Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

The Whole Deal™

By Paige Brady, August 7, 2008  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Paige Brady
There have been some media stories lately about how people are trading down to save money on food in these uncertain economic times. To me, that seems like such a poor trade off. I shop at Whole Foods Market because I know I can trust that every product is free of the junk I don’t want: artificial additives, sweeteners, colors, preservatives and trans fats. Yes, I work here but this stuff was important to me before and it’s even more important to me as I learn more about the toxins in our environment. And yes, food without all of that garbage in it isn’t as cheap, but I think my health and that of my family is worth better food. And as we’ve all learned on these The Whole Deal™ posts, there are many ways to eat frugally at Whole Foods Market. So, that’s the point I see missing in the media: Finding the cheapest food available isn’t the whole story. What about quality, taste, unadulterated with chemicals and additives, locally grown, fair traded, natural and organic. So, why do you shop at Whole Foods Market? You’ve shared lots of great tips for value shopping on The Whole Deal™ page, and we want to hear what keeps you from trading down. This week’s The Whole Deal™ tip winner is Trish who answers that question this way:
As a single empty-nester, I’ve been chronically over budget on food, while feeling somehow under-fed. I was shopping at S***y and assumed I could not afford to shop at Whole Foods. It had not occurred to me that I should focus instead on nutrition per dollar I spent, or (even better) on nutritional value per dollar that I actually consumed! For instance, I would buy “cheaper” produce from Safeway, and then not eat it because it had no flavor! I’d buy a bag of apples or peaches and eventually throw most of it away. Then I’d go out and spend more money on junk food and candy in an effort to satisfy some taste threshold I needed. Then one day, while out with a friend, I bought a single peach at Whole Foods. Just to see if there was a difference. It was so delicious that I went back and bought a peach for each day of the week, then ate one every day, and savored each mouthful. I got full pleasure and nutritional value for the cost of those peaches, so it was far cheaper than throwing away a bag of the tasteless stuff. And I didn’t buy the junk food! I had spent less. I’d also been buying more convenience foods in recent years (a common single person’s mistake, but a big budget breaker). After “The Peach,” I realized my tastes had been changing, but my shopping habits hadn’t. I don’t care for as much meat anymore, but do crave a certain intensity of flavor. But I was buying the old standards out of habit. So now I’m on a new learning curve. I’m experimenting with ethnic cuisines as a way to find some of the most delicious and interesting seasonal recipes invented. Most of the time, this way of cooking is some of the most thrifty! I love to buy staples in the bulk foods aisle (grains and beans look so earthy and inviting in clear canisters on the counters) and build from that with the most flavorful, in-season produce available. You really only need a couple of dozen recipes that you absolutely adore to feel like you are treating yourself remarkably well. It’s all different for me now - bulk staples, taking advantage of ethnic expertise, freshness and flavor intensity. And I shop at Whole Foods! Who would have thought!
Category: Value - Whole Deal




