As a foodie family on a budget, I’m always on a quest to find the healthiest, highest-quality items for the best possible price.
Thrive Market claims to do just that.
To find out if Thrive Market would work for our family, I wanted to know…
1.) Is a Thrive membership worth it?
2.) What to buy at Thrive Market to maximize health and budget
Here’s what I found…
How does Thrive Market Work?
If Costco and Whole Foods had a baby…it would be called Thrive Market.
Thrive Market is an online, wholesale warehouse (600,000+ members strong) that carries 6000+ healthy food, home, pet, baby & personal care products. They carry mostly organic, non-GMO, sustainably raised items.
By cutting out the middle man, Thrive Market is able to offer wholesale prices–about 25-50% off retail price. A 12-month membership costs $59.95, (the same as a Costco gold membership), and members get free shipping on orders over $49.
Is Thrive Market Membership Worth It?
To be honest, it depends. Factors to consider are…
- household size
- how many organic/name-brand items you buy
- if anyone in your household follows a specialty diet
- how many specialty items you buy
To decide if it is worth it, I compare similar quality brands found on Costco and Amazon.
Thrive Market vs. Costco
If a similar brand or item is available at Costco, 99% of the time it’s cheaper at Costco. For example:
Simple Mills Crackers:
- Costco: $9.99 for 17 ounces ($0.58/ounce)
- Amazon: $24.98 for 25.5 ounces ($0.98/ounce)
- Thrive: $4.49 for 4.25 ounces ($1.05/ounce)
When comparing apples to apples (same brand or quality), Costco generally wins by a long-shot.
However, although Costco does carry a lot of amazing brands of whole-food, organic items both in the warehouse and at Costco.com, there are still many specialty things that Costco doesn’t carry.
If you want mostly organic items, or are on a specialty diet, Thrive Market is a good option. Thrive Market items are organic (whenever possible), non-GMO, and sustainably sourced and has many specific items that wouldn’t be found at Costco.
Although I buy at Costco when I can, here’s why I still find my Thrive Membership useful…
- If I want specialty items when following a specific diet (ie gluten-free). This kind of item wouldn’t be available at Costco.
- The Costco warehouse and Costco.com is always rotating new inventory in and out, so just because Costco has something today doesn’t mean they will always have it.
- Many things I buy on Costco.com are only available 75% of the time, so if you want to avoid the confusion of shopping at different places, or don’t want to spend the time checking every time–Thrive Market would be a more convenient option.
Check out tip #5 from this article on how to simply this process.
But, Is It Cheaper Than Amazon?
The simple answer is: sometimes. IF items are cheaper on Amazon, it’s usually for 2 main reasons:
1.) Larger Quanities
Generally, I have found certain items cheaper on Amazon, but often times in bulk quantities. For example:
For Simple Mills crackers individual packages:
Or Organic basil:
So, if you’re OK buying a box of 36 cracker bags, or a LOT of basil, you can actually save a bit on Amazon compared to Thrive Market.
2.) They are non-Organic or ‘off’ brands versions
Amazon can also be cheaper when you are OK buying the non-organic version of something or a less popular brand.
Where Thrive Market generally saves money is when you’re wanting to buy high-quality organic items and Costco doesn’t have it.
To save money for my family of 6 – I don’t buy everything organic. The things I choose to buy organic are meats (most of the time), herbs & spices, and products made from things on the dirty dozen/ clean 15 list.
BUT, organic items on Amazon aren’t always cheaper than those on Thrive Market. Some items are truly less expensive on Thrive Market (see below for my full list).
Thrive Market Membership Price guarantee
If you don’t make back your $60 membership fee in a year, Thrive will credit the difference in Thrive Cash (their version of store credit).
The average person saves about $30/per order compared to retail price. This calculation is based on retail price (rather than competitor pricing like Amazon) which can be comparable on many items.
Teachers, students, veterans, police officer, and low-income families and can apply for a free membership here.
How to Know if Thrive is Right for You
Because the value of Thrive membership really depends on who you’re buying for and what you’re buying, here are some things to consider:
- Great for specialty diets or preferences: if you’re doing specialty diet such as FODMAPS, Keto, AIP, grain-free, or soy-free…Thrive has 70+ categories of considerations that will give you new ideas & inspirations for foods to try.
- If you don’t live near a Costco warehouse (or don’t have a Costco membership at all) there may be more things on Thrive Market that are more cost effective compared to your local grocery store or Amazon.
