The struggle is real for health-food lovers and conscious eaters who are living abroad for short periods of time because they might not be very familiar with the local flair and miss things and tastes they are accustomed to. If you live abroad, you are likely to miss the soothing scent of cleaning supplies, beauty items, the quality of vitamins and supplements, and the taste of food you used to eat back home. We might be all for supporting the local economy and trying something new, but once in a while we just want something from home and there is nothing wrong with that.
Our experts are familiar with Lithuanian way of life and have been based there for the last few years. Local health market there and in all other European and Asian countries has exploded in the last decade, so local offers of natural foods and products is mind-boggling, but sometimes we feel like getting a few healthy things from home, namely from Vitacost and iHerb.
Which one of the two is better?
It’s very hard to answer to this question because of many variables. Let’s examine it closer and dive deeper:
What shipping costs do we deal with?
When it comes to shipping, iHerb wins hands down. It’s sometimes free and sometimes just $4 for up to 4 pounds of weight. Vitacost is more than twice as expensive at $9.99. It’s also worth noting that Vitacost does not ship to as many countries as iHerb. Those shipping charges are a subject to change, as proven by iHerb when it changed the policy recently and started basing international shipping per pound without flat shipping. They discounted it again since then, but our point is to advise you to keep an eye on those fluctuating prices. iHerb shipping policy works best for vitamins and supplements that are typically in plastic containers and light. The company periodically has promotions such as free shipping for orders over $40, so in general we love iHerb shipping system and don’t run into any problems with it.
As long as your total order is under $52, we never had any problems with customs. If you go above that, you might be charged or not – it depends on your luck.
Is shipping weight ever a problem?
The weight of the product is reflected very differently by Vitacost and iHerb. Vitacost weight of the same item is often lower. The paradox is that even though Vitacost weight limit is 3.6 pounds, we are able to get more items than on iHerb with their 4 pound limit. If you have time and want to be sure you are getting the best deal, load up the cart on both sites with items that you need and see which will give you a better shipping deal.
Which company offers better prices?
Both Vitacost and iHerb are relatively similar when it comes to pricing, but occasionally we see better regular prices on identical items at Vitacost. This is not an iron-clad rule though and you will discover cheaper prices at iHerb sometimes. Both companies offer periodic sales and discount coupons, so always check for those before buying. In general the best shopping method is by comparison, meaning that you should shop at both sites and discover what works best for you.
- 11% OFF Your Order of $20 or more
- 10% on Your First Order
- Up to 75% OFF Daily Deals
What about shipping speeds abroad?
This is a tough question because there are many variables involved not only with the shipping company, but local customs and postal offices too. The experience really differs from country to county and from day to day. Most of the time we receive our shipments from Vitacost and iHerb to Lithuania in 1-2 weeks.
Which company offers more variety?
Both websites are loaded with thousands of items. Vitacost seems to have more of what we need, but there are so many products we haven’t tried from iHerb.
Do they both offer points for loyalty?
Yes, both companies have a loyalty programs, but none of them offers points. The way it works is you get a referral code upon creating a new account and $10 off your first order. The code stays with you for as long as you are a user and can be given to your friends who also want to become Vitacost or iHerb customers. They will get $10 off their first order and you will be awarded some discount for that, depending on the amount spent by your friends. However, we have heard that people had some trouble with Vitacost while applying the $10 discount.
Vitacost often offers coupon codes to help you save. And one more trick – if you put something in your cart and don’t check out for a day or two, you will get an email with a discount code to encourage you to finish your purchase.
- 10% OFF Your Order
- New Customers – 20% OFF Your Order
- 50% OFF Second Item
What is the verdict?
The verdict is that it depends. As we said above, it makes sense to open both websites, shop, and then compare the carts for weight, total amount, and shipping charges as those tend to change all the time. Once you do the comparison and pick the winner, just click “order” if you have your shipping and payment information saved on both.