This Is the Cheapest Grocery Delivery Service in 2023 (We Brought Receipts) (2023)

Groceries have gotten mighty expensive and I'm not just talking about eggs. Even with inflation cooling, generally, high food prices remain sticky and many are looking for ways to soften that monthly food bill.

This Is the Cheapest Grocery Delivery Service in 2023 (We Brought Receipts) (1)

If you're after a cheaper option for buying groceries in person, we did the math to see how much you can save shopping at Trader Joe's or Costco. If it's grocery delivery you're after, there are excellent budget-friendly online grocery options, too. In this edition of We Do the Math, I've analyzedAmazon, Target and Walmart, three of the most budget-friendly grocery retailers in the US, to see which is cheapest for buying groceries online.

To find the web's best grocer for food deals, discounts and rock-bottom prices, I calculated the cost of a typical shopping list from all three stores and factored in any delivery or membership fees that apply. After tallying the tabs, Walmart grabbed the top (or is it bottom?) spot as the cheapest place to buy groceries online -- about 10% cheaper than Target and 18% cheaper than Amazon Fresh.

Amazon, Target and Walmart compared


Walmart Target Amazon Fresh
Total before extras $137.10 $153.34 $165.66
Monthly membership fee $13.00 $11.00 $15.00
Total: $150.10 $164.34 $180.66

While the bottom-line cost might not be the only factor you consider when choosing an online grocery service -- quality selection and freshness certainly count for something -- if you've been wondering which store has the cheapest online groceries, now you have an answer. Read on for a full breakdown of online grocery prices at Walmart, Target and Amazon Fresh including how I did the math and some key takeaways.

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How I did the math

To find the cost of buying groceries online at these three retailers, I first generated a list of 37 popular grocery items -- some name brands, some generic -- on the same day and in every grocery category including bread, snacks, dairy, produce, meat, fish, beverages and pantry staples. I mostly avoided specialty items and organic ingredients for this exercise. For each product, I chose the cheapest available option from all three retailers: Amazon Fresh, Target and Walmart.

If an item wasn't available at one retailer, I selected the next closest thing, since that's what a shopper would likely do. In some cases, a product was only available in a larger or smaller size. In those instances, I prorated the amount and price to ensure it was an even cost comparison.

Cheapest online grocery delivery services


Walmart Target (Shipt) Amazon Fresh
Eggs/dairy:


Brown eggs (12) $4.87 $5.19 $2.98
2% milk (1 gallon) $3.08 $3.89 $4.39
Almond milk (1/2 gallon) $2.44 $2.99 $4.00
Block Cabot cheddar cheese (8 oz) $2.98 $3.19 $4.29
Plain yogurt (32 oz) $2.36 $3.79 $3.29
Subtotal: $15.73 $19.05 $18.95




Bread and snacks:


Loaf of 7-grain bread $2.38 $3.99 $4.00
Thomas' English muffins (pack of 6) $3.48 $3.49 $4.69
Club crackers (13.7 oz) $3.38 $3.99 $4.79
Subtotal: $9.24 $11.47 $13.48




Produce:


Broccoli head (1 lb) $1.38 $4.11* $1.99
One pound bag red potatoes (1 lb) $1.18 $1.30 $1.00
Package of mixed greens (5 oz) $2.98 $3.69 $4.14
Hass avocado (1) $0.88 $0.99 $0.99
Bag of carrots (1 lb) $1.24 $1.29 $1.00
Bag of yellow onions (1 lb) $1.05 $1.30 $0.93
Subtotal: $8.71 $12.68 $10.05




Pantry:


Bottle of Heinz Ketchup (32 oz) $4.28 $4.99 $4.28
Jar Hellman's Mayo (20 oz) $5.48 $6.29 $7.49
White rice (2 lb) $1.62 $0.95 $1.99
Chicken stock (32 oz) $1.33 $1.99 $2.79
Ground Starbucks coffee (12 oz) $14.92 $10.00 $8.90
Peanut butter (16 oz) $1.84 $1.69 $3.19
Seltzer (8) $3.28 $3.99 $4.49
Barilla penne pasta (16 oz) $1.84 $2.19 $1.99
Prego pasta sauce (24 ounce) $2.24 $2.89 $3.69
Canned dog food (12.5 oz) $1.88 $1.79 $1.67
Subtotal: $38.71 $36.77 $40.48




Snacks:


Box of Cheerios (18 oz) $4.78 $5.49 $4.78
Bag of cape cod potato chips (8 oz) $3.68 $3.99 $4.59
Corn chips (11 oz) $2.48 $2.29 $2.49
Chewy granola bars (box of 8) $2.44 $2.99 $3.98
Breyer's ice cream (1 quart) $4.97 $5.79 $5.99
Simply Orange juice (52 oz) $3.98 $4.59* $5.29
Subtotal: $22.33 $25.14 $27.12




Meats/fish:


Ground beef (1 lb) $3.98 $6.29* $4.66
Atlantic salmon (1 lb) $10.98 $10* $12.00
Bone-in chicken (3 lb) $3.96 $5.07 $6.96
Organic chicken breast (1 lb) $6.68 7.49* $13.79
Bacon (16 oz) $4.24 $4.89 $5.99
Plant-based beef (1 lb) $7.96 $9* $6.79
Morningstar Veggie burgers (4 pack) $4.58 $5.49 $5.39
Subtotal: $42.38 $48.23 $55.58




Total before extras: $137.10 $153.34 $165.66
Monthly membership fee: $13.00 $11.00 $15.00
Total: $150.10 $164.34 $180.66




*Denotes item not available for shipping


Why I chose these retailers

This Is the Cheapest Grocery Delivery Service in 2023 (We Brought Receipts) (3)

While there are other places to order groceries online, Amazon Fresh, Target (via Shipt) and Walmart are three of the most popular US grocers with a national presence and the option for online delivery. Other discount grocery chains like Costco and Aldi can be delivered using third-party apps such as Instacart, but Instacart marks groceries up about 10% so it's not typically going to be your best budget option. (That said, shopping in bulk and in person at Costco can save you as much as $1,000 over the course of the year, potentially more if you become a Costco Executive member.)