calanan says ...
"Finding the cheapest food available isn’t the whole story." To add, I've found that shopping at Whole Foods doesn't require the emptying of one's bank account. I've comparison shopped against our (SLC, UT) local grocery chains and have found your 365 product line to be competitively priced if not cheaper than both mass-marketed and generic/store brand counterparts. - mike
08/07/2008 11:51:56 AM CDT
Kelly in Hawaii Real Estate Guru says ...
Aloha! I would LOVE to shop at Whole Foods, but the only reason I don't right now is because I am still waiting for your stores to open. Based on my West Coast experiences I know it will be well worth the wait. I love that you take a lot of the headache out of shopping, use local produce as much as possible and have an incredible deli! It's all about the shopping experience. Waiting patiently... Aloha, Kelly Mitchell Hawaii Real Estate Guru
08/07/2008 12:00:53 PM CDT
Anna Sabino says ...
I shop at Wholefoods because I'm attracted to how great your store looks. The stuff is so easy to find and beautifully displayed. Plus being an entrepreneur I always love finding new brands and products, check them out and try. Your soy products selection is great as well.
08/07/2008 12:09:52 PM CDT
Eva says ...
It might seem like a poor trade off to you, but you have a choice. There are a lot of people out there who simply can't afford to worry about what is in their food or not. They are faced with the choice between some food and no food at all. Even sadder, is that some communities don't have any grocery store at all, let alone a choice between Whole Foods and some other brand. It's kind of like a Mazlow's Hierarchy of Food. People will be concerned with making sure that they have food first before they worry about what is in the food. It's sad, but until our country decides to shift it's priorities and assure that ALL people have safe and nutritious food to eat, it's always going to be this way, even when the economy gets better. I shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's because I know that the food is always high quality. But I have a car to drive to both stores, two incomes in my household, and no kids. I have a choice. Many people do not.
08/07/2008 12:19:47 PM CDT
Judith Mattson says ...
Wow! I am really impressed by "The Whole Deal" (newsletter), which I found online today while looking for store specials. Actually, a week or two ago, I found "The Real Deal" (almost identical, v.3) in my local Tucson store. What a great communication!!! Someone at WFM really jumped into the customer perspective and has hit the mark on so many levels. Cooking for one, two or 20 -- that's how many of your customers cook! Recipes with cost calculated -- so useful; and it helps us understand how to compare WFM pricing with other options, including restaurants. Restaurant quality prepared food to go -- it hasn't quite caught on yet here in Tucson, so there's a real need for education on how to buy and how to use these foods. By the way, the writing is so in touch with the questions in the heads of the customers' inquiring minds. To me, one of the most important messages is coming through -- reliability of the product. Another critical message is the simple definition of natural foods -- "we feature foods that are free from artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners and hydrogenated fats." That's at least 20 or 30 chemical names I don't have to look for on the labels when I shop at WFM! And so many people think they have only two choices -- conventional or organic; understanding "natural" allows the shopper to compromise just as thoughtfully as I might when I choose how to spend my "organic dollars". By the way, thanks for the coupons, too. Perfect. So keep it coming. I'm looking forward to more of the same. Thank you. Judith in Tucson
08/07/2008 3:04:53 PM CDT
Elizabeth says ...
My initial reluctance to shop at Whole Foods was based on price but, like Trish, I realized quickly that I can find excellent options when cooking for one that end up saving me money in the long run. I love that I can purchase one piece of salmon or two (already prepared!) turkey burger patties. Whole Foods makes it easy to buy what you need without purchasing the extra food that often goes to waste. Another way I try to prevent waste (and keep grocery costs low) is to plan my meals for every week. When I sit down and cross off meals when I know I will be eating lunch with a co-worker, or dinner for a friend's birthday, then take inventory of food I already have and can use in meals, it makes my grocery list much shorter and all of the food gets used. Aside from portion sizes, WFM is always clean and, more importantly, staffed with employees who seem genuinely happy to be there. I attribute excellent customer service to companies who work hard to meet their employees' needs and who know how to interview and hire well.
08/07/2008 5:55:34 PM CDT
Tinu says ...
I shop at whole foods because ... I can. When I couldn't afford it, it was a rare treat. But there is a way to cut back on costs without skimping on your health. And for healthy, untainted food, it's worth the extra money, I'm sorry. I don't mean to say that folks who feel they are too poor to shop there should just because it's healthy. I'm saying that there are ways to get beyond even abject poverty and still eat right, and well. I've been there, I've had to choose between health costs and good food. Without health insurance and really high medical bills, for a few years it was, should I be healthier in the first place by eating right or should I keep treating my symptoms with medication - each time I chose meds only it was a disaster. So I understand the plight of someone who just can't afford it. But Whole Foods doesn't control the cost of shopping organically. If I were on the marketing board there, I'd keep the brand consistent and do a harder push to the population that can afford it, and do more with the manufacturers to get their coupons available to more people, faster. Then you're helping people save money but not losing your brand identity.
08/07/2008 8:42:40 PM CDT
The Big Cedarlaneoholic says ...
Whole Foods is reacting to the changing economy and consumer demand by lowering prices where/when it can. If you haven't already, watch the Whole Foods Value Tour video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQw7rXDWe68 My Whole Foods Market? Riverside Drive, Sherman Oaks, CA
08/08/2008 2:22:53 AM CDT
Barbara Hancox says ...
My daughter Kirsty has just returned to London after 4 years living in New York, and she introduced me to WholeFoods when she lived in NY. Wow what a fantastic place to shop, we spent many happy hours there! What a wonderful surprise to find one near to her in Kensington. There is only one problem - when are you going to open one in Manchester where I live?
08/08/2008 7:39:57 AM CDT
Rhonda says ...
This the this post was about saving money, I thought I would add a beef that I have with WholeFoods 'vs' my old Wild Oats store. The Wild Oats store always published a sale paper that listed a nice selection of items that they were offer at a reduced price. These sale papers were several pages and were available online and infact, Wild Oats would email me a link so I could look at the latest sale. It would really be nice if WholeFoods would start doing that instead. Having the sale ads enabled me to plan my shopping ahead. I drive about 30 miles to get to a WholeFoods store, so the ads would also allow me to plan my shopping trips. If nothing I used was on sale, I didn't shop. When the ads matched my needs, I would shop and stock up by putting things in the freezer, etc.
08/14/2008 5:08:06 PM CDT
hsiaw says ...
@Rhonda Each of our stores does have a weekly sales flyer and these will be online and in our email newsletter, Fl@vors again shortly. We apologize for the current downtime where this information isn't available to you and our other customers. It'll be up again soon!
08/14/2008 6:38:21 PM CDT