Food is fuel and you have a lot of options where you can get it from. Too many options, maybe, and a lot of them should be disqualified on the grounds of their suitability for a healthy lifestyle. You could argue that your best bet is to shop for food at a decent store, try and buy quality over quantity, and it wouldn’t hurt if you prepared your own meals. Unfortunately, we don’t all have the luxury of time to make meals at home, which sounds kind of crazy. However, that’s the reality for a lot of people holding jobs with long commutes or someone who attends college during the day and has a job in the evenings. Sometimes there are a lot of barriers to doing even the simplest stuff.
Buying and making your own meals, and using as fresh as possible ingredients, is the best nutrition choice you can make. You should try to do it as often as you can. For the purposes of this exercise, we decided to try and to save time by doing that shopping online. In this instance, we tried Thrive Market, launched in 2014 out of Southern California, which promises to deliver products that are good for you directly to your doorstep.
Thrive Market Delivers
Thrive Market is more like an online Costco crossed with a Whole Foods. It has a range of organic products and aims to provide a one-stop solution for people looking for a reliable source of natural and sustainable groceries. It’s targeted at people who probably find Whole Foods (now owned by Amazon) a great place to find what they’re looking for, but they’re also looking to save money and probably like the convenience of shopping online.
To be frank, Thrive is never going to give you the breadth of offerings you’d find on a site like Amazon, but they have tried to take the guesswork out of deciding what you can trust to put in your grocery bag. Thrive likes to promote itself as a company that can make a healthy food lifestyle accessible to a broad range of people with varying incomes, meaning they’re not going to empty your bank account, but you have to do it Thrive’s way. However, becoming a member of Thrive is not going to stand in your way because they have deals going on all the time to try and get new members. You’ll probably find that your first experience with Thrive will be pretty easy on the credit card.
When you take into consideration the need to be a Thrive Market member, your membership fee should get you anywhere from 25-50 percent off typical retail prices for Thrive’s branded products. You can also feel pretty good knowing that Thrive has a commitment to offer a free membership to families in need.
My taste test was limited to Thrive’s tuna and sardines. These are pretty much basics in my meal plans. Sure, I can get them from the local store, but I have two criteria: it needs to be fish that is caught in the wild and it needs to be clean, which can mean a lot of things. Also because I eat a lot of it, price is important.
The website experience and order processing on Thrive Market is very easy and efficient. The site is modern, designed well, and everything works. The packaging on the order that I received was above average, and it was a good experience overall.
Sardines are not to everyone’s taste, but I like them. Thrive’s sardines were were a little lighter on the palate than some others I have experienced, meaning I felt like the taste was not overwhelming and the fish were not greasy. The sardines were packed in olive oil, in case you were wondering.
For the tuna (packed in water), I gave a can to one of my friends who has kids that like a particular brand. I asked her to try it out on them because I was curious to see whether the very fussy palate of a child would notice anything different. The kids loved it and ate it all up. You might think that all tuna fish tastes the same when it’s mixed in with mayonnaise, but kids have a tendency to notice minuscule changes in texture, smell, or taste. There was, obviously, no problem for me.
|Sardines in EVOO||$2.19|
|Sardines in Water||$1.99|
|Wild Chunk Albacore (with salt)||$2.99|
|Chunk Light Tuna (with salt)||$2.79|
*Thrive has a number of offers in place that could help you reduce or lose the cost of membership if you order through them this holiday season. You can try these Thrive Market exclusive deals for the Breaking Muscle community. The company, obviously, is interested in getting more members and if you see they have enough stuff that you want to buy, it pays off the membership fee pretty quickly.
I will admit to being skeptical at first when I was given the assignment to test these products, mostly because I didn’t really know what to think about trying fish from a start-up company that was kind of new to the grocery world. I wondered if they have everything figured out like companies who only specialize in deliverable groceries and have been doing it for years. I think it’s safe to say that Thrive branded groceries don’t have to be considered newbies to online shopping. They held up really well compared to what I am comfortable with and used to.
The Price of Delivery
Pricing is a trickier issue. I don’t think the recommended retail price of the tuna or the sardines available for purchase at Thrive Market is much different to what is available at a local store. However, you have to factor in that with discounts and special offers Thrive is competing pretty nicely. On the plus side, if I can latch on to a good price, I can buy up a bunch of cans and get them shipped to me directly. Okay, that’s not any different than doing the same thing on Amazon but, frankly, I am intrigued by Thrive because if they can continue to offer more lines of groceries that consistently meet the requirements of a shopper like me—people who read food labels and know what they should be putting in their bodies—it makes it a lot easier to fill that cart with Thrive products and save yourself the hassle of shopping around or heading out to the store.
Online Grocer Shopping Works on All Levels
Ultimately, I think Amazon buying Whole Foods is going to make it easier for consumers to find healthy alternatives to the traditional grocery shopping list. Whereas Whole Foods had the goods in the past, it was always a bear when it came to pricing. Amazon seems to want to change that. That can only mean that companies like Thrive Market will also grow because, some day, everyone will shop and eat this way, not just a select few. So, yeah, grocery shopping is a fitness frontier. There’s obviously big changes happening in the market and we, the consumers, should benefit. Non-GMO, organic, clean food is not a fringe market anymore. It’s going mainstream. The more competition, the better it should get in terms of availability and pricing.