Prime Pantry Primer

Amazon’s many grocery options can confuse those new to ordering groceries or new to Prime membership. Between Amazon Pantry, Amazon Fresh, and Prime Now, you may be wondering which grocery service fits your needs. To help you break it down, we’ve answered all of your questions on Amazon Pantry to see if Amazon Pantry’s perks are right for you.

1. Let’s start with the very basic, what is Amazon Pantry?

Amazon Pantry is, on a basic level, just what it sounds like. With Pantry, you can fill up a box of traditional pantry products - snacks, dried goods, canned food, and drinks. The main benefit of using Amazon Pantry is to save on shipping costs for smaller items. Instead of buying in bulk or paying for individual shipping fees, you can load them into a box and pay one flat rate. Amazon Pantry also saves on waste for packing materials.

2. Is it just for nonperishable foods?

Not at all! Amazon Pantry items are divided into several categories: Breakfast, Snacks, Beverages, Packaged Meals and Sides, Baking and Cooking Essentials, Cleaning and Home, Beauty and Grooming, Baby Care, and Health and Wellness. Nothing is frozen or requires refrigeration. The grocery goods could get the whole family through the day, from coffee and cereal for breakfast to pasta and canned soup options for dinner, with plenty of chips, jerky, and other snack options throughout the day. The Beauty and Grooming options are also vast: from Q-tips to the Proactiv 3-step system to a full palette of makeup options. In the Health and Wellness section, you can find vitamins, protein shakes, and eye drops. The Cleaning and Home category contains everything from dish soap to food storage to pet treats. Finally, Baby Care has options like baby wipes, organic purees, and tear-free shampoo (although notably, no diapers, which makes sense given the bulkiness of those packages).

It is clear that Amazon Pantry isn’t just for food, but don’t expect to find anything too niche. Amazon Pantry has all of the popular brands you would find in a regular grocery store, like Kellogg, Nabisco, and Frito-Lay, plus Amazon’s own brands. In fact, Amazon fills a whole section of its brands, including 365 Everyday Value, Wickedly Prime, and Presto!. But if you’re looking for a smaller brand or specialty item, you might be better off outside of Amazon Pantry.

3. You say I can save on shipping with Amazon Pantry, but how much IS shipping, anyway?

Great question! If you have an Amazon account but are not an Amazon Prime member, the shipping per box will cost you $5.99. Each box can contain up to 45 pounds or four cubic feet of product. There are no limits to how many boxes you can order at a time.

Amazon Prime subscribers get free shipping on all of their orders over $35. There is also an option for Prime members to pay $4.99 a month to receive free shipping on Pantry orders over $10. If you don’t want the regular expense and don’t want to wait until you have $35 worth of items, you can choose to pay the $5.99 standard shipping fee.

4. Can I find good deals with Amazon Pantry?

Definitely. Amazon Pantry prices are comparable to the same items at Target or Walmart. Unfortunately, Amazon seems to have discontinued or at least paused its bulk discounts. There are still coupons available for Pantry products, however, on the Amazon Pantry deals page. Some coupons are a percentage; usually, 10-20% off, or a dollar amount off, usually $1-3 off.

5. Any issues with delivery?

Maybe. Amazon Pantry is only available in the continental United States. It cannot be delivered to P.O. Boxes, dorms, or Amazon Lockers. You can check if your zip code is eligible for Amazon Pantry by clicking “Select your address” on the upper left corner of the Amazon Pantry website.

Some shoppers have reported a delay in delivery since the coronavirus pandemic forced everyone to stay home, and grocery orders increased dramatically. Instead of the usual one to three business days, customers reported that orders were taking as many as five business days. If that happens to you, contact customer service. You may be able to receive Amazon credits or even a free month of Prime membership.

If you’re not in a hurry to get your items, you can pick no-rush shipping at checkout in exchange for a $5 Amazon Pantry credit.

6. What are the payment options for Amazon Pantry?

All the usual payment options are available for Amazon Pantry, just as regular Amazon items. But Amazon Pantry has a few additional options that may help you save even more.

First, if you have an Amazon credit card, you will get 5% back on all Amazon Pantry purchases. Ok, this is true for all Amazon purchases. Still, it is worth mentioning anyway, in case you were on the fence about opening an Amazon card.

Second, Amazon Pantry has an option to search for FSA and HSA eligible products. For those who don’t know, FSA is a Flexible Savings Account, and HSA is a Health Savings Account. Both are ways to pay for medical and health items, usually through employer-provided health insurance or benefits package. You’re most likely to find FSA or HSA eligible products in the Health and Wellness section of Amazon Pantry. On that page, scroll down your options on the left to locate the checkbox to filter for these items.

Finally, thanks to a USDA pilot program, Amazon Pantry products can be purchased using your SNAP benefits. You’ll have to be a Prime member, but EBT or Medicaid subscribers can also receive a discount on their Prime memberships. Certain states are excluded from this program, but for residents of 44 states, this is a great new way to utilize your benefits without having to risk grocery store contamination.