Whole Foods is working hard to shake off its reputation as "Whole Paycheck."
And now that more and more major chains are increasing their offering of organic and socially responsible food items, Whole Foods is lowering its prices to prove that it doesn't cost an arm or leg to shop at its stores.
Here are the six things that are actually cheaper at Whole Foods than most major food chains.
1. Canned Organic Black Beans
Food bloggers started noting that a can of organic black beans was cheaper at Whole Food as early as 2008. Additional price comparisons in subsequent years have continued to confirm the lower price of canned organic black beans at Whole Foods than at major grocery chains. For example, in July 2015 at a Whole Foods store in Honolulu, I found a 15 oz. can of 365 Organic Black Beans for $1.99, which was 40 cents cheaper than a 15 oz. can of Safeway's Organics Black Beans at a nearby location.
2. Vegetarian Sausage Links
Deals site Cheapism compared the prices of items at a Whole Foods on Long Island, New York against those with a nearby ShopRite. One of the items that stands out is a 14-ounce pack of Tofurkey vegan sausage links.
The price of the 14 oz. pack of Tofurky vegan sausage links was just $2.99 at the Whole Foods store, while the price for the same product at the ShopRite store was a whopping $5.49. That's savings of almost 40 cents per ounce, or $2.50 per pack!
I couldn't find the 14 oz. pack of Tofurky vegan sausage links at the Safeway store, so I wasn't able to do an apples-to-apples comparison with my local Whole Foods. However, the store was running specials on this item ranging from two-for-$7 to two-for-$9.
3. Organic Milk
As a Hawaii resident, this is one price I had to check out. A comparison of prices in the Seattle area between a Whole Foods (365 Everyday Value brand) and a nearby Safeway (O Organics brand) revealed that a gallon of organic milk costs 30 cents less at Whole Foods.
Another price comparison in Nashville, Tennessee put Whole Food's price of a gallon of organic milk at a much lower $3.69, beating Harris Teeter, Kroger, Trader Joe's, and even Walmart by at least $1. Surprisingly, Walmart had the highest price for a gallon of organic milk at $6.48.
Neither Safeway nor Whole Foods carry gallons of organic milk in Honolulu. At the Whole Foods in Honolulu, I found a half gallon of Organic Valley organic milk for $6.99. On the other hand, the same half gallon cost $8.29 at the nearby Safeway. Also, I found that a half gallon of Horizon Organic organic milk was cheaper at Whole Foods ($6.29) than at Safeway ($7.99).
Given the lower prices of milk in 2015, you may be able to score even cheaper organic milk prices at your local Whole Foods. (See also: 8 Buys That Will Be Cheaper in 2015)
4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Here's an item that is guaranteed to provide big savings.
No matter whether it's organic or conventional extra virgin oil (cold processed), Whole Foods olive oil is cheaper.
- A 33.8 oz. bottle of organic extra virgin oil (cold processed) was $4 cheaper at a Whole Foods store ($12.99) in Seattle than a nearby Safeway store ($16.99).
- A 33.8 oz. bottle of conventional extra virgin oil (cold processed) was also $4 cheaper at the same Whole Foods store ($7.99) than at the nearby Safeway store ($7.99).
- In Nashville, Tennessee, the 33.88 oz. bottle of conventional olive oil was also several dollars cheaper than at Harris, Teeter, Kroger, and Walmart.
- In Honolulu, a 33.8 oz. bottle of organic extra virgin oil (cold processed) was $4 cheaper at Whole Foods ($11.99) than at nearby Safeway ($15.99).
Pound for pound, almonds are the savings winner at Whole Foods.
- A pound of whole almonds were at least $2 cheaper than at Harris Teeter, Kroger, and Walmart.
- $5.99 would get you just nine ounces of Snack Artist-brand almonds at Safeway, but a full 16 ounces of 365 Everyday Value almonds at Whole Foods.
Several sites report that you can obtain similar savings with most types of nuts, such as cashews.
(Disclaimer: the Safeway store that I visited in July 2015 didn't have almonds available on that day, so I couldn't compare its prices to Whole Foods.)
6. Taco Tuesday
Besides its wide selection of natural and organic items, one of the main draws to Whole Foods is the selection of yummy prepared foods. If you're looking for one of the cheapest prepared food options at a major grocery chain, then look no further than Whole Foods $1 Taco Tuesday.
Several locations, such as Pasadena and Thousand Oaks in California, and Kahala in Hawaii, have offered or continue to offer soft tortilla, street style tacos at $1 each on Tuesdays.
At Kahala, you can choose your main filling from hormone and antibiotic-free chicken, pork, or veggies, and you can pick pico de gallo, raw onions, cilantro, and hot sauce toppings. You get two small corn tortillas per taco, which are quite loaded. This writer reports that three of these soft tacos are enough to satisfy your Mexican food fix.
These six items show that, if you look carefully, your buck can go a longer way at Whole Foods than at other major chains.