Amazon Fresh vs Whole Foods: What’s The Difference?

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Since Amazon Fresh has expanded and opened some in-person shops in recent years, you might be curious about how it compared to Whole Foods as they are both owned by Amazon. Naturally, there are differences between online and in-person shops, which can determine whether you shop at one.

Advertisement owns both Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods. However, Whole Foods is a well-known market that caters specifically to the organic market and sells food and food products that are 100% organic. On the other hand, Amazon Fresh offers a selection of groceries from Amazon and local suppliers and generally has more affordable prices than Whole Foods.

There are a couple of ways Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh differ from one another, even though they are both owned by Amazon. These factors include the type of products they sell, the price, and even the target market. These companies also operate entirely independently and work in different ways to one another. Below will be a detailed list of differences and comparisons between these two.

Online Stores

As briefly mentioned above, there are several differences between Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh. Though both offer delivery options and the same company owns them, fundamental differences make them stand-alone services and stores.

Who Runs The Shop?

Though this might not be the first thing you think of, one of the main differences between the two stores mentioned above is the person that runs them. 


As with Amazon, Amazon Fresh is owned and managed by Jeff Bezos. The owner implements and controls the vision for the Amazon Fresh shops and online stores. All-in-all, most of the choice and power of Amazon Fresh lies with Jeff Bezos.

On the other hand, Whole Foods, though owned by Amazon, is run by the initial founder and now CEO, John Mackey. As the founder of Whole Foods Market, John Mackey implements his vision for Whole Foods and is in charge of its success.

The Target Market

The target market is one of the most fundamental factors of difference between these two Amazon-owned companies. The target market is why there are price differences, policy differences, and even different suppliers.

Amazon Fresh is an online-first groceries store that allows you to buy almost everything you need in one place. The products offered by this store are one of the main reasons why it is so different from Whole Foods. Amazon Fresh aims to be a one-stop online shop that is especially effective as you can buy everything you need and also have it delivered.

On the other hand, Whole Foods, as the name suggests, is a market that focuses mainly on Food and, more specifically, organic Food. Though they offer delivery through Amazon, Whole Foods does not have the spread that Amazon Fresh does.

The Price Of The Products

Naturally, seeing as the products aim towards different markets, there will be a significant price difference between Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods.


As a general grocery store, Amazon Fresh offers a range of products from different suppliers, including locals. This aspect means that there is a variety of products for sale through Amazon Fresh, and these can already differ in price quite dramatically. Amazon Fresh also offers some Whole Foods’ products, though this is limited to that specific section and is not as extensive as the store itself.

Whole Foods, a niche store that sells specifically organic food products, can charge a lot more for their products as they cater to those who are more inclined towards food that has no preservatives or other added enhancers. This fact shows how the target market can drastically affect the price and products you can buy from that store.

Delivery Options

Since Amazon owns both companies discussed above, you expect both services to have similar delivery options. And though that is true to a certain extent, there are also a couple of differences that we must mention.

Amazon Fresh offers free delivery of orders of a specific amount though these amounts differ depending on your area. Amazon Fresh is also available in over 2000 different cities in the US and available for delivery in some other countries. The availability of Amazon Fresh in your area naturally has a significant effect on the delivery options you might have.

On the other hand, Whole Foods isn’t as freely available as Amazon Fresh is, and delivery is only available if you are close enough to a Whole Foods Store. Because there are fewer Whole Food stores and the products they sell are supposed to be fresh produce, you cannot order Whole Foods if there is no Whole Foods Store close enough to you. 

The Whole Foods delivery options are very similar to Amazon Fresh’s, though a certain amount spent will allow you to have free delivery if you are an Amazon Prime member.

Walk-In Stores

Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods also have some differences in running and operating their in-person stores. Though the categories of these factors are similar to those of the online stores, they are still good to consider.


The Number Of Stores

Whole Foods has been a long-standing, well-known, and successful in-person shopping store for select items for years before it expanded to the online world. Naturally, the success of this store means that it has plenty of stores located in the US, UK, and Canada. Whole Foods has 500 stores located in different countries and is also working on having more, though the recent world crisis might stunt this goal.

On the other hand, Amazon Fresh has only recently started opening in-person stores, and they are not as common as Whole Food stores are. Since Amazon Fresh has only recently started opening stores to the general public, there are still under 50 stores in the US. This number is significantly lower than Whole Foods, though the shopping experience is also quite different.

How They Operate

Whole Foods is a high-end and niche store, though it operates like typical everyday fresh produce stores. The basic principle is the same as any other store, go into the store, find the products you would like to buy, and pay at a cashier. The shopping and payment process is not unlike any other store you can find, though the products on sale are limited.

