By Anna Stockwell. Photos courtesy of Thrive Market.
It’s Grocery Month at Epicurious, and we’re thinking about super-fast checkout lines, alternative mylks (not a typo), and the cheapest bottles of olive oil (and wine). Check out the complete series here.
When I was a kid, my mom used to have to drive about 40 minutes to get to the nearest quality health food store. It was always a fun outing for me and my sisters, but it took a lot of time out of her life about once every other week.
Remember when you could only get healthy packaged foods and body-care products at something called a "health food store"? This was back when food that was organic, gluten-free, vegan, or just plain good-for-you was considered a "specialty" item, and wasn't popular enough to deserve a place on mainstream supermarket shelves.
These days, there's a lovely well-stocked food co-op in my parents' town, organic sections in most mainstream supermarkets, and plenty of Whole Foods across the country, too. But one old-school truth remains: Health food is usually more expensive. And since I stick to a gluten-free diet and like to eat fancy/healthy/specialty food, my grocery bill can be shockingly high—unless I order my monthly haul from an online health food store called Thrive Market for about 25% cheaper.
And yes, I am completely evangelical about Thrive Market. Here I go:
Thrive Market is just like your favorite health food store, but you can shop it anywhere from your computer or your phone, and they'll deliver to anywhere in the contiguous US. We're not talking instant delivery: it takes a few days for your package to arrive in the mail, but it's still very convenient. Especially if you live somewhere where the nearest health food store is more than a 40-minute drive away.
They don't sell perishables, which makes shipping by normal mail easier. But they do have pretty much every nonperishable specialty food and health food item you might need, and most of them way cheaper than you can find elsewhere. My favorite brand of fish sauce is $2 cheaper than it is at my local Whole Foods, and Coconut Mana (one of my favorite smoothie additives) costs $8.45 at Thrive vs. $11.99 at my local Whole Foods. I go through a lot of almond flour in my house, and on Thrive it's constantly at least $3 cheaper per bag than anywhere else I can find it. I also use Thrive to buy most of my vitamins and supplements and organic body care products —and save a lot of money that way, too.
Thrive also has their own expanding line of products. Recently I've become a devoted fan of their almond butter ($10.49) which is nice and spreadable and has a very fresh almond flavor.
Just like many old-school food co-ops, there is an annual membership fee to shop Thrive. They offer a free 30-day trial, then it's $59.95 to join for the year. But once you get hooked, the savings add up quickly. My only complaint is all the packaging that comes with each delivery—but all my products arrive unscathed every time, and it's all recyclable, so I guess it's worth it. And where else do you know that you can always find an 11-ounce jar of cage-free duck fat for $7.45?
This story originally appeared on Epicurious.
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