Whole Foods, Safeway or Trader Joe’s


Around here Whole Foods has been nicknamed Whole Paycheck. After seeing this video by Shane and Chantal Valentine of The Baby Cuisine Cookbook. I think Whole Foods needs a new nickname.

Which do you think is cheaper for organic products? Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or Safeway. I was very surprised by the results.

Shane and Chantal Valentine are local Marin residents. You can follow them on Twitter @babycuisine. You can also follow Whole Foods on Twitter @WholeFoods.

*green bean image  by Flickr user Chasqui

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17 thoughts on “Whole Foods, Safeway or Trader Joe’s

  1. Amy

    I so agree! I have definitely noticed the difference between Whole Foods and the organic foods from the more typical supermarkets, and it’s much cheaper at Whole Foods. Also much nicer organic produce.

  2. Simply nonna

    Sounds like another publicity piece for whole paycheck.Of course they had to lower their prices since their president made all those incredible right wingnut comments in the WSJ.
    Whole Foods Backlash: Bloggers Outraged Over CEO’s Anti-‘ObamaCare …
    Aug 18, 2009 … Comments 2919. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey’s recent Wall Street Journal op-ed on health care which argues against President Obama’s health ..
    i remember and i vote with my pocketbook. I’m not even rich yet even if they were giving away food at whole paycheck i will never shop there. TJ’s all the way-good food,good prices,good people.Safeway-hah.nuthing like corporate care tracking your purchases and pushing corporate bargains, Why do u need to choose between 15 brands of corn?

  3. B

    To the previous comment… sorry but that’s a really narrow minded reason not to shop somewhere, because you don’t agree with the president’s opinions. If you didn’t shop with any company whose opinions of the CEO you disagree with, then sorry to tell you, but you’re going to shop a LOT less places.

    Anyway in response to the actual article, yes, I have found in my own experience Whole Foods is cheaper (sometimes considerably). Their 365 Brand is cheaper than even some brands at Target! I think people confuse WF with being expensive because sometimes their other brands are more pricey. But if you shop WF store brand, it definitely pays off and you don’t sacrifice quality.

  4. Matthue DeYarus

    Thanx for all the hard work!! However…I am really missing having fresh foods on the list (besides eggs). Veggies, fruits, etc. is the vast majority of what I buy organic. Prepped food prices are going to reflect a completely different dynamic, i.e. factory production, distribution, etc. The fresh stuff is about sourcing, often local, and real commitment to organic where the challenge is greatest. Maybe another in the series…if you can find the time and energy!

  5. Ceyda

    this video, as much as I appreciate the effort, is misleading… Expensive items at WholeFoods that cost you “a paycheck” are fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken… etc – none of which are included in the comparison above.

  6. Simply nonna

    b stated “sorry but that’s a really narrow minded reason not to shop somewhere” ….well i guess u told me. you prolly work for or have some stock in whole paycheck. Your dismissive comments show the lack of concern for right livelihood and true justice,and many many more people than u know. U can choose to be a “sales whore” all u want. I don’t tell u what to think and for you to dismiss my comments is like bullying someone to believe your side. Sorry but propaganda or social coercion doesn’t work on all of us yet! Have a lovely life and soothe your self important guilt by buying all u want!!Just don’t expect those aware of us out here to “buy” into your propaganda.
    Bottom line-u can choose to do what u know is right or follow the crowd of mindless shoppers and make easy excuses for your complicity. I won’t tell u what to do, but fair warning ,you’ll have to live with yourself. U know what they say abt Karma…Peace out…

  7. paul

    It’s called voting with your dollars, and money is all they understand. They want to separate and isolate issues so we can’t connect the dots, as if we have no right to voice our politics in action – but only when we disagree with them. When we lose the freedom to spend our food dollars where we choose we might as well be living in a whole foods dictatorship.
    “So long as we continue to value doctors and hospitals more than healthy growing and cooking, we’ll keep paying more and more to doctors and hospitals.”

  8. Jaded

    I am a frequent shopper @ Whole Foods. I do not find it super expensive compared to other places.

