The Rich Miser

Whole Paycheck? Comparing the New Whole Foods Prices with the Competition

Lead by the man with the plan (Jeff Bezos), Amazon bought Whole Foods, the foodie paradise so expensive as to be nicknamed “Whole Paycheck”. As part of his quest for world domination, Mr. Bezos has now lowered prices there.

But that doesn’t say much. Are prices now competitive, or did they just go from super-expensive to very-expensive? My hometown paper, the Miami Herald, did some field work and found out.

Whole Foods vs Publix vs Trader Joe’s

So the enterprising Herald went comparison shopping at the reduced-price Whole Foods, as well as at the always-friendly Trader Joe’s and at Publix (which claims that it’s “where shopping is a pleasure”). They picked some common goods, and wrote down the prices at all three places. Let’s see some of what they found out.

Trader Joe’s

Fruits

Tomatoes (yes, tomatoes are fruits):

  • Publix: $2.79 per pound
  • Whole Foods: $1.99
  • Trader Joe’s: $1.59 per pound

Winner: Trader Joe’s

Organic Apples

  • Trader Joe’s: $1.99 per pound
  • Whole Foods: $1.99
  • Publix: $1.38 per pound

Winner: Publix

Publix, back in the day. From: Flickr.

Dairy

Store Brand Organic Butter, 16oz

  • Publix: $6.69
  • Whole Foods: $4.49
  • Trader Joe’s: $2.99

Winner: Trader Joe’s

Animals

Salmon

  • Publix: $12.39 per pound
  • Trader Joe’s: $10.99 per pound
  • Whole Foods: $9.99 (before the price reductions, $10.49)

Winner: Whole Foods

Salmon…good for you.

Overall

The Herald shopped a list of 10 items at each store, and found that, overall, it cost $54.86 at Publix, $43.70 at Whole Foods, and $41.50 at Trader Joe’s.

What Does This All Mean?

First, the obvious: prices at Whole Foods are down. But second, what about Whole Foods versus other stores?

It seems that, on the whole, Trader Joe’s has the best bang for your buck. However, my experience with Trader Joe’s is that, while the food and drink are of great quality, the selection is limited (and sometimes they get mobbed by customers and run out of items). In contrast, Whole Foods and Publix tend to have a bigger selection, reducing or eliminating the need to go to multiple stores (especially if you want to make grandma’s recipe and are missing that key ingredient).

He likes the selection! From: Giphy

Speaking of money, the lowest prices I’ve seen are at WalMart and ALDI. ALDI has no-name brands, but the prices are incredible. Also, Lidl promises prices that are even lower than ALDI’s, and is now expanding in the US.

So, in sum, you’ll generally find higher prices and better selection at Whole Foods or Publix. On the other hand, you’ll find lower prices and worse selection at Trader Joe’s, ALDI, or Lidl.

Happy shopping!

Credit: Miami Herald, Business Insider

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2 thoughts on “Whole Paycheck? Comparing the New Whole Foods Prices with the Competition

  1. Joe @ Average Joe Finance

    Thanks for sharing. I was curious to see how Whole Foods new prices compared to the competition but hadn’t had a chance to get to a store yet. It will be interesting to see if Amazon continues to lower prices so that it consistently beats Trader Joe’s as well or if it is happy with middle of the road pricing.

    1. The Rich Miser Post author

      Absolutely. Though maybe it does not have to beat it (just come close) since the selection is usually better than Trader Joe’s. It’s definitely interesting to watch and see how the new strategy develops.

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