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Actually, Whole Foods Isn't That Expensive

A new report from the Boston Globe argues that all that stuff about Whole Foods being too expensive is hooey.

The longstanding joke amongst many Americans is that Whole Foods should instead be called "Whole Paycheck," as that's what you will be forking out if you shop there. But, according to a new report from Rob Anderson at the Boston Globe, it turns out that that's not the case.

Prompted by a debate in Boston about a Whole Foods overtaking a Hi Lo Foods store in the city's Jamaica Plain neighborhood, Anderson decided to do some price comparisons at several groceries around town. What he discovered is that, while Whole Foods certainly sells some products at higher prices than other stores, basic goods are often cheaper or of a similar price regardless of where you go—even if that is Whole Foods.

When readers complained that Anderson neglected to look at Whole Foods' produce prices, which they claimed were much higher than other stores', Anderson went back and checked. Once again, Whole Foods proved to be not all that expensive:

For example, regular tomatoes at Whole Foods were $3.99 per pound, which is a dollar more than at Stop & Shop, Shaw's and Foodie's. But plum tomatoes were generally cheaper at Whole Foods than they were at other stores (Whole Foods, $1.99; Stop & Shop, $2.99; Shaw's, $2.49; Foodie's, $1.99). Likewise, while oranges were .50 cents more expensive per pound at Whole Foods, green peppers there were a dollar cheaper than at the other stores. If a shopper happened to be buying tomatoes, oranges and green peppers this week, the price fluctuation at the store would have evened themselves out.


Anderson does concede that animal protein is vastly more expensive at Whole Foods than anywhere else. But if you're on a vegetarian diet, you might think twice about avoiding Whole Foods next time you're out shopping.

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