When you first hear about Thrive Market and its annual membership fee, you may wonder how it can bring you additional value, especially if you already have a Prime Membership and shop at Whole Foods.
Sure, Thrive offers the most competitive prices (up to 50% off retail) for the cleanest food and drink available online. Think Whole Foods quality at Wholesale prices per unit – and no, you don’t have to buy in bulk at Thrive.
But nonetheless, you might say to yourself, “What the heck! Why would I pay for ANOTHER membership to a shopping site?”
Well, that was my initial reaction, too.
But then I started to dig a little deeper and discovered how incorporating Thrive into my monthly shopping regimen could not only save me money (an average savings of $30 on each order) but also help me invest in my values in an easy, stress-free way.
Never mind the fact that Thrive offers a free 30-day trial, or that after signing up for an annual membership of $59, you are guaranteed to get back the difference in any savings not exceeding the membership cost each year.
Or that for every new membership, Thrive gives a free membership to a family in need, including teachers, students, veterans and first responders. Regardless of all that, here at Clean Foodie, we are all about proper vetting.
So without further ado, we present to you our deep dive review of Thrive Market…
Origins of Thrive Market
Before I get into how you can get the most savings out of a Thrive Market membership I’ll give some backstory on Thrive to anyone who may not be familiar.
Thrive Market was founded by Kate Mulling, Nick Green, Sasha Siddhartha, and Gunnar Lovelace. It was born as the brainchild of Gunnar, who had grown up below the poverty line under the care of a resourceful and values-driven mother. Gunnar knew very early on that he wanted to merge building a successful business venture with socially-focused philanthropy and community service.
Something that bothered him a great deal was the lack of access many Americans had to organic, healthy and reasonably priced food. He thought there had to be a way to utilize technology and supply chain innovation to make it easier for families to afford and actually have access to the same type of high-quality and healthy foods that Whole Foods’ shoppers have (Granted, Whole Foods has come a long way under the ownership of Amazon). You shouldn’t have to live in a metropolitan area or have a six-figure salary to be able to buy groceries if you’re gluten intolerant, vegan, or trying to eat a clean, organic diet. Obviously at Clean Foodie we’re passionate about the same things, which is why you can explore our reviews of restaurants, grocers, and more that meet our high standard of clean eating all across America, and which are often hidden gems.
Gunnar knew he would need to build a strong team of people to co-found such a venture, and most importantly, people who were passionate about the socially-driven vision of Thrive Market. Luckily, Nick, Sasha, and Kate each came on board with their own extensive experience founding and building successful tech companies and were just as passionate about creating a better way for people across America to access cleaner, healthier food.
In essence, these standards Thrive sets for the products they carry helps save you time as a conscientious buyer. How often have you been in the grocery store and had to investigate the ingredients on items vaguely labeled “natural” or packaged with green-washing imagery only to confirm that the items are not even close to meeting your requirements for eating clean? A million times? Yeah, same here. That is a big reason I enjoy shopping on Thrive so much – everything I browse through on the site is either organic, non-GMO, sustainable, and/or non-toxic. And many of the items on Thrive are a combination of all four things. Plus, all of their products are tagged and searchable in a way that makes it super easy to find items that fit into a specific diet category, like Gluten-Free, Paleo, Keto, Vegetarian, Vegan and more.
The Thrive Market Online Experience
This brings me to some of Thrive’s features that blow the in-store shopping experience out of the water. As I hinted above, search tags are the real game-changers at Thrive. Tags, my friends! I know that may not sound life-changing, but it kind of is. How Thrive tags their items in categories makes it so much easier to find items that satisfy all of the diet concerns you may have.
For example, are you looking for Organic, Gluten-Free, Ketogenic Noodles? They got you Boo! Are you looking for an easy way to find items that are Low FODMAP (low in fermentable carbohydrates) in support of a family member who is trying to manage their IBS symptoms? Thrive Market has made it so much easier to find foods that satisfy those guidelines! They’ve compressed what usually would be hours of label reading into one simple click. The same goes for finding foods without pesticides, non-GMO, no sugar, etc. You can drill down in the lefthand menu (as seen in the screenshot below) which is viewable on all shopping pages, or you can start your search on Thrive’s Shop by Diet and Values page.
I am telling you there is quite possibly nothing I love more in an online shopping experience than the ability to drill down with category specifics in order to QUICKLY turn the overwhelming number of product pages into targeted results that are EXACTLY what I’m looking for. And Thrive’s highly user-friendly website delivers that to me.
Speaking of delivering things to me! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself 😉 Thrive Market does offer free delivery, but only after you spend at least $49. This is why in the interest of making the most of your Thrive membership, I really don’t recommend that you use the site for those little “in between” shops, like when you need a quick item here or there for a recipe you decided to make on a whim. For those little “Shoot, I need almond flour!” moments, I recommend utilizing your Amazon Prime membership to take advantage of the Whole Foods one hour curbside pick-up. However, you can really make your dollar stretch at Thrive with the help of our trusty friend named ‘Strategy’.
Shopping with Strategy
Make a List
First things first, make a list of all of the items you use on a regular basis that you wish you could find an affordable clean version of. And I mean this literally. Go to the MY LISTS page under your profile and follow the cue to create a new list.
