Amazon.com upped the competition for convenient food buying on Wednesday when it said it would expand its two-hour Prime Now home delivery service to Portland and 12 other markets.
Whole Foods Market, the organic grocer that Amazon bought for $13.7 billion in 2017, will deliver the food to Amazon Prime members. Those members pay a $119 per year membership fee.
Amazon cut prices on some Whole Foods items, including bananas, avocados, brown eggs, farmed salmon and tilapia, baby kale and lettuce, some apples, butter and other products, immediately after the purchase to become more competitive in local markets.
Whole Foods already had a pick-up service in Portland. Other grocers in Maine, including Walmart and Hannaford, also have grocery pickup at selected stores.
“It’s just another way we’re making it even easier for more customers to enjoy Whole Foods Market’s healthy and organic food,” Christina Minardi, Whole Foods Market’s executive vice president of operations at its Austin, Texas, headquarters, said in a statement.
A Whole Foods spokesperson said the pick-up service in Portland will end on May 15, when the store’s partnership with Instacart will end.
The delivery service started Wednesday. Prime members can shop through Amazon’s Prime Now to buy fresh produce, meat, seafood and other staples. Whole Foods will then assemble and deliver the food within two hours.
The two-hour delivery service is free to Prime members on orders of more than $35, an Amazon spokesperson said. One-hour delivery is available for $7.99 to Prime members on orders of $35 or more.
The service is available daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The service areas in Greater Portland include Topsham, Lisbon and New Gloucester in the north, Biddeford in the south and Brunswick and the coast in the east to Gray, Windham and Buxton in the west, the Amazon spokesperson said. Shoppers who want to see if delivery is available in their area can enter their zipcode on the primenow.com website.
Whole Foods will have a shopper pick the items after an order is placed on Amazon, after which it will be stored in a temperature-controlled area until a driver arrives to deliver the order.
The other 12 markets where delivery was expanded Wednesday are in Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Alabama, Mississippi and California. Some states have multiple locations.
The service is now up and running in 88 U.S. metropolitan locations. Amazon said it will continue to expand locations this year.