Very often I will hear from others they cannot afford Whole Foods Market and I think this is a really important topic to touch upon! First thing is first: Food in general these days is expensive! Even at “regular” grocery stores a box of cereal or a gallon of milk can easily be $4 or $5 dollars which are some of the biggest staples in an American household. Even if you are an avid coupon user and shop at Warehouse stores I know a big chunk of everyone’s income goes toward food.
So, is Whole Foods really as expensive as everyone claims it to be? Yes and no. Let’s start with the produce section. I used to live in CA and was spoiled by the GORGEOUS farmers markets. They had insanely fresh produce for less than you would pay at Whole Foods. Now I have to go with the next best thing which is Whole Foods because having top-notch produce is important to me. Overall, their produce is pretty on par with competitor’s stores and I comparison shop- A LOT! Please note, I am specifically referring to organic produce. Whole Foods is constantly having sales on produce. I have scored excellent quality produce for very fair prices that beat ALL competitor’s stores all summer! For example, their organic strawberries and raspberries have been on sale numerous times all summer for $2.50/clamshell and that price consistently beat other stores. I bought beautiful Romaine on sale a few weeks ago for 0.99 cents a head. Their kale has been on sale the past few days for 0.99 cents which is cheaper than anywhere else right now and FRESH. Their organic grapes are $2.99/lb right now while they are $4.99/lb elsewhere. Oh, and when I was there this morning I noticed their watermelon was 0.33 cents/lb! I mean these are excellent deals!
Let’s talk about their packaged foods section. Staples like peanut butter, cereal and bread are a lot no matter where you shop. Whole Foods carries their own version of pretty much each staple which in general is no more expensive than generic brands at other stores and sometimes less. They also have a wonderful bulk bin section where you only buy what you need and everything is less per pound. You only need one cup of rice for dinner? That’s all you’ll pay for! You throw the 3-day sales Whole Foods has every Friday on top of the dozens of coupons they pump out, you are not spending anymore on stapes here. And the added bonus of buying staples here is how many non-GMO products they carry. If your health is important to you then non-GMO probably is too.
While I don’t eat meat or fish anymore I know theirs is expensive, organic or not. That’s the price you pay for good quality meat as theirs really is excellent. Additionally, it is VERY expensive to produce meat these days. The amount of water and feed needed for these animals is astronomical. So of course this will be reflected in the price. I do remember them constantly having sales but this may be one department you would shop elsewhere for. Meat is injected with hormones and steroids so my advice would be to try and cut back to meat consumption once or twice a week. Additionally, even if you can’t buy organic, try and go with the conventional meat at Whole Foods as they are conscious about not adding unnecessary hormones.
The salad bar is either $7.99 or $8.99/lb., which of course is pricey. One can easily fill up their eco-friendly containers chock full of various gourmet quinoa salads only to find they’re out $15 at checkout. Then there are the pizza ovens wafting glorious smells and the sandwich station with about a dozen artisanal breads to choose from. One could easily walk out of this section spending upwards of $20 on their lunch break because their eyes were simply bigger then their stomach. Throw in that Raspberry-Chia Kombucha before checking out and you might swear off coming for the rest of the month.
So…are there expensive things at Whole Foods? YES! Are there regular items priced accordingly for the common folk? Yes and Yes! You have to remember their prepared foods section is like a mini restaurant. You would spend the same thing going out to a health-conscious establishment. Whole Foods gets such a bad reputation because it really is hard to control oneself in there! We go in planning to buy a couple of things only to come out with 10. If you can work on self-control and plan your meals out accordingly you can score some fantastic deals buying some excellent quality items! Treat the main part of the store like your regular grocery shop and save the prepared foods sections for a “cheat day” or a “take-out day.” Peace and health…thank you for reading this article :).