Thrive Market Aims To Make Grocery Shopping Easier—We Reviewed To Find Out
Are We Thriving Yet?
This review was written by one of our staff writers. It is not sponsored and contains the author’s personal experience. The Good Trade purchased a subscription and products for this review.
In the small Colorado mountain town where I live, I try to grab all my fruit and produce from the local farmers’ markets, then supplement with other necessities from the grocery store. Luckily, we’re not far from a natural grocer that’s filled with purpose-driven and health-conscious brands. We also have a small zero-waste shop that sells refillable floss, soap bars, and bulk shampoo and conditioner.
Though I love supporting the local shops in my town, driving around from store to store can be a challenge. During the winter months, snow and icy roads add to the adventure of grabbing groceries—not to mention the impact of my carbon footprint from driving.
This is what excited me most about trying Thrive Market—a unique online one-stop shop that offers a wide range of organic pantry staples, clean beauty essentials, nontoxic home supplies, pet products, and even baby necessities.
Thrive Market ships to residential and commercial addresses in the contiguous United States. The shipping rate varies for groceries, frozen food, and wine (shipping is free on orders over a certain amount). Thrive is also carbon-neutral through carbonfund.org—the certification “covers national shipping, energy use at all facilities, and [their] employees commutes.”
To start shopping, you must first sign up for a membership. The process is simple and affordable (it costs $9.95/month to maintain membership). After signing up, the website then walks you through questions to personalize your shopping experience. Because there are over 6,000+ products to choose from on the marketplace, this step is important in curating what you need most.
Although their interface is well organized (you can filter by diet, ingredients, and even search for products from B Corp companies), I still felt overwhelmed browsing the vast selection. I decided to focus instead on shopping for products from Thrive’s own label. I also added a few items to my cart from new brands I’d never heard of.
First was the Wild-Caught Alaskan Sockeye Salmon ($35/1.5 lbs). It can be hard to find quality fish in the mountains, so this was a must for my cart. Thrive only sources seafood from sustainable and environmentally conscious fisheries.
Next, I shopped for products to support me in my postpartum journey. I love that Thrive Market carries a wide range of pre and postnatal supplies, such as washable nursing pads ($13.99/6-count) and organic and dairy-free nutrition bars from a woman-owned brand ($21.99/6 bars). I also grabbed some rose essential oil from Aura Cacia ($8.36/.5 fl oz) to help with labor and my favorite face tonic from Ursa Major ($25.20/ 6.7 fl oz) for self-care during postpartum.
Other necessities I added to my cart: compostable, BPA-free food scrap bags ($5.99/2 rolls), plastic-free floss ($1.79/55 yards), Molly’s Suds plastic-free dish soap bar ($5.39/4 oz), LastSwab reusable q-tip made from recycled ocean waste plastic ($12.99), and (re)Zip BPA-free reusable food storage pouches ($17.99/5-count). All these products are home essentials I know I will use daily to keep my house feeling clean and conscious.
My Thrive order arrived in two shipments; the first was the frozen salmon. I didn’t love that this shipped separately (though I understand why), nor did I love the amount of shipping material used to keep the salmon frozen. The fish was also inside a plastic bag, and each piece was individually wrapped in plastic. We ended up having a lot of waste to throw away.
When my second shipment arrived, I was hoping for less waste—this one included my pantry and home essentials. Unfortunately, while the products were all very organized inside the box, I was once again surprised by the amount of packing material used. Even though most of it was compostable or recyclable, each beauty product was packed inside plastic baggies.
I did love that the box included a message about Thrive Market’s values, though, and that the name of the person who packed the shipment was handwritten on the first fold of the packaging. The products are also wonderful, and I’m excited to use them. My favorite so far is the Thrive Market floss. It’s minty fresh with organic mint and coconut oil. The floss is made from a unique nylon material that expands, which helps to use less floss.
Still, the waste disappointed me. As Thrive is a subscription service, you receive a new box with every order (sometimes multiple boxes if you order wine or frozen items). And this just means having a lot of waste to manage. Even if recyclable, the packaging will likely keep me from continuing my membership, especially since we aim to practice zero-waste living in our house.
For the future, I hope Thrive Market will consider the waste created with each shipment and also allow for one-off orders without having to sign up for a subscription (though it’s worth noting the cancellation process is seamless and the customer service incredibly friendly).
Overall the experience was fun, and I’d recommend Thrive Market for anyone who may not have access to natural or purpose-driven grocery stores. Especially when it comes to accessibility, Thrive makes it possible for more people to experience ethical and sustainable brands—from cleaning products and groceries to hygiene and wellness staples.
Thrive Market works well for people who may not have easy access to natural or organic food stores, since they deliver to all the contiguous US states.
There is a monthly fee, so it’s more cost effective to shop for more things at once—the good news is they offer pantry staples, beauty and hygiene products, and pet and baby supplies.
The service does come with a lot of waste since everything is individually packaged, although Thrive does offset shipping emissions through carbonfund.org.
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Courtney Jay is a writer at The Good Trade. She is also a yoga instructor, health enthusiast, and sustainable fashion advocate. She believes the most powerful way to nurture the planet is to nurture ourselves. You can find more of her writing and take one of her online yoga classes on her website Coincide.