Anyone else been seeing ads/sponsored posts about Thrive Market being an online health food store for “25-50% off retail,” all over their news feeds? It’s shown up in practically every article Dr. Mark Hyman posts now, and they have celebrity trainers like Jillian Michaels talking about how affordable it is. Of course I was intrigued—what healthy-eating, small-budget mama wouldn’t!?
Well, it’s not exactly what they want you to believe…
As I learned with Fresh Direct, these online stores make it SEEM cheaper because they often supply SMALLER versions of the product. And since you’re not seeing the item in person, you’re much more susceptible to buy based on the seemingly lower price.
A Serving Size is 1 oz.
Thrive Market has Food Should Taste Good sweet potato chips for $2.65….but it’s in a 5.5 oz bag. A standard size bag of chips is typically 11 oz; and a family size bag is typically 20 oz. If online shopping is your jam, you could buy a 24 oz bag of the same chip for $11.35 on Amazon, save 20 cents, and have it last longer than 2 days. Skinny Pop in a 4 oz bag, anyone? Nope, because there are 3 boys in my family and that whole bag would be gone in 2 seconds.
Then they have KIND bars for $1 more than what I pay and yet they claim it’s a huge discount because—apparently—12 bars is otherwise sold for $23.88! What?! Where? Who is paying that exorbitant amount for KIND bars?! (If it’s you, please email me, we NEED to talk about easy ways you can start saving money!) They’re $14.22 on Amazon and $14.99 at my local Wegman’s; that is, when the Fruit & Nut variety are not on sale for $12. Additionally, an individual lemon zest Luna Bar at Wegman’s is 99 cents, and Thrive Market is selling a box of 12 for $17.45!
There are Some Discounts
Before it sounds like I’m completely slamming Thrive Market, I do want to clarify that there are several “real size” items available, and they are discounted. I would say the real average savings though is more like 15%—which is great, but a far cry from 25-50%. For example, Glutino Crackers (not a health food, by the way) are $3.75 at Thrive Market which makes them the cheapest I’ve ever seen. They’re typically sold for $4.69 though—a 20% discount. I still love this discount, but this is certainly not the 28% discount Thrive Market would have you believe based on a $5.19 comparison. It kinda feels like Thrive based those comparable prices to the snack bars at an airport or hotel lobby, where they unashamedly double the price because they know you have no other choice whatsoever.
Just Make Healthy Food Convenient!
I feel like I’m qualified to compare prices on this “discounted healthy wholesome snacks” site because I live in a very wealthy area where we get to enjoy inflated prices. In fact, Chester County was named the richest county in Pennsylvania with a median income of $86,050 and 13% make $200,000 or more—so yeah, I’d say our grocery stores take advantage of that! Believe me, I know (and I scream) at how very expensive it can be to eat clean, healthy, and organic. This is why I get so angry at these new online health food markets that seem to be popping up. I LOVE that they want to make healthy foods available by shipment no matter where you live, but let’s call it what it is, and not claim to be some amazing discount shop.
Additionally, these are all packaged and processed foods. Now they promote the site as being a snack food site; but there’s not one non-processed item to be seen, so is it really all that convenient to order online versus going to the store you have to visit anyway to get your real food? Don’t get me wrong, I believe our quick-paced lifestyle requires a bit of minimally processed foods; but there are still a whole bunch of junk foods on this site that incorrectly parade themselves as healthy, such as Glutino, Annie’s Homegrown, Back to Nature, Kashi, and Truvia.
I think with the intermix of discounted and non-discounted items and the smaller product sizes, your final bill will net out to be the same price you would pay at Whole Foods or your local grocery store. If you’re only saving cents to a dollar compared to your local supermarket, is it really worth the extra membership fee and a shipping fee*? Maybe you should spend that “membership” on a CSA instead.
Like Fresh Direct, this service is for convenience, not for amazing discounts. Awesome if you don’t have time to go to the store or you can’t find a product you love near you; but don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re saving a ton of money.
Just my two cents.
Have you tried Thrive Market?
*free shipping if order is over $49