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Thrive Market vs Rocky Mountain Naturals

Rocky Mountain Naturals versus Thrive Market

A Battle of two Food Stores focused on non-GMO and organic foods.  Side by Side comparisons are usually fun and often very revealing and informative.  This comparison reveals a bigger difference between them than expected.

Dozens of people have asked me about Thrive Market and Rocky Mountain Naturals so I thought a side by side comparison of them would be good.  I have shopped with Rocky Mountain Naturals a dozen times and have ordered from Thrive as well.

Let’s look at everything from product selection, packaging, prices, website and fees.  There are some similarities and some significant differences.

Revealed: Rocky Mountain Naturals wins hands down at safely delivering the cleanest products and most variety with no membership fee.  Their website loads lightning fast.  A page with 50+ product images will load in much less than a second.  There is no waiting for images to load.  You have to experience to understand.

 Rocky Mountain NaturalsThrive Market
Non-GMO Foods100% products = Non-GMOMost
Product Selection2500+2500+
Membership FeesFree$59.99 Yearly fee
Shipping CostsFree over $149
$4.99 over $100
Free over $49
PackagingExcellent
Triple-walled outer box
Average box strength
Some box damage
Ship Frozen & Refrigerated Foods?Yes
Impressive Custom Cooler
No
Prices35% less than most stores
Lowest Price Guarantee
35% less than most stores
Slightly less than Rocky on some items
Company Age4 YearsLess than 1 year
WebsiteBeautiful
Lightning fast load times
Modern Shopping List
Average functionality
Bland feel and look
Reputation/Customer ServiceExcellent reputation
Exceptional Customer service
Poor reputation but improving
Variable customer experinces
Additional InformationShips within 24 hours. Some orders ship same day.Orders can take 3-5 days to ship.
Claims to be the "only socially responsible" food store

Difficult to cancel Free Trial - Hundreds of online complaints
Carries some brands that Fight against GMO labeling - this is dissapointing

 

NON-GMO Products

This is a very important category for me and my family.  Non-GMO foods have no place in our home.

Rocky Mountain wins this category as they are the only online store I have found that offers exclusively non-GMO foods.  According to their product selection process, they only carry about 25% of the products or brands that ask to be carried.  I have found their selection process to be surprisingly disciplined.  These are the cleanest foods you can find.

Thrive Market also carries a lot of non-GMO foods which is great.  The difference I found is they also carry brands such as Kashi.  This was actually disappointing to me to see this and other similar brands.  In 2012 Kashi’s parent company donated $600,000 to Fight against labeling of GMO foods.  Once Vermont passed a low requiring GMO labeling, Kashi stood out against it.  Kashi was also caught a few years ago mislabeling ingredients as organic that were not.  In fact they admitted that some of their ingredients were non-GMO as it was difficult to find non-GMO ingredients.  Yet when Cornucopia Institute tested their Go Lean Cereal, it was found to be 100% genetically engineered soy.

I did email the product manager at Rocky Mountain and was informed that they have never carried Kashi for the reasons listed above.

Rocky Mountain wins here as they seem to do a much better job carrying only clean foods.

 

Overall Product Selection

This was close to a tie.  Each carried approximately 2500 products and each carried brands the other did not including some large and small brands. It appears that Thrive is expanding their product line a bit faster than Rocky but this could partly be due to a less stringent selection process.  At last check, Thrive does now have over 3000 products, giving it the edge, although not all the extra products are “clean.”

 

Membership Fees

Thrive Market has an annual membership fee of $59.95.  This was recently raised from the original $49.95  payable every year.

Rocky Mountain has no annual fee and is the clear winner.

However some of this is mitigated by the differences in shipping costs.

 

Shipping costs.

Thrive market has free shipping on orders over $49 and wins in this category.

Rocky Mountain has free shipping on orders over $149 and $4.99 on orders over $100.

Combining this with the membership fee of Thrive and it appears Thrive is targeted to people that will order less at a time but order at least 10 times throughout the year.  Rocky’s policy would favor those ordering $100 or more in a order and ordering even just one or two times per year.

On a personal note, we tend to place orders that average $100-$200 per order.

 

Boxes comparisonPackaging

Rocky is a clear winner in this category. There shipping boxes are exceptionally sturdy Triple walled boxes that can take a real beating without a dent.  When the orders get larger, double walled boxes are fitted inside the triple walled, giving 5 layers of corrugated cardboard.  I joked with my friends that they protected my Coconut oil better than my computer company did when my computer was shipped.

