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What's Cheap At Whole Foods

25 Items That Actually Cost Less at Whole Foods

Posted on 4/8/2014 12:21 EST

Nicknamed "Whole Paycheck" by snarky shoppers, Whole Foods Market has earned a reputation for unaffordable prices. Although it's true the health-food giant stocks plenty of high-end goods, many items are actually less expensive than comparable products at a traditional grocery store. Don't believe it? Cheapism.com did some shopping cart reconnaissance at a Whole Foods Market and a Safeway store in the same Seattle-area neighborhood to compare the cost of over 200 similar products. Here are 25 items that were cheaper at Whole Foods.

whats cheap at whole foods
Photo by flickr.com/mhaller1979

  1. Organic Milk
    Whole Foods: $4.99
    Safeway: $5.29
    Organic milk costs more than the conventional variety, but consumers can shave a little off the total by buying at Whole Foods. The retailer's 365 Everyday Value brand beats out Safeway's O Organics brand by 30 cents per gallon.

  2. Non-Dairy Milk
    Whole Foods: $1.69-$4.39
    Safeway: $2.59-$4.99
    Whole Foods has the advantage in non-dairy milk, offering a larger selection and better pricing overall. Califia Farms Almondmilk is 60 cents cheaper and 365 Everyday Value rice milk costs more than a dollar less than Rice Dream, the name brand Safeway carries.

  3. Shredded Mozzarella
    Whole Foods: $3.99
    Safeway: $4.49
    Cheese isn't cheap at Whole Foods, but a bargain hides in the dairy case. Skip the 365 Everyday Value bar and stick cheeses, which retail for at least twice the cost of Safeway's Lucerne products, and pick up a 16-ounce bag of shredded mozzarella for a 50-cent savings.

  4. Organic Popcorn
    Whole Foods: $1.99
    Safeway: $2.69
    Opponents of genetically modified corn seek out organic popcorn in the snack aisle. At Whole Foods, Cheapism found 365 Everyday Value pre-popped popcorn for 70 cents less than Safeway's O Organics brand. Despite a 1-ounce difference in size, the Whole Foods version is still the better deal.

  5. Energy Bars
    Whole Foods: $1.29-$1.49
    Safeway: $1.50-$1.67
    Energy bars are a popular option for on-the-go refueling, but stocking up can add up quickly. Consumers can save a little by buying at Whole Foods: Larabars run 21 cents less and Kind bars 18 cents less than Safeway prices.

  6. Pretzels
    Whole Foods: $1.89
    Safeway: $2.49
    Whole Foods sells its 365 Everyday Value pretzels for 60 cents less than Snack Artist twists at Safeway. What's more, the Whole Foods bag holds 16 ounces of pretzels, 3 ounces more than the Safeway house-brand package.

  7. Organic Frozen Vegetables
    Whole Foods: $1.79-$1.99
    Safeway: $2.79
    Conventional frozen vegetables cost several cents less at Safeway, but the organic versions are cheaper at Whole Foods. Shoppers who take home 16-ounce bags of 365 Everyday Value organic frozen vegetables save 80 cents on peas and $1 on corn.

  8. Organic Quinoa
    Whole Foods: $4.49
    Safeway: $5.19
    A prepackaged bag of organic quinoa at Whole Foods represents a cost savings of 70 cents over the Safeway price. (Both the Whole Foods and O Organics brand quinoas come in 16-ounce bags.)

  9. Organic Chicken Broth
    Whole Foods: $1.99
    Safeway: $2.59
    A 365 Everyday Value carton of this pantry staple costs 60 cents less than the same size carton of O Organics broth. However, brand loyalists take note: Pacific organic chicken broth is 40 cents less expensive at Safeway.

  10. Organic Pasta Sauce
    Whole Foods: $2.29
    Safeway: $2.79
    Results were mixed when Cheapism compared the two stores' signature brands of conventional pasta sauce, but the organic picture is clear: Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value spaghetti sauce beats Safeway's price by a full 50 cents.

  11. Elbow Macaroni
    Whole Foods: 99 cents
    Safeway: $1.29
    It's not worth a special trip to Whole Foods for the 30 cents you'll save on a 16-ounce bag of elbow pasta, but this well-priced macaroni makes a good add-on if you're already headed that way.

  12. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Whole Foods: $7.99-$12.99
    Safeway: $8.99-$16.99
    If you need one good reason to plan an excursion to Whole Foods, this may be it: Conventional 365 Everyday Value olive oil goes for $4 less than a Safeway Select bottle of the same size ($1 less with a Safeway Club Card). Likewise, Whole Foods' store-brand organic olive oil is $4 cheaper than Safeway's O Organics brand.

