The delivery service quietly cut its annual fee to $99 earlier this month.

By Mike Pomranz
November 29, 2018
SAUL LOEB/Getty Images

Amazon might own Whole Foods, but it doesn’t own the exclusive right to deliver their groceries. Competing grocery delivery service Instacart recently hammered home that point by dropping its annual fee in a move meant to better compete with Amazon Prime, according to Business Insider.

Instacart, which partners with approximately 300 different store chains, allows people to buy groceries and other stuff online which is then delivered by a personal shopper. One of those chains is Whole Foods, and interestingly enough, Instacart actually did have the exclusive rights to handle delivery for the brand before Amazon moved in.

But since, Instacart’s previous $149 annual fee suddenly seemed a bit steep when shoppers could get Whole Foods delivery as part of Amazon Prime for $119, so earlier this month, Instacart upped the ante by quietly dropping its annual fee down to just $99 for its Express membership, which includes no delivery fees on orders of more than $35. On top of these savings, the company has also axed its 5 percent service fee.

Though Business Insider has positioned the move as one that directly targets Amazon Prime, it’s worth noting that the two services are far from identical. Yes, Amazon Prime comes with a lot more benefits that two-hour Whole Food delivery: It also includes everything from free shipping on Amazon orders to original streaming video content. But Instacart isn’t a one trick pony either: Beyond Whole Foods, the service also delivers from other major brands like Target, Costco, and Aldi, most of which offer plenty of their own products that you can’t necessarily find through Amazon.

Still, it’s easy to understand why Instacart feels slighted by what’s happened and would want to try to push back a bit. “Whole Foods is a small and declining portion of our revenues,” Instacart Vice President of Business Development Sarah Mastrorocco said in a Bloomberg article earlier this year, pooh-poohing the impact of the Amazon merger. “The U.S. grocery market is $800 billion-plus. Whole Foods is less than 2 percent of that.” You can imagine that if Amazon eventually did kick out Instacart entirely, Instacart night end up saying "you can’t fire me because I quit!"

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