Friday, October 28, 2016

Does anyone really spend a whole paycheck at Whole Foods Market?

I try to take advantage of sales at Whole Foods Market, such as the one I saw last Sunday on wild-caught Skate Wing Fillet at the Paramus store, but it's only one of the places I rely on when shopping for food in northern New Jersey.


The opening of a new Whole Foods Market in Closter has renewed competitors' claims the organic supermarket is so expensive you have to blow your "whole paycheck" there.

That's nonsense -- unless you make minimum wage.

I've been shopping at Whole Foods Market in Paramus since it opened in March 2009, and though it's closest to my home, the supermarket is only one of the places I rely on.

Two competitors, ShopRite and Costco Wholesale, have greatly increased the number of organic items they sell, and both offer antibiotic-free meat and poultry.

Prices are among the lowest in the region on an admittedly limited selection.

Best seafood counter

But neither can match Whole Foods' variety of naturally raised meat and poultry nor the Paramus stores' sweeping fresh seafood counter, especially when fish or wild shrimp are on sale.

And Whole Foods' 365 Everday Value line offers Mexican-style salsas, imported organic whole wheat pasta, bottled pasta sauces and other items at competitive prices.

For example, a 1-pound box of Whole Foods' Organic Whole Wheat Shells from Italy is $1.49, a great price considering Trader Joe's and other stores don't offer that organic pasta shape, one of my favorites. 

ShopRite sells several shapes of Luigi Vitelli-brand organic whole wheat pasta in 1-pound packages for $1.29, but doesn't offer shells; Costco doesn't sell whole wheat pasta, organic or otherwise.

I buy organic sweet potatoes not at Whole Foods, but at Trader Joe's in Paramus, where a 3-pound bag is $4.49, compared to $5.99 at the ShopRite in the same town. 

Fresh haddock fillets from Iceland were only $8.99 a pound at Costco Wholesale in Teterboro this week, but the warehouse store offers only a limited selection of wild-caught fish.

At Jerry's Gourmet & More in Englewood, a 1-pound package of Garofalo Whole Wheat Farfalle ($1.99), also called bow ties or butterflies, are not organic like the whole wheat pasta sold at Whole Foods Market for $1.49 a pound.

Costco Wholesale has finally closed the loophole on cage-free eggs by offering Kirkland Signature Cage-Free Egg Whites, above and below. A 16-ounce carton is about $1.50 when you buy six ($8.99). They can be frozen.

Costco's new Cage-Free 100% Liquid Egg Whites, left. When Costco switched to selling only cage-free whole eggs, the Egg Whites, right, were the only exception.

Also at Costco, Kirkland Signature Chicken Tortilla Soup is now made using poultry raised without antibiotics.

Stop & Shop ad

Stop & Shop has been running a TV ad touting its Nature's Promise line of organic or naturally raised products, and one of the shoppers shown makes the crack that "it doesn't take a whole paycheck," a clear reference to Whole Foods Market.

That upset one Stop & Shop customer, who called the comment "snarky" and "a cheap shot." 

She also pointed out Whole Foods' prices are comparable and occasionally lower than at Stop & Shop, and the selection is "astounding."

The Whole Foods in Paramus also sells wine -- with many bottles under $10 -- unlike the new store in Closter or virtually all of its other competitors in Bergen County.

Costco Wholesale in Teterboro sells organic brown eggs for about $3.50 a dozen when you buy 24 ($7.99).


  1. Here is a comment from Jim Susky of Anchorage, Alaska:

    Mr. Sasson,

    In March I walked into my very first Whole Foods. Based on the acreage, the Manhattan Beach (LA LA) location, and the one I attended later in Tempe - this was a "mega" Whole Foods with over twenty bars featuring made-that-day dishes (and commercially-prepared Norwegian lachs, which I later enjoyed with eggs at Denny's in Indian Wells).

    Later, I met up with friends in Scottsdale, all of whom live in the East Bay opposite San Francisco.

    When I mentioned Whole Foods, to a man they called it Whole Paycheck. None of them make anywhere close to the federal (or Californian) minimum wage.


    Best Regards
    Jim Susky
    Anchorage, Alaska

  2. All I can say is, I guess none of them appreciate organic or naturally raised or grown food, or some of the freshest wild seafood you can buy commercially in the lower 48.


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