Skip to main content

Forget ‘Whole Paycheck’—This Grocery Chain Now Beats Many Competitors’ Prices

(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)



Whole Foods is shedding its expensive image with cheaper produce and core items.

September 12, 2014 By Sarah McColl

Sarah McColl has written for Yahoo Food, Bon Appetit, and other publications. She's based in Brooklyn.

“Whole Paycheck” may be a thing of the past.

The less-than-loving nickname for Whole Foods has been around for at least a decade, but thanks to some changes at the grocery store it may no longer apply.

If you’re asking incredulously, “On what planet is Whole Foods the cheaper option?” you’re echoing the exact question posed recently by WNYC’s Brian Lehrer. 

He dug into the matter of dropping prices after Bloomberg News reported that a basket of 97 items cost less at Whole Foods than at Manhattan grocery chains Gristede’s, Fresh Direct, Food Emporium, and D’Agostino.

It’s not magical thinking on the part of shoppers, nor is it only happening in New York.

In an effort to compete with chains such as Walmart and Kroger, which are elbowing their way into the kitchen for a piece of the very-much-in-demand organic pie, Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey said the chain is lowering its prices, particularly on produce. “For a long time Whole Foods had the field to ourselves, pretty much. That was nice, but we don’t any longer,” he said on an earnings call with investors. “So we’re adapting to the reality of the marketplace.”

Translation: Get ready to go wild in the track-lit bounty that is the produce section, the tunnel of plastic tubes in the bulk food aisle, and the hypnotizing gleam of the dairy case.

Cheapism recently found 25 items at a Seattle Whole Foods that were cheaper than those at the local Safeway. 

Those findings were quickly echoed in a report from Kiplinger’s that identified a list of products cheaper (or the same price) at Whole Foods than at a number of competitors, including Walmart and Trader Joe’s. Many of those items are the same ones Bloomberg highlighted, including milk.

 Whole Foods’ prices vary by store, but the similar price findings suggest that the bargain items listed by both sites are likely to be budget-friendly additions to your shopping list (see below).

Here are a few other tips for shopping on the cheap at Whole Foods:

Sign up for the email newsletter. Local specials and news (party in the rooftop garden!) are delivered to your inbox, meaning you can plan how you want to incorporate organic red grapes into a weekly meal plan before you get to the grocery store. (You’re also entered to win a $50 gift card when you sign up, so there’s that.)

Shop the sales. Check out old-fashioned print-and-clip coupons and The Whole Deal, available online and in stores. (There’s a Canadian edition too.) Recent specials included $2 off wild-caught frozen fish fillets or steaks and $1 off trail mix.

Shop your values (where you can afford it). Pole-caught tuna might always be more expensive than conventional net-caught tuna (sigh), but if sustainable seafood, organic chard, and cage-free eggs are important to you—and your budget allows it—Whole Foods is the place where these items are regularly a relative bargain and frequently go on sale. At the Brooklyn store, pole-caught tuna was recently on sale for two for $4. It makes sense: As Slate explains, there’s no reason to expect a conventional grocery store to have a price advantage on the kind of products that are Whole Foods’ specialty. This is where Whole Foods store brands 365 Everyday Value and 365 Everyday Value Organic can really shine.

What to add to your cart:

● Organic milk

● Shredded mozzarella

● Cream cheese

● Organic frozen vegetables 

When blogger Lisa Johnson shopped exclusively from Whole Foods using the USDA’s “thrifty” food budget of $16.31 per day for her family of three, she relied heavily on frozen veggies: “We wouldn’t have made it, frankly, without them.”

● Sweeteners Check out the prices on light brown sugar and organic powdered sugar, as well as maple syrup and organic raw agave nectar.

● Organic chicken broth

● Organic coconut oil

● Olive oil

● Grains Not all grains at Whole Foods are cheap, but check the prices on organic
quinoa, buckwheat, and jasmine rice.

● Pasta

● Peanut butter

● Organic popcorn

● Roasted whole nuts The bulk bins don’t necessarily mean bargains (look alive, shelled pistachios), but check out the prices on almonds and cashews.

● Energy bars

related stories on takepart

Popular posts from this blog


While "Flavor" is very subjective, and each country that grows mangoes is very nationalistic, these are the mango varieties that are the most sought after around the world because of sweetnesss (Brix) and demand.

The Chaunsa has a Brix rating in the 22 degree level which is unheard of!
Carabao claims to be the sweetest mango in the world and was able to register this in the Guiness book of world records.
Perhaps it is time for a GLOBAL taste test ???

In alphabetical order by Country....



Alphonso (mango)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alphonso (हापुस Haapoos in Marathi, હાફુસ in Gujarati, ಆಪೂಸ್ Aapoos in Kannada) is a mango cultivar that is considered by many[who?] to be one of the best in terms of sweetness, richness and flavor. 

It has considerable shelf life of a week after it is ripe making it exportable. 

It is also one of the most expensive kinds of mango and is grown mainly in Kokan region of western India.

 It is in season April through May and the fruit wei…

Mangoes date back 65 million years according to research ...

Experts at the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany (BSIP) here have traced the origin of mango to the hills of Meghalaya, India from a 65 million year-old fossil of a mango leaf. 

The earlier fossil records of mango (Mangifera indica) from the Northeast and elsewhere were 25 to 30 million years old. The 'carbonized leaf fossil' from Damalgiri area of Meghalaya hills, believed to be a mango tree from the peninsular India, was found by Dr R. C. Mehrotra, senior scientist, BSIP and his colleagues. 

After careful analysis of the fossil of the mango leaf and leaves of modern plants, the BISP scientist found many of the fossil leaf characters to be similar to mangifera.

An extensive study of the anatomy and morphology of several modern-day species of the genus mangifera with the fossil samples had reinforced the concept that its centre of origin is Northeast India, from where it spread into neighbouring areas, says Dr. Mehrotra. 

The genus is believed to have disseminated into neighb…

INDIA 2016 : Mango production in state likely to take a hit this year

TNN | May 22, 2016, 12.32 PM IST

Mangaluru: Vagaries of nature is expected to take a toll on the production of King of Fruits - Mango - in Karnataka this year. A combination of failure of pre-monsoon showers at the flowering and growth stage and spike in temperature in mango growing belt of the state is expected to limit the total production of mango to an estimated 12 lakh tonnes in the current season as against 14 lakh tonnes in the last calendar year.

However, the good news for fruit lovers is that this could see price of mangoes across varieties decrease marginally by 2-3%. This is mainly on account of 'import' of the fruit from other mango-growing states in India, said M Kamalakshi Rajanna, chairperson, Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation Ltd.

Karnataka is the third largest mango-growing state in India after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Inaugurating a two-day Vasanthotsava organized by Shivarama Karantha Pilikula Nisargadhama and the Corporation at P…