How Much We Really Saved Shopping At The New Lower-Priced Whole Foods

Last week, Amazon and Whole Foods released a joint statement about their merger that included information on what shoppers at both retailers can expect from the companies in the future. Some things, like a rewards system for Prime members, didn't have a timeline attached. But one thing did — lower prices on many popular Whole Foods items, starting today.

The list includes many grocery staples, like milk, eggs, and butter, as well as bananas, apples, and avocados, and means permanent prices cuts of nearly 50% on certain buys. While more price cuts are coming in the future, we were curious what the first round of changes would mean for a weekly grocery trip. To find out, I went to my local Whole Foods and did a fairly typical shop for about a week's of food/cooking. Then, I tallied my overall savings.

Ahead, how much I spent, how much I saved, and a few things I noticed about the updated prices.

While I definitely tried to take advantage of the newly cheaper prices on some items, I also made sure they didn't dictate my overall meal plan for the week. One of the price cuts applied to both whole and half rotisserie chickens, so I built a few meals around chicken, including ingredients for quesadillas, sandwich wraps, and salad staples. The red onion, tomatoes, and cilantro will do double duty for easy guac and salsa to be used as dips and condiments throughout the week. I also grabbed some staples: eggs, balsamic vinegar, and coffee, as well as fruit for snacks and breakfast.

Of the sixteen products I bought (check out the full list and savings at the end), six were part of the first roll-out of price cuts, and ten were the original price. The total was $50.33, which is about what I normally try to spend on a week of food for myself. Had I bought the exact grocery list a day earlier, I would have spent $56.99. While a difference of $6.66 doesn’t seem that huge, that’s an overall savings of 12%. If I was able to save an average of 12% a trip over a calendar year, that could be close to $300 in savings — and that’s without knowing how many more products will have lower prices in the coming months.
A few other things I noticed while browsing: Not every deal is the lowest price available. Prices were slashed on organic butter, though the regular salted and unsalted butters are still the cheapest. Shredded cheese is still a huge mark-up on block cheese. I also noticed how many 365 brand items are already lower priced: the balsamic vinegar was only $2.99, and the organic black beans, 99 cents. Finally, the discounted prices tended to favor 365 brands items or items with only one brand being sold. (Whole trade and organic are the only bananas available, versus a myriad of dried pastas.) If this is a harbinger of future price cuts, I wouldn't be surprised to see the overall availability of 365 store brand items grow as prices lower. While some things will stay the same at Whole Foods, this is just the beginning of the changes shoppers will see, both in store and on their credit card statements.
Items With Price Cuts
365 Organic Fiesta Shredded Cheese: $6.99 (previously $7.99)
Rotisserie Chicken: $7.99 (previously $8.99)
2 Hass Avocados at $1.49/each: $2.98 (previously $5 at $2.50/each)
5 Whole Trade Bananas @ $0.49/lb: $0.91 (previously $1.46 at $79/lb)
365 Cage-Free Large Brown Eggs: $2.99 (previously $3.49)
4 Organic Gala Apples @ $1.99/lb: $3.16 (previously $4.75 at $2.99/lb)

Items With Unchanged Prices
Organic Cilantro: $1.99
365 Organic Romaine Hearts: $3.99
Three Beans Light Roast Coffee: $4.99
Onion at $1.49/lb: $0.77
Cherry Tomatoes: $2.50
Sour Cream: $1.69 365
Balsamic Vinegar: $2.99
365 Organic Black Beans: $0.99
2 Limes at 5/$3: $1.20
365 Organic Whole Wheat Tortilla: $3.49

Total: $50.33 (previously $56.99)
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