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What are the membership fees for Amazon, Walmart and Target?

All three retailers offer cost-effective monthly memberships that include unlimited free deliveries on orders of about $35 or more. Amazon Prime is $15 per month and includes free delivery for all Amazon products as well as Amazon Prime Video and some other perks. Walmart Plus is $13 per month or $98 for the year for unlimited free deliveries. Target's Shipt is the cheapest of three memberships at $11 a month with no minimum delivery total to hit. All three offer free in-store pickup in some form, although Amazon has fewer locations than Walmart and Target.

Walmart was the cheapest in every category except one

This Is the Cheapest Grocery Delivery Service in 2023 (We Brought Receipts) (4)

Walmart is known for having the lowest prices of just about any national retail chain, and its reputation proved true in this analysis of online grocery costs. Walmart pretty much swept the field with the lowest total cost in every grocery subcategory except for one -- pantry staples -- where Target was cheaper by about $2. Many of Walmart's cheapest items were courtesy of its in-house brand, Great Value. Target has an in-house brand of its own called Good & Gather, while Amazon sports a few generic brands including Amazon-branded groceries along with Happy Belly and 365 by Whole Foods, which is owned by Jeff Bezos' Amazon.

Target doesn't deliver all categories of groceries

This Is the Cheapest Grocery Delivery Service in 2023 (We Brought Receipts) (5)

While I tried to use only items that were available for delivery, it wasn't always possible. Target and its national shipping partner Shipt don't have every grocery staple available for shipping, particularly fresh meats and some produce. If you want to shop for your full list of groceries at Target, you're likely going to have to visit a brick-and-mortar location.

Are online grocery prices the same as in the store?

In general, Walmart and Target offer the same prices online as they do in brick-and-mortar locations, but not always. Sales items, in particular, are not always coordinated between online and in-store. Amazon Fresh is mostly online-only save for a few locations, although many products on Amazon Fresh can also be found at Whole Foods.

This Is the Cheapest Grocery Delivery Service in 2023 (We Brought Receipts) (6)

Other options for buying groceries online

Instacart is a popular national delivery service and functions as a third-party shopper and delivery outfit that allows you to order groceries from a selection of local supermarkets. You'll essentially be paying the same prices as if you visited the store yourself, plus a $4 delivery fee and tip.

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Fresh Direct is another popular grocery delivery service and one of my favorites. It's currently only available in the Northeast. The prices here are a bit higher than the three retailers I analyzed above, but the grocery selection and customer service are both excellent.

Hungryroot is a quirky grocery delivery operation that functions differently than the others. With a subscription, you'll get weekly deliveries of curated groceries based on your preferences and eating habits. Hungryroot givesmeal kitsuggestions and will send you the ingredients to make them if you so choose.

Thrive Market is yet another members-only grocery service. Thrive has lots of high-quality and organic meats but no produce or dairy products.

Boxed.comis a good place to find dry goods, pantry items and paper products at low prices but it's not a full substitute for a grocery store since it lacks the fresh foods you would typically buy at a market.

If you don't mind getting your various groceries from different vendors, we've tested to find thebest produce delivery services,best meat delivery servicesand even thebest online fish and seafood marketsfor 2023.

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FAQs

Is Instacart cheaper than grocery shopping? ›

If you only use grocery delivery occasionally, the regular Instacart service should be sufficient for your needs. However, expect to pay at least $10–15 more than you would at the store after factoring in delivery and service fees, higher prices, and a tip for the delivery person.

Are grocery subscription services worth it? ›

Yes, grocery delivery services can be worth the money you pay for them. They're worthwhile expenses if you need to buy groceries but can't get to a store for whatever reason. In addition, they're a sensible monthly expense granted that you're in a financial position to choose convenience over saving money.

Is Amazon Fresh free? ›

Amazon Fresh - Unscheduled Deliveries:

You can get FREE delivery for orders above ₹300 for Prime members and ₹799 for Non-Prime members. For Non-Prime members, a minimum order value of ₹300 is required to place an order and a flat delivery fee of ₹59 will be charged for orders below ₹799.

What is the fastest grocery delivery service? ›

6 Best Grocery Delivery Apps for you
  1. Bigbasket: The best grocery delivery app. Bigbasket has to be on the list when we mention the grocery delivery apps. ...
  2. Grofers: Grocery delivery app. ...
  3. Flipkart Supermart: ...
  4. Dunzo: ...
  5. Spencer's: ...
  6. Nature's Basket:
Jan 9, 2023

Which grocery app is cheapest? ›

  • BigBasket. Available in Android & iOS. ...
  • Grofers. Available in Android & iOS. ...
  • ZopNow. Available in Android & iOS. ...
  • Amazon Pantry. Available in Android & iOS. ...
  • Flipkart Supermarket. Available in Android & iOS. ...
  • Nature's Basket. Available in Android & iOS. ...
  • Spencer's Online Grocery. Available in Android & iOS. ...
  • Paytm Mall.
Mar 30, 2022

How do I avoid Instacart service fees? ›

By signing up for Instacart Express, you can avoid paying delivery fees on orders of $35 or more, be exempt from service fees, never pay for busy pricing, and order from multiple stores in one delivery.

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