to shop at a regular grocery store.Membership (Monthly) (small)Table of Contents: Masthead StickyRelated Article Module: The 5 best places to buy groceries online in 2021

When I first tried Thrive Market, I was just coming out of essentially a reverse-cleanse: a 12-pack of macaroni and cheese that I bought at a "great deal" discount on Amazon groceries. A couple of months of eating that and an unrelated health scare, and I was ready to commit to a complete pantry overhaul. That's when I started shopping at Thrive Market.

What is Thrive Market?

Thrive Market bills itself as "wholesome food at wholesale prices." It's an online wholesale grocery store that curates the best organic, non-GMO products at a discounted rate of 25% to 50% off retail prices to its members.

You have two membership options. The annual membership costs $59.95 (or $5/month) and is billed once yearly. If you opt to do a monthly membership instead, you'll pay $9.95 per month.

You'll get free shipping on your first order over $25, plus all orders $49 or more. Thrive Market currently ships to all contiguous US states.

How it works:Sign up for free: You can browse the catalog, see member saving, and receive 25% off your first purchase.Start a free 30-day trial: You can start a free 30-day membership trial with your first purchase on Thrive Market. Cancel anytime.Join as a member: After your trial, you can sign up for a paid membership. If you do, you're also sponsoring a free membership for a low-income family.

You can shop Thrive Market category, by values (ie. gluten-free, paleo, raw, vegan, etc.), or by current deals.

What can you buy at Thrive Market?

Thrive Market carries 6,000+ healthy products, and you can shop hundreds of categories. You'll find food, beauty, bath and body, health, babies and kids, home, pet supplies, and the all-inclusive "other" from brands like Burt's Bees, Acure, Annie's, Seventh Generation, KIND, Bragg, Califa, Milkadamia, and Primal Kitchen.

While you can buy staples like meats and seafood, the rest of Thrive Market's selection is mostly shelf-stable options. For produce, you'll probably still want to stop at your neighborhood store, farmers' market, or another grocery delivery option.

In addition to offering thousands of organic brands you could find at your local grocery store and online, they also have an in-house Thrive Market brand that packages organic products (the equivalent of your supermarket chain's generic brand).

Thrive Market
Thrive Market's $60/year or $10/month membership gets you access to savings on healthy foods.

If you spend a lot of time researching healthy foods, have a dedicated diet or food restrictions, or consistently buy organic or non-GMO foods online, you'll likely get the most value with Thrive Market.

Quality is a concern with organic substitutes, and it's helpful to have customer ratings to simplify things as you go on Thrive Market. The healthy eating community is an intense one, so it's nice that Thrive Market makes use of all that helpful, accumulative passion in a way that I, a newcomer, can utilize too.

The 25% to 50% price difference also could help to close the gap between the sometimes inflated "organic" prices at some grocery stores, making Thrive Market a viable choice for the average person on a budget.

If ordering food online seems risky to you, it's good to note that you'll be protected by a return policy. If anything is wrong with your groceries or your order, though, let them know here within 21 days.

When we price checked some of the items, Thrive Market was not always cheaper, but when it was, it usually offered a large enough gap in savings to be substantial overall. You could save more by buying local, though your selection may not be as wide or the process as convenient.

And if you're concerned about getting value out of your membership, Thrive Market guarantees their annual membership will pay for itself. If your membership fee was $60, but you only saved $40 in a year, they will automatically give you the difference ($20) in Thrive Market credit after you renew.

Review of Thrive Market
Thrive Market
Thrive Market stocks popular brands like Annie's and Simple Mills, and has its own in-house Thrive Market brand too.

I ordered my groceries from Thrive Market in pursuit of a pantry not entirely reliant upon mac and cheese. In my first Thrive order, the total was $99.16 and the savings listed were $145.33.

The savings claims held up, and I technically paid off the $60 annual membership fee in my first order. The food was delicious, and I discovered new better-for-you snacks. I also found Thrive to be surprisingly cheaper for some of my favorite skincare products, like this Aztec Clay Mask.

Thrive Market carries ethically sourced meat and seafood in large bulk "box" options, but the options are slightly more limited than the average meat and seafood counter at a grocery store. I also don't have space in my freezer or fridge to handle $100+ worth of meat, but if you do, it could be another great place to see your savings.

My colleague, Owen Burke, a lifelong fisherman with a background in commercial fishing and tending oyster bars, tried out Thrive's bevy of seafood on offer, and had this to say:

"I tried Thrive Market's Deluxe Seafood box, which runs you about $170. This is not something you'll want to buy unless you have a solid shelf of freezer space to spare, but I'll commend Thrive and call this nothing short of a feat on their part. You're getting six different species of seafood, and everything I received was wild-caught, and not in some far-flung waters using questionable methods and labor practices, something with which the industry is rife. These might not be the absolute best practices for every product, but Thrive is going leaps and bounds above your run-of-the-mill grocery store.

My favorite was the shrimp. They were superbly packed, vacuum-sealed, and packaged, which is among the most important things to do with any seafood. Mess that part up in any way (which, admittedly, is an easy thing to do), and you're fighting a losing game against oxidation and freezer burn. These shrimp still looked fresh after I thawed them and pulled them out of the packaging. They were beautifully peeled and deveined, and they had no hint of off-flavor that you sometimes get when shrimp (especially frozen shrimp) aren't handled all that well. I give them an A+ here.

The sockeye salmon was also vacuum-sealed well, and while I always appreciate skin-on salmon fillets, they often come at the cost of turned (brown) blood meat, which imparts that"fishy" flavor associated with frozen fish. This is per usual, though, when it comes to frozen salmon, but I recommend eating around it, if not to avoid the taste then to avoid the toxins blood meat bears. You'll also get four to five fillets, which means four to five servings (about six ounces a pop).

The lobster tails are very nicely processed, deveined, and split so you can pop them right in the oven or on the grill. They're not vacuum-sealed, but loose on a tray covered in plastic, which lends them to some freezer burn and ice buildup, but that really doesn't create the problem for lobster as it does for fish, due to the tough quality of the meat.

The scallops I received provided two servings, and while they weren't vacuum-sealed as I would have liked, they were plenty tasty. Just note that these are not your jumbo-sized U10 (under 10/pound) scallops, but they were tasty and clean (free of residual sand and mud). You can find better scallops out there, but for what you're getting for the price of this box, I'd file no complaints.

It varies depending on what you get, but in all, you're looking at 10-15 meals of fresh-frozen (that's fish that was frozen fresh, as soon as it was processed) wild-caught protein of high quality. That's something like $11-$17 dollars a dish, which is about as good as you're going to do with high-quality fresh seafood unless you've got friends at the fishing docks."

The bottom line

Thrive Market
Thrive Market carries meat and fish to be ordered in bulk, but it isn't likely to be the average person's main source of meats.

I wish it was possible to find everything here (fresh fruit, more options for meat), but ultimately the discounts and the easy delivery make using Thrive worth it. And I wish it was free shipping always instead of just orders of $49 and up, but I typically clear that just by restocking my favorite basics. All in all, I liked using Thrive Market regularly for healthy snacks, healthy-but-fast foods, and kitchen basics like pasta sauce and olive oil.

If you need an added incentive, Thrive Market also has a program called "Thrive Gives" which gifts a free membership to someone in need through Feeding America and the Boys and Girls Club or directly through the site for every paid membership. The free membership also includes teachers, veterans, and first responders.

Start a free 30-day trial to Thrive MarketMembership (Monthly) (small)Read the original article on Business Insider

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