    I get most of my bulk/staple items from Whole Foods:
    canned goods
    bulk items

    I occasionally buy produce from Whole Foods. It is overall pretty expensive in my area. In some areas of the country, Whole Foods is the cheapest option for organic produce, but not in CA. But if you stick to what’s in season, the prices tend to be pretty comparable, outside of summer. Produce at Trader Joe’s is expensive and typically crappy. I only buy banana, carrots and/or lemons there. The bulk of the time it isn’t all that great. Even when it is in season.

    Trader Joe’s is the best choice for frozen foods and international ingredients that are not spices. Things like soy sauce, chile paste and coconut milk are more expensive at whole foods and trader joes. It is also good for packaged goods like chips, crackers and cheese.

    Meat at WF is very expensive, but sale prices can put it in line with other stores. The meat is the tastiest mainstream option by far. Some Trader Joe’s meats are decent and affordable. Safeway is hit or miss. The average butcher product is either expensive or subpar.

    Personally the bulk of my shopping happens at whole foods, trader joe’s and a local grocery store known for its produce, meat and bulk departments which offers a better value and selection for those items than WF.

    If you shop wisely, you can do well at whole foods, and avoid spending your whole paycheck.

    Our local paper did a similar round-up if you are interested:
    Farmer’s Market vs Safeway vs WF: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/stockdale/detail?entry_id=52813
    Another random roundup

  9. Sally Post author

    Hey all,
    Thanks for the comments! I don’t have time to make a thoughtful response at the moment but just wanted to let you know I’m here reading and appreciating all your input.
    Sally 🙂

  10. Nemo

    It’s true- WF Does have better prices than you might think.
    I believe in what they are about- & that they set the prescedent 25 years ago when it comes to supporting small farms, organic farming- sustainable agriculture. Bravo!
    I happen to like having several types of corn to choose from too.

  11. Really Serious

    Wow, Simply Nonna. I’m left the leaning, but have truly noticed that most of the “hate speak” that some of our spokespeople like to complain about comes from our side. You’re an example. Wow. I read carefully CEO’s opinion piece and whether or not I disagree, I welcome reading his business person’s perspective and believe in his right to state his opinion based on his life experience. Fine if you don’t shop there, but yeesh, you’ve got some misplaced anger. I’m guessing something else negative is going on in your life. I hope it gets better. I love both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and shop at both for the things that I like at each.

  12. A Fan of Free Speech

    First off, great video. Thank you.

    B, Thanks for the tip about the 365 brand.

    Now for the less relevant stuff.

    Simply Nonna,

    I vote with my dollars and I vote with my feet. What matters to me is what is sold and how people are treated.

    I shop at places like Sears. Sears is great to their employees who get called to active military duty. I may disagree with whatever the current war is at any given time, but anyone who is willing to give their life for my freedom deserves to be treated well. I also shop at Whole Foods because of what they sell and how they treat their employees. How does TJ’s treat their employees? Do you know? Do you care? I care about how a company treats their own people a lot more than an opinion of one person who works at the company. If you don’t believe me that employees at Whole Foods are treated well, check out this INDEPENDENT source: http://www.mainstreet.com/article/moneyinvesting/insurance/six-companies-amazing-employee-benefits

    Also, Simply Nonna, you really remind me of someone from Fox News. Are you aware that Michael Clemente of Fox News attacked the University of Maryland for being a party school instead of questioning the merits of the study done there (by professionals) that had results showing Fox News in a poor light?

    If you don’t like what I have said or you disagree, I respect your opinion. I have my opinion, which I have just expressed, and you are entitled to yours. I like to do my research before opening my mouth. You are free to do as you choose.

  13. Sally Post author

    While I admit I shop at all of these stores, lately I’ve been doing most of my shopping at Mollie Stones. It may not be cheaper, or it may be… the reason I’m shopping there is because it is locally owned, they have very good quality products, they carry a lot of organic and sustainable food and I’d rather support a locally owned business over a big corporate one.


  14. Christine Parini

    Thanks for your great work! It’d be great to throw Good Earth in there as well. I am new shopping there after a move and have noticed some groups of products are far more expensive than Whole Foods and others that are less expensive. Any idea where they would fall in this comparison?

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