I was a bit disappointed with Thrive’s packaging.  The boxes were standard double walled only and one had a corner torn and side bent in.  You have to see Rocky Mountains boxes in person to see the difference.  Thrive also calls itself “the first socially responsible” food company and yet the left over packing material was 3x as much as with Rocky Mountain.

 

thrive packagingrocky packagingThis brings up one thing that really disappointed me.  In this fight against GMOs and promoting organic food, we need to all stick together.  Thrive, however, promotes itself as the first and only socially responsible organic food store.

This to me goes beyond marketing and is not only incorrect but very divisive. Disappointing and incorrect.

Just using Rocky Mountain Naturals as one example, we can see Thrive is not the only one.  Rocky Mountain’s “cooler” boxes for shipping frozen food are not made from just any foam, but rather non-GMO corn as insulation. Extremely socially conscious in my opinion.

 

Frozen & Refrigerated Food

Rocky Mountain sells and ships frozen foods, veggies, fruits, grass fed beef, Orca Bay seafood and other frozen foods.  They also ship refrigerated foods.

We have received 2 frozen shipments from them and even with a 2 day delivery the foods in the summer arrived frozen solid.  The cooler they use with dry ice and ice packs really impressed me. The refrigerated items are in a section above the frozen.

Thrive does not have frozen or refrigerated foods.  They did ship the chocolate bars in a cool insulation envelope with ice pack but it was melted and the chocolates had deteriorated in quality due to the heat.

rocky cooler box

boxes inner box arrow

 

 

Prices

This is very important when buying organic food as many are so highly priced.  Both companies did an excellent job at having prices lower than normal online organic food stores. On average both were about 35% less than Whole Foods Market, ShopOrganic or other online stores. Each had some products priced lower than the other.

Thrive had a slight edge with a few more lower priced than Rocky.  In a few instances, Rocky’s prices were much lower.  It did seem that Thrive has increased its prices on a few items recently and with their membership fee being increased as well, they may be feeling the pinch of business startup costs. Thrive is a newer company so this increase may need to be done even more in the near future.

Rocky’s prices on a few items have also dropped in the past couple months and this could possibly continue as they are gaining more and more customers.

 

Low Price Guarantee

Rocky Mountain, however, has a low price guarantee and will refund the difference if a customer finds a better price after purchasing.

 

Company Age

Thrive is less than 1 year old started around the end of 2014.  Rocky began distributing food in late 2011 and is 4 years old.

 

Website

There is a dramatic difference here.  You really need to check this out to understand.  Thrive’s website is a standard site with good checkout procedures.  Its product descriptions are a bit hard to read at times and some pages feel a bit empty and a bit bland, although there has been improvement in this regard in recent months.”

Rocky Mountain Naturals website is truly remarkable.  It has lighting fast load times and is very bright and pleasing.  I would challenge anyone to click on a brand like Eden or Amy’s that has a lot of products and try to scroll down the page faster than those 50+ product images can load.  There is no wait time at all.  I am extremely impressed with their new site which was introduced in October. Their old one was great in many ways but had very slow load times.  With this new design they have eliminated any wait time.

Rocky Mountain’s new site  has a shopping -List type cart.  I made a couple lists and I can bring up a list, remove an item add a couple others and be done shopping in a couple minutes.

 

Company Reputation/Customer Service

There seems to be a dramatic difference here.  Thrive Market really disappointed here.  My first order took over a week to be shipped, took 2 weeks to arrive and 3 different calls to customer service which provided me with 3 different answers as to where it was shipping from, how many different boxes would be shipped and if the order would arrive in pieces on separate days or all on the same day.

The first person I spoke with gave me a very poor impression.  I then did a Google search for Thrive Market shipping and read over 150 comments on 3 separate blogs with customer complaints on the topics of shipping times up to 3 weeks long, dented product cans and customer service.

Trying to Cancel Thrive Market’s Free Trial membership seems difficult and hundreds of customers have posted online about attempting to cancel the membership Free Trial for weeks and being charged the fee anyway.  This may be a company oversight due to Thrive being so new, but it is very problematic.

When I called to cancel my free 30 day trial, I was faced with a hard sell tactic of 10% off my next order if I stayed, then offered a half priced annual membership and it took 2 contacts with them to get it cancelled.  This felt like acts of desperation on the part of Thrive.

Rocky Mountain’s customer service has been excellent to work with.  Some of the best I have ever dealt with.

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