Strategy We compared prices at Whole Foods to those at Trader Joe's — and the results were surprising (WFM, AMZN)

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Whole Foods is trying desperately to shed its "Whole Paycheck" reputation as it loses millions of customers to grocery store rivals like Trader Joe's.

MASSACHUSETTS: Whole Foods Market play

MASSACHUSETTS: Whole Foods Market

(Yelp/Jane W)

Whole Foods has been desperately trying to shed its "Whole Paycheck" reputation for years as it loses millions of customers to grocery store rivals like Kroger and Trader Joe's.

The news that Amazon will acquire Whole Foods for $13.7 billion could make the upscale grocery brand a lot more competitive when it comes to prices.

Amazon has the "financial capacity to price aggressively," Moody’s vice president Mickey Chadha wrote in an email.

“Dominant players like Walmart, Kroger, Costco, and Target now have to look over their shoulders at the Amazon train coming down the tracks," Moody’s lead retail analyst Charlie O’Shea said.

In April, we visited a Whole Foods and a Trader Joe's to see how their prices on 28 similar items compared. The two stores are just a few blocks away from each other in New York's Union Square.

Overall, our Whole Foods basket was about $30 more expensive than our basket at Trader Joe's, but not everything at Trader Joe's was cheaper. Many prices were actually quite similar at the two stores.

The final bills came to $115.90 at Whole Foods and $85.33 at Trader Joe's, after we accounted for the products' varying package sizes.

Here's how the prices compared:

Red peppers

Red peppers play

Red peppers

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $0.99 each

Whole Foods: $3.99 per pound

One medium-sized red bell pepper weighed nearly one pound, so peppers were far more expensive at Whole Foods.



Organic avocados

Organic avocados play

Organic avocados

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $2.29 each

Whole Foods: $2.79 each



Organic strawberries

Organic strawberries play

Organic strawberries

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $5.99 for 16 ounces

Whole Foods: $5.99 for 16 ounces

Strawberries were expensive across the board.



Green seedless grapes

Green seedless grapes play

Green seedless grapes

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $3.99 for 20 ounces, or $3.19 for one pound

Whole Foods: $2.99 for one pound (on sale from $3.99 per pound)



Organic bananas

Organic bananas play

Organic bananas

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $0.29 each

Whole Foods: $0.99 per pound

Three medium-sized bananas weighed around a pound, so this was a close call.



Multigrain bread

Multigrain bread play

Multigrain bread

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $2.99 for 24 ounces

Whole Foods: $3.49 for 24 ounces

Buying two loaves of bread at Whole Foods would have brought the cost down to a comparable $3 per loaf.



White bread

White bread play

White bread

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $2.69 for 24 ounces

Whole Foods: $3.49 for 24 ounces

There was a big difference, though the white bread at Whole Foods was organic.



Ground beef

Ground beef play

Ground beef

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $4.99 per pound

Whole Foods: $9.99 per pound

Again, the cheapest option at Whole Foods was organic.



Ground turkey

Ground turkey play

Ground turkey

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $3.99 per pound

Whole Foods: $7.99 per pound



Uncured sliced bacon

Uncured sliced bacon play

Uncured sliced bacon

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $5.49 for 12 ounces

Whole Foods: $4.99 for 12 ounces

Whole Foods is the winner here and there was a good selection on sale.



Organic white potatoes

Organic white potatoes play

Organic white potatoes

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $1.oo per pound

Whole Foods: $1.20 per pound



Organic white tortilla chips

Organic white tortilla chips play

Organic white tortilla chips

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $2.69 for 16 ounces

Whole Foods: $2.99 for 16 ounces



Vanilla ice cream

Vanilla ice cream play

Vanilla ice cream

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $3.99 for 32 fluid ounces

Whole Foods: $4.99 for 32 fluid ounces (organic)

Trader Joe's ice cream was cheaper but the 365 version at Whole Foods was organic.



Parmesan

Parmesan play

Parmesan

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $5.38 for one pound

Whole Foods: $12.77 for one pound



Organic mayonnaise

Organic mayonnaise play

Organic mayonnaise

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $3.69 for 16 ounces

Whole Foods: $3.69 for 16 ounces

A dead heat!



Extra virgin olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil play

Extra virgin olive oil

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $6.99 for 33.8 fluid ounces

Whole Foods: $9.99 for 33.8 fluid ounces



Organic marinara sauce

Organic marinara sauce play

Organic marinara sauce

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $2.49 for 25 ounces

Whole Foods: $2.99 for 25 ounces



Organic spaghetti

Organic spaghetti play

Organic spaghetti

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $1.29 for 16 ounces

Whole Foods: $1.49 for 16 ounces



Chili flakes

Chili flakes play

Chili flakes

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $1.99 for 1.3 ounces

Whole Foods: $3.99 for 0.99 ounces



Dried basil

Dried basil play

Dried basil

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $1.99 for 0.3 ounces

Whole Foods: $2.99 for 0.53 ounces



Organic crunchy peanut butter

Organic crunchy peanut butter play

Organic crunchy peanut butter

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $3.49 for 16 ounces

Whole Foods: $3.99 for 16 ounces



Organic milk

Organic milk play

Organic milk

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $3.49 for a half gallon

Whole Foods: $2.39 for a half gallon

The milk at Trader Joe's is organic.



Organic plain yogurt

Organic plain yogurt play

Organic plain yogurt

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $3.99 for 32 ounces

Whole Foods: $3.39 for 32 ounces

Whoa! A great deal on organic plain yogurt at Whole Foods.



Frozen peas

Frozen peas play

Frozen peas

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $1.29 for 16 ounces

Whole Foods: $1.39 for 16 ounces



Almond Breeze almond milk

Almond Breeze almond milk play

Almond Breeze almond milk

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $1.99 for 32.8 ounces

Whole Foods: $2.19 for 32.8 ounces

Both stores stock Almond Breeze almond milk, we did a direct comparison of the product: Trader Joe's was $0.20 cheaper.



Hummus

Hummus play

Hummus

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $1.99 for 8 ounces

Whole Foods: $2.19 for 8 ounces



Eggs

Eggs play

Eggs

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $2.69 for a dozen cage-free large eggs

Whole Foods: $4.39 for a dozen organic large eggs

Note that Whole Foods' eggs are organic and Trader Joe's are cage free.



Rolled oats

Rolled oats play

Rolled oats

(Mary Hanbury)

Trader Joe's: $3.99 for 32 ounces, or $2.00 per pound

Whole Foods: $3.19 for 18 ounces, or $2.84 per pound



Whole Foods is definitely more expensive for meat, cheese, and specialty items like olive oil. But overall, prices for basic products were pretty similar at the two stores. Here's the final bill:

Whole Foods is definitely more expensive for meat, cheese, and specialty items like olive oil. But overall, prices for basic products were pretty similar at the two stores. Here's the final bill: play

Whole Foods is definitely more expensive for meat, cheese, and specialty items like olive oil. But overall, prices for basic products were pretty similar at the two stores. Here's the final bill:

(Samantha Lee/Business Insider)


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