Unlike Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh has a much more high-tech method of shopping. When walking into an Amazon Fresh store, you will choose which method of payment you would prefer, paying at a cashier or just walking out. Paying at the cashier is traditional shopping, though the walkout system is much more advanced.

If you choose to use the faster and more convenient option of the “Just Walk Out” checkout method, you will need to scan your palm, use an Amazon scan code or insert your Amazon-linked credit card. Once you have done this step, you can simply take what you need. Whatever you take from the shelf will be added to your online cart, and what you put back will be removed.

Once you are ready to leave, you will have to present the payment option you used to get in again, and the order will automatically go through the checkout process for you. This method of shopping allows you to have less contact with people, save some time, and is much more convenient than the more commonly used method of shopping most stores offer.

The Target Market

The target audiences of the in-person shops are similar to that of the online versions of both these stores. These stores appear more often in high-end parts of town, which might be one difference between the Amazon Fresh online and in-person stores.

Whole Food Market aims towards a more niche market of people who prefer organic and preservative-free foods over those sold at most other shops. Since this niche is more common under wealthier people that can afford higher grade products, that is the market that this store aims at more often than not.

Though known as more of a general groceries store, Amazon Fresh is also aimed more at the upper-class market. The few Amazon Fresh stores opened are usually in higher-end parts of town. This choice is probably due to the new technology and the high-end checkout options. 


Price Of The Products

The prices of the stores are similar to those you would find online. Naturally, there isn’t an option for delivery, so that does not impact the price you pay in a store.

Amazon Fresh offers a lot of choices, which means that the prices of the products you buy can differ quite significantly depending on what you want to buy.

On the other hand, Whole Foods is still a niche store selling only high-grade organic and preservative-free products. Naturally, the price of the products on offer at Whole Foods is still a bit higher than that offered at Amazon Fresh stores.

Which Is Better, Amazon Fresh Or Whole Foods?

There are, naturally, a couple of things to consider when deciding which of the two stores is better than the other. Naturally, this choice will depend on the person you are, the amount of money you have, and even the products you are looking to buy.

The Selection Of Products

Depending on the products you want to buy, one of these stores might be better than the other for your purposes. As discussed above, Whole Foods is a niche store that sells only select products and only organic products. If this is the kind of food you are looking to buy, Whole Foods is likely your best and more commonly available store choice.

On the other hand, Amazon Fresh sells more than just organic food and more than food-related products. Amazon Fresh is trying to be the new best and brightest all groceries store. For this reason, they sell a range of products, and all of the products have variants themselves. Amazon Fresh might stock some organic food products both in-person and online, but this is not their goal.

Amazon Fresh aims to be an easy-to-use and fast all-around groceries store. This goal means that they sell more products than Whole Foods, and there is also much more variety than that of Whole Foods.

The Availability Of Products

Though both of these stores might go through some tough times and may run out of stock, Amazon Fresh stores are known for taking some time to restock sold-out products. 

Because Whole Foods works with specific suppliers, they can keep their shelves and stock up to date and fresh. Organic produce isn’t as popular as the non-organic variants sold at any other store, and this also means that Whole Foods will likely still have stock of a sold-out product elsewhere. The availability of Whole Foods’ stock could also be because fewer people are willing to pay more.

Though having specific local suppliers, Amazon Fresh might struggle more to keep stock at the ready due to the lower prices and the variants of these products that they offer. If you own a store and sell anything to anyone, you are more likely to run out of something. The popularity of Amazon Fresh also means that their products get bought much more often, affecting how quickly a product is out of stock.

Your Personal Preference

Nothing stops you from buying products on offer from both of these stores. Amazon Fresh says they are not trying to compete with Whole Foods but “complete” with Whole Foods. This saying means that Amazon Fresh is trying to supply that which Whole Foods does not.

Since different markets and people are buying from these stores, both could benefit from the other supplying what the other does not. With Amazon Fresh selling products that Whole Foods do not, someone can buy food at Whole Foods while buying the rest of their groceries at Amazon Fresh. 

Since Amazon Fresh sells certain products found at Whole Foods, the process is made even easier by allowing people to buy from two different stores on the same app or website. By doing this, Amazon is completing the market and making much more money.

Last Thoughts

Though these stores are both owned by Amazon, they do not necessarily compete with one another. As seen by the breakdown of which market the stores are aimed for, they can supply both different and the same people while completing the market rather than dividing it. There are several differences between these two stores meaning they are both excellent for their intended clientele.

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