  13. Organic Balsamic Vinegar
    Whole Foods: $3.69
    Safeway: $6.29
    To accompany a bottle of bargain olive oil, snag some 365 Everyday Value organic balsamic vinegar. Whole Foods offers it for $2.60 less than Safeway's O Organics brand. The $6.60 savings between the two purchases can cover a couple loaves of crusty bread for dipping.

  14. Organic Sweeteners
    Whole Foods: $3.49-$3.99
    Safeway: $3.49-$4.29
    Whole Foods sells 365 Everyday Value organic light brown sugar for 80 cents less and organic powdered sugar for 30 cents less than the O Organics versions at Safeway. The two stores carry different size bottles of organic raw agave nectar, but the per-ounce cost is 14 cents less at Whole Foods.

  15. Organic Coconut Oil
    Whole Foods: $5.99
    Safeway: $8.39
    Whether used for cooking, soothing burns, or conditioning hair, coconut oil has become a hot item on grocery store shelves. For frugal fans of this up-and-comer, Whole Foods sells a store-brand version for $2.40 less than Spectrum-brand coconut oil at Safeway.

  16. Organic Condiments
    Whole Foods: 8-18 cents/oz.
    Safeway: 11-22 cents/oz.
    As grilling season gets underway, it's time to freshen up the hot-dog toppers languishing in the fridge. Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value organic mustard is 4 cents less per ounce than Safeway's O Organics mustard and organic ketchup runs 3 cents cheaper.

  17. EnviroKidz Cereals
    Whole Foods: $2.99
    Safeway: $3.79
    The organic, non-GMO kids' cereals Gorilla Munch and Panda Puffs are cheaper at Whole Foods. Cheapism tallied up a price difference of 80 cents between the natural-foods market and a nearby Safeway for the exact same product.

  18. Peanut Butter
    Whole Foods: $2.79
    Safeway: $2.99
    Both grocers sell this lunchbox staple in 18-ounce jars under their store brands, but the Safeway Kitchens conventional peanut butter rings up 20 cents higher than Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value variety.

  19. Cereal Bars
    Whole Foods: $1.99
    Safeway: $2.99
    For busy mornings and in-transit breakfasting, 365 Everyday Value cereal bars retail for 4 cents less per bar than Safeway's Eating Right version. The cost difference isn't huge, but these are a worthwhile buy if you're going to be shopping at Whole Foods already.

  20. Paper Towels
    Whole Foods: $6.99
    Safeway: $7.49
    An eight-roll pack of 365 Everyday Value paper towels wipes away the Safeway Home brand in both price and yardage. Whole Foods customers pay 50 cents less and get almost 45 more square feet of cleanup.

  21. Dog Biscuits
    Whole Foods: $3.99
    Safeway: $4.99
    Whole Foods' brand of dog biscuits, called Whole Paws, sells for $1 less per 20-ounce box than 24 ounces of Milkbone biscuits or 18 ounces of the brand's "healthy" biscuits. Milkbone was the cheapest name brand at Safeway, which doesn't offer store-brand pet food.

  22. Roasted Whole Nuts
    Whole Foods: $5.99/16 oz.
    Safeway: $5.99/9 oz.
    Roasted tree nuts provide a protein boost and a high-energy snack, but they're an expensive buy. Consumers can maximize their spending at Whole Foods, where 9 ounces of roasted almonds cost the same amount as 16 ounces at Safeway. Similarly, 16 ounces of 365 Everyday Value cashews total 30 cents less than an 8.5-ounce package of Snack Artist cashews at Safeway.

  23. Organic Russet Potatoes
    Whole Foods: $1.49/lb.
    Safeway: $2/lb.
    Experts consider conventionally grown spuds one of the "Dirty Dozen" foods and recommend buying organic. Consumers who take that advice can spend a little less by shopping Whole Foods, where the price of a 3-pound bag of organic russet potatoes works out to 51 cents less per pound than O Organics potatoes from Safeway.

  24. Cream Cheese
    Whole Foods: $1.69
    Safeway: $1.79
    Another instance of small change that adds up over time: Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value cream or Neufchatel cheese runs 10 cents cheaper than Safeway's like-size store-brand spread. Cheesecake, anyone?

  25. Meatless Frozen Foods
    Whole Foods: $3.99-$4.49
    Safeway: $4.29-$4.99
    Whole Foods carries more vegetarian options than most standard grocery stores and markets store-brand versions, whereas Safeway carries more costly name brands. Whole Foods prices its 365 Everyday Value meatless soy burgers 50 cents under what Boca burgers cost at Safeway. Gardein chickenless nuggets from Safeway are likewise 50 cents more expensive than 365 Everyday Value vegetarian nuggets.

by Gina Briles (Google+ Profile)

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