Whole Foods is the Tesla of supermarkets. It's hip, exclusive, and can be staggeringly expensive (hence its nickname, Whole Paycheck). But here's the truth: Like Tesla, which recently rolled out a model that costs 66 percent less than its original car, Whole Foods sells a fair amount of items that are surprisingly cheap. We're not talking about their pre-made meals or exotic produce, we're talking about the day-to-day stuff like avocados and almond butter. And we know this because we compared price data for a host of items from a local Whole Foods store and a neighboring Fairway market and took note of all the best deals. Basically, we did the heavy lifting so you don't have to sacrifice high-quality groceries nor spend all your free time couponing.
You might notice that a fair number of our finds are from Whole Foods' private brand, 365 Everyday Value. Many people assume store brands are inferior to bigger name products, but that's simply not the case—especially at Whole Foods. That's because they have stricter standards than mainstream grocery stores when it comes to the ingredients that wind up in all of their items. Plus, private label products are often made in the same facilities that produce the name-brand stuff, which means it's the same quality—or sometimes even better—than the pricier versions.
Read on to discover the best cheap eats from Whole Foods. And after you've jotted down some notes for your next trip, read up on these 46 Best Supermarket Shopping Tips Ever!
Here at ETNT, we're big fans of organic milk. The reason: Organically raised cows are not subject to the same hormones and antibiotics that conventional cows are; no antibiotics for them means no antibiotics for you. But if you're not careful, you could wind up paying an arm and a leg for the stuff. At Fairway, a half-gallon of Horizon Organic 2% Reduced Fat Organic Milk sells for $4.79. The same size container of 365 Organics Reduced 2% Fat Milk is just $3.49.
Envirokidz Panda Puffs
It's easy to see why kids and adults alike love these gluten-free peanut buttery puffs: They're delicious served with cold cereal and also make for a crunchy addition to homemade trail mixes. If you're buying the boxes on the reg, make sure you're doing so at Whole Foods. Here in NYC, they're selling each one for $3.29, which is $1.20 less than Fairway. If you pick up a box each week at Whole Foods instead of a pricier market, you could save nearly $5 per month, or $58 a year!
While it's not a major cost saving, picking up a pomegranate at Whole Foods instead of Fairway will save you $0.49 per fruit! They were selling for $2.50 a pop at our local Whole Foods market. For more ways to keep your wallet fat and your belly skinny, check out these 17 Simple Swaps That Save $255 a Month on Groceries!
Organic Balsamic Vinegar
No matter how many times I buy the stuff, it always shocks me how much balsamic vinegar (one of these 30 Staple Ingredients for Weight Loss costs. That said, however, it's really no more affordable to pick up a bottle at a conventional store versus Whole Foods. We found 6.9-fluid-ounce bottles filled with organic balsamic for $5.99 at both Fairway and Whole Foods. So if you think Whole Foods is overcharging, they're really not.
If you're obsessed with avocado recipes like guac and avocado toast, you best be heading to Whole Foods. The market sells each fruit for $1.50. The neighboring Fairway? They're peddling them each for $2.00. If you're picking up six or seven to make a party dip, going to Whole Foods could save you up to $3.50. Not too shabby!
Organic Shredded Mozzarella
As with any other prepared food item, you're going to pay a premium for convenience—and pre-shredded cheese is no exception. To save some of your hard-earned dough on the stuff, pick it up at Whole Foods. An eight-ounce bag of Organic 365 Shredded Mozzarella is $4.79 ($0.60 per one-ounce serving) while a six-ounce container of similar cheese at Fairway sells for $5.69, or $0.95 per one-ounce serving.
Organic Unsalted Butter
Mmm, butter; it's so darn delicious—and a staple in most households. Assuming you buy it twice per month, you could save $48 per year by simply purchasing it from Whole Foods instead of another market. While Fairway sells 16-ounces of Horizon Organic Unsalted Butter for $6.99, Whole Foods sells 16-ounces of 365 Organic Unsalted Butter $4.99. That's an extra $2 you can keep in your pocket. For more fatty foods that are good for your health, check out these 20 Best Full-Fat Foods for Weight Loss.
Nature Ripe Organic Blueberries
While it's true that blueberries are packed with disease and fat-fighting nutrients like polyphenols, they're also super expensive—which is the primary reason so many people avoid buying them. If you want to reap the powerful fruit's health-boosting nutrients, stick to the organic variety (the conventional, domestic kind was #14 on this year's Dirty Dozen list) and look no further than the Whole Food's produce section. There, a 4.4-ounce container of Nature Ripe Organic Blueberries sells for $4.99. (In fact, they were on sale for $3.00 when we went shopping!) Fairway, however, was selling the same container for $5.99! Love all of Mother Nature's candy? Then don't miss our exclusive report, 25 Popular Fruits—Ranked By Sugar Content!
You know conventional ketchup is filled with yucky additives like high fructose corn syrup and dyes, which is why you opt for the organic variety. But there's no denying it, the stuff can be pricy—but not at Whole Foods! While a 24-ounce container of 365 Organic Ketchup retails for $2.19, all of the organic offerings at Fairway will run you anywhere from $2.99 to $4.29. If buying a bottle is your move, the better bet is clear. However, if you want to save even more cash, check out our video tutorial on How to Make Homemade Ketchup. It's surprisingly easy!
