Fresh Direct vs Instacart

One of the perks of living in today’s modern world is that you can buy pretty much anything, whenever and wherever you want. Hypothetically, food shopping is a trivial matter. But real life presents two difficult problems: finding the time for a grocery run and getting all the items to your front door. Grocery delivery services like FreshDirect and Instacart try to solve those problems. However, they are all not the same; different services have different features, advantages, and disadvantages. So, which one is better? Below, we will see the pros and cons of Fresh Direct vs Instacart to help you choose.

FreshDirect: What is It
Fresh Direct can be quite a lot more than just a meal delivery service. You can say that it is a one-stop shop for all dietary needs. Right after you enter the website, you will be presented with various delicious goodies, including pastries, drinks, meal kits, and ready-made meals. The items are neatly categorized, and the categories are neatly lined on the top navigation bar. Just under the categories, there are several buttons for coupons, sales, fresh deals, new items, and top-rated items. Not sure about what to eat? Check the “ideas” section, or perhaps have a look at the “local” offers.

In order to buy groceries from Fresh Direct, you need to create an account first. Don’t worry; this is not a subscription-based service. With Fresh Direct, you can buy items whenever you want without any commitment. This is a great thing for people who don’t shop for groceries regularly.

Fresh Direct can deliver the groceries to most addresses in select counties of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC.It also does deliveries to the Hamptons and Jersey Shore, but only in summers. You can check whether delivery is available by entering your zip code as soon as you enter the website.

Fresh Direct: The Pros
As mentioned above, Fresh Direct is great for people who don’t shop for groceries regularly because the service is not subscription-based. You can order whenever you want without commitments. The deals and coupons are truly great, as they can greatly reduce the costs.

There is a $5.99 delivery fee for every order. However, if you are a regular customer who buys groceries more than twice in a month, you should consider getting the $12.99 one-month delivery pass. With the delivery pass, you can have zero-fee deliveries for a month. This is much more cost-efficient.Giving a tip to the delivery guy, while not required, is encouraged.

Fresh Direct has come a long way since its inception. It now has nice curated groups of local products, and it has become much more responsible about the packaging. The customer service is really great; whenever a user is less than satisfied with a product, they give some credit.

Fresh Direct: The Cons
The first disadvantage of Fresh Direct vs Instacart is the price. In general, the prices in Fresh Direct are higher. This is partially because you can’t buy most of the items one-by-one. For example, you can’t order one apple; instead, you need to order four apples. Without the deals and coupons, the items in Fresh Direct can be quite expensive. And don’t forget about the delivery fee.

The second disadvantage of Fresh Direct vs Instacart is the variety. This is particularly true for the ice creams, condiments, salads, and salad dressings. There aren’t many selections for these types of items. So, if you want to see more varieties of these items, Fresh Direct is probably not the best place to look around.

Third, Fresh Direct does not have any option for a same-day delivery. This is a factor to consider if you are buying fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, and ready-made meals.

Instacart: What is It
Instacart may seem similar to Fresh Direct, but it has actually taken a slightly different approach. Instacart has partnered with various grocery stores and recruited people to act as the shoppers. These partner grocery stores usually have specific registers and lines for Instacart shoppers. In Instacart, a user can choose a grocery and list the items that need to be bought. After the order, Instacart will have a shopper buy those items for you and deliver them to your front door.

Because of the way Instacart works, it is highly recommended that you tip the person who has delivered your groceries. After all, you have asked someone to do the hectic job of grocery shopping for you.

What sets Instacart apart from other similar services is the same-day delivery option. For orders above $35, two-hour or same-day scheduled deliveries have a flat $3.99 fee, whereas one-hour deliveries have a flat $5.99 fee. However, for orders under $35, two-hour or same-day scheduled deliveries have a $7.99 fee while one-hour deliveries have a $9.99 fee.

Instacart: The Pros
The website of Instacart is incredibly user-friendly and easy to use. The design is simple and intuitive. It has plain pictures of the items on white backgrounds, and it lists the items that you’ve bought on the side. And here is also a cool feature of Instacart: even though you are not a member of Costco, you can still order from there!

The customer service is truly awesome. When you check out, you will be asked whether you care more about the brand or the price; this is to aid the shopper in finding a replacement when an item is unavailable. Also, the shoppers are very friendly and helpful. They will text you whenever they make a replacement to ensure your agreement.

Last but not least, when choosing between Fresh Direct vs Instacart, the prices of Instacart are generally lower. Although the differences are marginal, this is still an advantage.

Instacart: The Cons
The delivery fees can be quite expensive, especially if you often do same-day or one-hour deliveries. In addition, “busy pricing” may apply during the busy hours of the day. And it is recommended that you tip the shopper according to the size of your order. In other words, if your grocery run is quite sizeable, you will need to put a considerable amount to the tip.

- Manages their items and packaging- Partners with real grocery stores and shoppers
- Generally higher prices- Generally lower prices
- Tip is not required but encouraged- Tip is highly recommended in accordance to the size of the order
- No same-day delivery- Has same-day, two-hour, and one-hour delivery options
- Great for large orders- Great for fresh foods and smaller orders

When you don’t need to make a same-day delivery, Fresh Direct can be a great choice. Fresh Direct is more cost-efficient for sizeable grocery orders. However, for same-day deliveries, Instacart is the way to go. Instacart is great for buying fresh foods and the smaller grocery runs.

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