While the Twin Cities recently lost one of its grocery delivery services in Coborn's, Amazon is sweeping in to offer residents another option.
The online giant has expanded its AmazonFresh program to Minneapolis, in addition to Houston and Phoenix, it announced on Thursday. The service, which is available for an additional $14.99 a month to members of its $119-a-year Prime membership, is now up and running in 18 metro areas around the U.S.
The service promises delivery of tens of thousands of products from meat, seafood, fresh produce and essentials. Delivery within two hours on orders of more than $35 are free. Consumers can pay an extra fee for delivery within one hour.
The Twin Cities has a number of other grocery delivery services. Instacart offers delivery from Cub, Costco, Lunds & Byerlys, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market and some co-ops. And Shipt, a subsidiary of Target, provides delivery from Target, Kowalski's, and Hy-Vee.
Amazon, which has found success selling lots of different things online, has had trouble cracking the online grocery market, leading it to buy Whole Foods a couple years ago. It now also offers delivery from Whole Foods through its Prime Now service. It also offers other groceries from Amazon through Prime Now.
So what's the difference between Prime Now and AmazonFresh when it comes to grocery delivery? It's not exactly clear. Consumer Reports tried to dig into it and came to the conclusion that while AmazonFresh may offer a wider selection of groceries, the extra fees do not necessarily make it worth it.
The AmazonFresh orders will be fulfilled out of the retailer's facility in southeast Minneapolis that also houses its Prime Now service, the company said.
Earlier this month, Coborn's, a St. Cloud-based supermarket chain that got into grocery delivery back in 2008 after purchasing SimonDelivers, discontinued grocery delivery in the Twin Cities. It cited the increased competition in the space and the difficulty to make money doing it.