CHICAGO -- Amazon Prime users must soon say goodbye to free Whole Foods delivery.
Starting on October 25, every Whole Foods delivery order placed through Amazon Prime will include a $9.95 delivery charge. Amazon Prime members were notified of the change via email Friday, CNN reported.
The new fee is designed to help cover operating costs associated with delivery like equipment and technology without raising grocery prices, a Whole Foods spokesperson said, noting that Whole Foods delivered three times as many orders in 2020 as it did in 2019. Whole Foods piloted the new fee in six markets over the summer - Portland, Maine; Providence, Rhode Island; Manchester, New Hampshire; and the greater Detroit, Boston and Chicago areas - before making the move nationally. There are extra fees for one-hour delivery orders.
Amazon acquired Whole Foods in 2017. The following year, it introduced free two-hour delivery from the grocer. Certain perks, like free one-hour grocery pickup, will remain for available to Prime members. The fee also does not apply to customers ordering delivery through Amazon Fresh.
The news comes as American consumers are paying more for food. Grocery prices rose 3% over the past year, according to the latest data measured by the Consumer Price Index, the country's key inflation measure. Restaurant prices rose 4.7% in the same period.
Online shopping for years has been considered immune to rising prices, but that changed in the pandemic. According to an analysis of visits to retail sites by Adobe Digital Economy Index, online prices rose 3.1% in August compared to the same month last year. Grocery was up 1.64%. That compares with an average increase of 0.51% between 2015 and 2019.
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