Amazon Fresh Stores have come to the Chicago area, with one now open in the northern suburb of Morton Grove, only a short drive from my house. So I went to check it out. I was disappointed to see none of my favorite low-salt and no-salt products on shelves.
Prices were comparable, or sometimes higher, than other mainstream supermarkets and the only sales I saw were in the produce section.
This is a high-tech store. You can shop and checkout with the Amazon app on your phone, with no need to wait on checkout lines. But the day I visited, everyone was on checkout lines, I saw no one going out through the automatic areas where you could scan your app to pay and exit.
.The store itself seemed a bit sterile with its black shelves and cameras hanging from the ceiling everywhere you walked. Unlike traditional supermarkets, the bakery was not near the entrance, so if they do bake there, you can’t smell it when you enter.
Produce is near the entrance and was well-stocked and maintained. One oddity — things like tomatoes and potatoes are sold on a per-item basis rather than a per-pound basis. I wonder how many people are confused by that?
The condiment aisle had no low-salt pickles, no low-salt olives and no low-salt salad dressings that I could find.
Whole Foods’ 365 brand products are scattered throughout the store, reminding you that Amazon owns that chain too. Is Amazon Fresh supposed to be a lower-priced alternative? It didn;t seem that lower-priced to me.
All in all, I see no reason to switch to this store from the several I shop at now to find low-salt, low-fat and low-sugar offerings. No one store can supply everything I need, certainly not an Amazon Fresh, from what I saw.
Amazon is still trying to figure out how to make money selling foodstuffs. Many have tried that before it and failed. Whether its edge in technology will help it succeed or not is a very open question. It certainly has the resources to lose money for years trying to get the formula correct.