- For convenience, you’d rather buy most of your health-food grocery items online in one place. #timesaver
TIP: Anything you buy, put in a favorites folder. This will allow you to see how many things you actually get there and if it makes sense for you.
Keep in mind…Thrive usually has smaller packaged items, so while the overall price may be cheaper, the price/ounce of a larger package may be more. To know if something is truly cheaper on Thrive, you have to compare the price/ounce.
What is Worth Buying on Thrive Market?
ALL things considered— If Costco doesn’t have it, and it doesn’t compare to the brands/prices available on Amazon I buy on Thrive.
Here are the things I buy regularly:
Herbs & Spices
Thrive is my go-to for organic herbs & spices at a great price ($4.30/oz compared to ~$5.00/oz elsewhere) without having to buy in bulk or a new bottle every time.
Unless you’re using a LOT of herbs or are sharing with someone else, often times bulk herbs end up going to waste.
Thrive Market herbs & spices are steam pasteurized (instead of irradiated), so flavor and nutrients are well maintained.
These are the staple spices I buy from Thrive to make my homemade herb blends:
For a full list of spices I buy from Thrive, take a peek at my Kitchen Inventory resource.
Nuts & Seeds
- Cashew butter ($0.90/oz) I like the ease of the squeeze packs
Canned & Bottled
- Salad Dressings I like Primal Kitchen Dressing- Ranch|Honey Mustard ($5.79/8oz | $0.72/oz)
- Nutpods non-dairy coffee creamer ($3.29/11.2 oz | $0.29/oz)
- Organic Seedless raisins ($5.99/lb | $0.37/oz)
- Spray Ghee ($4.12/ 5oz | $1.10/oz)
- Organic Coconut Aminos ($5.79/10oz | $0.58/oz)
- Coconut Cream ($2.79/13.5oz | $0.21/oz)
- Organic marinara sauce ($5/25oz | $0.20/oz) This tastes very similar to other popular brands like Mezzetta or Raos with savings of $1-$4/bottle (plus this one is organic, unlike the other brands)
- Tessemae’s Matty’s BBQ Sauce ($5.49/10oz | $0.55/oz)
- Thrive Market tuna (2.49/5oz | $0.50/oz)
Grains, Flours, Baking
- Chocolate Chips ($6.29/9oz | $0.70/oz) – milk, dark, semi-sweet
- Grain-free taco shells ($3.99/5.5oz | $0.73/oz)
- Jovial Foods gluten-free pasta ($3.49/12oz | $0.29/oz) penne|bowties|fettuccine|manicotti|lasagna|tagliatelle|spaghetti
- Gluten-free pizza crusts ($6.99/2 crusts)
- Gluten-free hot dog buns ($4.79/4 rolls)
- Gluten-free hamburger buns ($4.99/4 pack)
- Paleo Pizza crust mix ($7.99/16oz | $0.50/oz)
Snacks & Supplements
- Grass-fed Collagen Peptides (Vanilla|Chocolate) ($20/10oz | $2/oz)
- Fruit & Veggie Chips (price varies)
- Freeze Dried fruit (price varies)
- Dried fruit (apple rings | apricots | goji berries) ($5-$8/8oz)
Although Thrive has a wide variety of vitamins + supplements, I prefer the practitioner-grade supplements on Fullscript and Emerson Ecologics.
Baby + Kids
- Serenity Kids baby food pouches ($12-$20/6 pack)
- Good Pop Organic Freezer Pops ($9.99/24 | $0.50 each)
What I DON’T buy on Thrive Market
There are certain pantry staples, that I have found cheaper elsewhere (with similar quality and health). These include things like…
I’ve gone through EVERY ingredient we buy to find the cheapest/ healthiest place to buy each one (yep, budget nerd).
Is Thrive Market Right for You: The Verdict
We buy enough items from Thrive thats justifies the $60/year membership fee. Plus, the convenience of not having to go to Whole Foods for certain things is worth something 🙂
This is how Thrive Market fits into our family food on a budget…
- First, buy what you can at Costco. If you don’t live near a Costco, you can still find tons of savings at Costco.com
- Then, cost compare with Amazon. I was surprised to find that while some things are cheaper on Amazon, price for certain healthy brands are actually significantly more expensive.
- If it’s unavailable at Costco or on Amazon, Thrive Market will likely be cheaper compared to Whole Foods or other local health food/supplement stores.
See how it works for your family and try Thrive Market free for 30 days.
I’d love to hear…do you have a Thrive Market membership? What are the things you buy there to save money? Comment below and let me know!