Plum Stage 2 Blends
Inside its BPA-free packaging, you'll find only the cleanest organic ingredients, which is why Plum's baby food is a mainstay in many mommy's kitchens. We found 4.22-ounce pouches of Plum's Broccoli and Apple Baby Food in both stores, but oddly enough they were charging completely different prices for identical products. Pick the stuff up at Whole Foods to save $0.40 per pouch, which equates to a $4 savings if you typically pick up 10 Blends per week. String that savings over a course of a year, and you'll likely have saved enough to buy some fun new toys for your tiny tot!
Organic Chicken Broth
Since it can be used such a wide array of dishes (from soup to savory oatmeal), chicken broth is a staple in many homes. If you're looking to stock up on the stuff, drive to Whole Foods. They sell 32-fluid-ounce containers of organic chicken broth for as low as $2.29! Fairway doesn't offer anything for less than $3.50, and prices go as high as $4.99!
Surprise! Despite conventional wisdom, buying your favorite snack bar at Whole Foods can save you cash. Fairway marks Lärabars $1.50 a pop, while Whole Foods generally sells them for $1.39. (The grocer also runs promotions where they sell them for as low as $1.25.) Sure, they're made with all clean ingredients, but nutritionist Isabel Smith suggests saving them as a pre-workout snack: "Larabars are great because they're pretty natural, but the only time I'd use them is for athletes because they have a lot of sugar. Since they are lower in protein, fiber, and fat, digestion happens pretty quickly [and you can get a short burst of energy with no stomach upset]—it's kind of like eating a banana." And speaking of nanners, don't miss these 7 Amazing Things That Happen to Your Body When You Eat Bananas!
Organic Chicken Breast
For many carnivores, meat eats up the bulk of their grocery budget—but not at Whole Foods. Customers can score a pound of 365 Organic boneless chicken breast for just $6.49. Fairway shoppers pay $6.50 more per pound for the store's generic brand organic boneless breasts. That's a 100 percent markup—which, if you ask us, is pretty mind blowing.
White Sweet Potato
If you love sweet potatoes, but want to mix things up a bit, white sweet potatoes may just become your new BFF. They pack a more mild taste than their brightly-colored counterparts which allows them to be dressed up with both salty and sweet spices and flavorings. Wanna to give 'em a go? Buy them at Whole Foods. When we paid a visit, our local store was selling them for $0.72 each, while the Fairway up the street was selling them for $1.35 a pop. Considering most people will stock up on anywhere from four to six taters when they're making a recipe, you could easily save $3.78 on the root veggie simply by shopping at Whole Foods.
Not only are cashews packed with magnesium, a nutrient that helps relieve insomnia, headaches, and muscle cramps, they're easily a dollar cheaper per pound if you pick them up from your new favorite store's bulk food section. $8.99 per pound? Not too shabby, comparatively speaking! Oh, and did you know that cashews are one of the 30 Best Proteins for Your Penis? Just another reason to pick some up to nosh on.
Organic Kidney Beans
While canned beans are generally cheaper, a new study found that a whopping 67 percent of nearly 200 cans produced by major manufacturers contain the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA). Yes, even the ones that claim to be free of the scary chemical. For this reason, we suggest sticking to beans (and other things commonly sold in cans) that come in cardboard containers. A 13.4-ounce container of 365 Kidney Beans from Whole Foods, for example, will run ya $1.49, making it one of the most affordable options outside of a can.
Organic Lacinato Kale
If you find the prospect of another kale salad as exciting as a plain chicken breast, opt for lacinato kale, a.k.a. black or dinosaur kale. The dark, curly leaves are sweeter tasting and more tender than the regular variety, but pack same nutritional properties as the kind you're likely already eating. One of the best places to buy the stuff is at Whole Foods, where they sell a half-pound for a mere $1.64. Pick up two or three bunches and give some of these 20 Fresh Tips for How to Cook Kale a go!
Organic Almond Butter
It's creamy, it's delicious, and it's super-versatile, but almond butter can be stupid-expensive, with some jars of the stuff selling for $20+ a jar (we're lookin' at you Artisana)! Next time you need to restock your nut butter supply, head to Whole Foods, where they sell 16-ounce containers of their store brand variety for just $7.99.
If you're looking for the cheapest, most effective weight loss supplement around, look no further than the freezer aisle at Whole Foods. A 12-ounce bag of frozen blueberries—which are the ideal addition to weight loss smoothies—costs a were $2.99. The cold, tasty fruit is packed with polyphenols, powerful natural chemicals that can help you lose weight–and even stop fat from forming. In one study, researchers found that feeding mice three daily servings of berries decreased the formation of fat cells by up to 73 percent!
Organic carrots just taste better than the conventional kind, but they shouldn't have to cost more—Whole Foods gets that. Shoppers in their stores can score two-pound bags of Cal-Organic Baby Carrots for $2.99. That's a dollar cheaper than many other stores are selling identical bags for. Not a bad deal!