Next, search for your desired items within Thrive, and chances are you will find an organic alternative that is roughly 20% off the normal price. If you already use a brand you really like, try searching by brand name and you will likely find a more affordable option for that specific item. For example, I looked up the prices of Amy’s Organic Refried Beans online, and Thrive (the one on the far right in the pic below) beat out all the others. I encourage you to search elsewhere online for specific products to compare prices and see for yourself!
Your third item of business is to begin adding desired items to your list. They’ll be saved to your profile and super easy to find on a repeated basis for repeat purchases. At this stage, you also want to think about what items on your list that you use on a monthly basis and how much. For example, do you tend to go through a pound of rice, two boxes of cereal, a jar of sunflower butter, 2 boxes of 124-count non-toxic diapers, and so on every month? If so, check on the small box labeled “autoship & save an additional 5%”.
The autoship feature saves so much time on remembering to sit down and reorder items that you know you will use up on a consistent basis. And if you notice you’re not using all of an item by the end of the month, just go to the “manage autoship” link located in the black bar at the very top of your screen and remove it from your monthly order.
I’ve given you time-saving tips on making the most of your Thrive Membership, but now I really want to share with you how you can save money with your Thrive Market membership. Here’s what you’re going to do:
Deals & Thrive Cash
When you log into the site, go straight to the DEALS link.
On the Deals page, scroll down to the THRIVE CASH section. This is where you want to first look to see if a brand you tend to purchase is listed. If not, there is a high likelihood there will be a brand listed that offers a comparable product. This is a great place to start racking up Thrive Cash that you can use toward your next purchase, as items will range from 5% to 10% Thrive Cash, and sometimes go to 30% cashback.
Once you’ve gone through the Thrive cash offerings, scroll up to the EXTRA SAVINGS area and look for any items you might need or anything you want to try out, and you’ll be able to save anywhere between 10% and 25% on each item. And this is in addition to the already low retail price point. Chances are you’ll now have enough in your cart to take advantage of the FREE GIFTS area! This is the perfect place to test something you’ve been curious about, for free. Let’s face it, “free” makes everything a little better.
Another great way to accumulate Thrive Cash is by inviting friends to join Thrive. When you send them an invite (check your profile page for your referral link when logged into Thrive), they’ll receive an offer for 25% off their first order. Plus, every time an invited friend signs up for a monthly membership, you get $25 in Thrive Cash! You may be thinking, what if I end up with more Thrive Cash than I’m able to spend on organic tortilla chips and granola? Well, this is where Thrive’s Meat, Seafood, and Wine comes into play.
Putting Thrive Cash to Good Use
Thrive has curated an admirable selection of organic, grass-fed, sustainable meat and seafood that can be bought in bulk packages. Obviously these are higher ticket items, but when you compare the per serving cost to the same quality items at an average grocery store (assuming said grocery store has an above average selection of grass-fed meat) you’ll find the savings you’re looking for. This is also a pivotal area to vote with your dollars.
And if you’re stocking up on pasture-raised beef, chicken, and pork, you might as well go the full mile and transition to only drinking sustainable, biodynamic and/or organic wine. Grapes are one of the fruits most heavily sprayed with pesticides, particularly when it comes to mass-produced wine. And guess who ends up drinking those chemicals?
Thrive has created cases and half cases of wine from small producers who are committed to biodynamic, sustainable growing and production practices. I haven’t tried them myself (as my Lyme disease doesn’t like for me to drink a lot of wine), but according to friends who have, all of them have been really lovely. And at around $15 a bottle, this is a great deal for organic wine.
So if you’ve never had it in your budget to partake in truly clean meat and wine, racking up Thrive Cash is an easy way to do so. Yes, it will always cost more than the “cheapo stuff” but there’s a point to investing in a healthier planet – and a healthier you is worth paying the upgrade.
I’ve given you some ways to really make your $59.95 annual membership worthwhile. Now I’d like to give you some food for thought that ended up making a big difference in my choice to sign up for a membership.
Thrive Cash = Free Membership
First up, you are guaranteed to get the equivalent of your Thrive membership in savings every year. And I don’t mean that rhetorically – Thrive will actually give you any amount you don’t save as Thrive Cash. Let’s say you suffered from amnesia and forgot you had a Thrive membership for most of the year and your total savings on the site only adds up to $29.95. Thrive will then add $30 Thrive Cash into your account to make up the difference you spent on the membership fee.
But the icing on the cake for me was the fact that whenever someone pays for a Thrive Market membership, Thrive gifts a membership to a teacher, student, veteran, first responder or someone else otherwise eligible as part of their Thrive Gives program. Watch the video below to learn more. And if you fit into one of those categories, you can apply here.
Thrive has really made it easy for me to give to causes that I care about too. At checkout, I was asked if I wanted to donate 5% of my total to go towards providing a Thanksgiving meal for families in need. Yes, I do. Thank you, Thrive. And when the fires were devastating large portions of Australia, Thrive made it easy for me to donate to the relief effort. Moments like that add up and have really helped form the positive feelings I have about shopping on Thrive.
All of the above-mentioned aspects combined have made the Thrive Market membership fee totally worth it for me. And if I shop with some strategy to avoid delivery fees and take advantage of the best deals, I really get a bang for my buck while saving time to boot. That’s how you make the most of your Thrive Market membership folks. Plus, I’ve been blown away by the level of quality that Thrive Market offers: Clean goods for a price tag I can actually factor into my grocery budget in a responsible way.
Already a member of Thrive? Let other Clean Foodie readers know how you make the most of your Thrive Market membership by leaving tips in the comments section below!
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