Thrive Market Vs. Traditional Grocery Stores

It can be hard to decide between traditional grocery stores and online stores. Both have conveniences that make them the better option on different days.

Thankfully, you don’t have to choose between them. Both have areas where they excel, such as being able to carefully plan out meals and food, to being able to go pick up a few items you forgot.

Keep reading to find out which method works best for you, or if both traditional grocery stores and Thrive Market might be the best option.

Side-by-Side Comparison

Thrive Market Traditional Grocery Stores
  • Mostly non-perishable foods
  • Monthly fee
  • Can sort products by preferences (non-GMO, vegan, keto, cruelty-free, etc)
  • Gives back money to their community
  • Low impact/zero waste
  • Can choose delivery dates
  • Orders ship fast
  • Many sales throughout the year
  • Veterans, low-income families, students, and teachers get free memberships
  • Free to use
  • Has all types of groceries, beauty products, and household items
  • Get more options on products
  • Can go in-person or order online
  • Variety of stores and options, including local and small businesses
  • Can go and get food whenever you feel
  • May help out local communities and programs

Thrive Market Pros and Cons

Thrive Market is a good if you want to take minimal trips to the store. By mostly ordering online, you can save a lot of money by buying only what you need. Though there is a membership, most of the food is lower than the prices in a traditional grocery store, and if you order a lot, you should be able to easily save enough money to cover the membership costs.

Thrive Market also offers options to shop by causes you want to support, or by foods without specific allergens. It makes it easy to see what you are supporting and getting.

Thrive is also not local. This can be nice, since you can then get delivery for almost any location in the United States, but you lose out on helping out local and smaller businesses. You will also have to wait a few days until the food can be delivered to you, which isn’t helpful for any last-minute planning.

They also do not sell things like fresh produce, which means you will still have to go to another store occasionally to get products that Thrive does not provide.

For the full story, see our review of Thrive Market.

Pros:Cons:
  • Can shop by dietary restrictions
  • Can shop by cause
  • All products pass Thrive’s approval
  • Products are often cheaper
  • Thrive provides money back to their community
  • Membership fee
  • Have to order and wait for delivery
  • Website can be confusing
  • May not have many options for each item you want
  • Some items are unable to ship when warm

Traditional Grocery Stores Pros and Cons

Traditional grocery stores are great for people who want to see the products they are buying. Also, if you want to just pop in and grab a few items that you forgot on your way home from work, you can easily do that too.

However, it can be hard to shop for people who want to support certain causes or smaller companies. A lot of big organizations will sell products under different names, making you believe they are a smaller company when they aren’t. Unless you want to sit and research every company in the store, it can be hard to make the right decision.

By shopping at traditional grocery stores, you can also have a lot more options. There are large chain grocery stores, but there are also smaller stores or local co-ops. This can be nice to support small companies, or just get more choices on the exact places you support.

Pros: Cons:
  • Can shop whenever
  • Can get produce, household products, premade foods, etc
  • Can choose to support local or smaller businesses
  • Can see all the items available for you in the same isle
  • Can spend any amount
  • Cost more
  • Can’t always clearly see food allergens
  • Can’t shop by cause
  • Can’t premake a shopping cart
  • May have to pay extra for delivery or pickup

Which One is Best For You?

Both traditional grocery stores and Thrive Market have their pros and cons. Considering that Thrive Market doesn’t have fresh produce, it may be worth utilizing both for certain items.

For example, when you want to support local, you can go to a smaller grocery store in your area. There, you can look for organic produce and maybe some local companies that wouldn’t be available on Thrive Market.

But when you want to support cruelty-free companies, you can use Thrive to find out which products are best. If you are going to use Thrive Market, you should make sure you use them enough to get the most out of your $60 membership. They can be good for purchasing a lot of shelf-stable foods in bulk.