Whole Foods and Your Dollar
Posted on Monday, July 13th, 2015 at 7:00 am
There is a reason why some people refer to Whole Foods as “Whole Paycheck”. The prices tend to be higher than you might find at other chain grocery stores. Some changes have been happening with Whole Foods that could potentially lower the cost of your grocery bill. It is a mix of good news and bad news.
First, the bad news. The LA Times reported that an investigation found that Whole Foods Market Inc. stores were overcharging for pre-packaged products. The company’s co-chief executives have since admitted that pricing mistakes were made.
Whole Foods has agreed to pay nearly $800,000 in penalties for the overcharging that occurred in California stores. AP reports that there were pricing problems in the Whole Foods stores located in New York, too.
Improvements are being made as a result of the investigation. Whole Foods is increasing training of the employees in its stores, and will be using a third-party auditing system to check progress. In addition, the store recommends that customers double check with cashiers if they think a pricing mistake has been made.
The good news for consumers is that there is a chance that pre-packaged products at Whole Foods might go down to a more reasonable price. At the very least, customers should be more confidant than ever to question the prices on those products. That could help save you some money on your grocery bill.
There’s another, unrelated, change that is happening with Whole Foods stores that will definitely help cut down your grocery bill. The company is going to open a cheaper chain of grocery stores called “365 by Whole Foods Market”. They are currently planning on opening a total of 10 of these stores.
Some think that the “365 by Whole Foods Market” stores are intended to compete with Trader Joe’s (or potentially with the new Daily Table). Others think that the lower priced foods in the new store will eventually force the bigger Whole Foods stores to lower their prices.
The more frugal versions of Whole Foods are expected to offer lower prices on produce and perishables. They are aiming at customers who frequently buy staple foods (and letting the gourmand continue to shop at the bigger Whole Foods stores). It appears the idea is to sell some foods at around the same price as their competitors sell them for.
Nothing is known just yet about where the new “365 by Whole Foods Market” stores will appear. There is speculation that they will aim for reasonably upscale areas where empty-nesters, Millennials, and young upwardly mobile shoppers live.