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10 things that are cheaper at Whole Foods

Some call the upscale supermarket 'Whole Paycheck' because you can spend a lot of money there in a flash. But we found some items that are cheaper here than at Safeway.

By Apr 9, 2014 11:02AM
This post comes from Gina Briles at partner site on MSN MoneyNicknamed "Whole Paycheck" by snarky shoppers, Whole Foods Market has earned a reputation for unaffordable prices.

Whole Foods Market © Helen Sessions/Alamy
Although it's true the health-food giant stocks plenty of high-end goods, many items are actually less expensive than comparable products at a traditional grocery store.

Don't believe it? did some shopping cart reconnaissance at a Whole Foods Market and a Safeway store in the same Seattle-area neighborhood to compare the cost of over 200 similar products.

Here are 10 items that were cheaper at Whole Foods.

1. Organic milk
  • Whole Foods: $4.99
  • Safeway: $5.29
Organic milk costs more than the conventional variety, but consumers can shave a little off the total by buying at Whole Foods. The retailer's 365 Everyday Value brand beats out Safeway's O Organics brand by 30 cents per gallon.

2. Non-dairy milk
  • Whole Foods: $1.69-$4.39
  • Safeway: $2.59-$4.99
Whole Foods has the advantage in non-dairy milk, offering a larger selection and better pricing overall. Califia Farms Almondmilk is 60 cents cheaper and 365 Everyday Value rice milk costs more than a dollar less than Rice Dream, the name brand Safeway carries.

3. Shredded mozzarella
  • Whole Foods: $3.99
  • Safeway: $4.49
Cheese isn't cheap at Whole Foods, but a bargain hides in the dairy case. Skip the 365 Everyday Value bar and stick cheeses, which retail for at least twice the cost of Safeway's Lucerne products, and pick up a 16-ounce bag of shredded mozzarella for a 50-cent savings. 

4. Organic popcorn
  • Whole Foods: $1.99
  • Safeway: $2.69
Opponents of genetically modified corn seek out organic popcorn in the snack aisle. At Whole Foods, Cheapism found 365 Everyday Value pre-popped popcorn for 70 cents less than Safeway's O Organics brand. Despite a 1-ounce difference in size, the Whole Foods version is still the better deal.

5. Energy bars
  • Whole Foods: $1.29-$1.49
  • Safeway: $1.50-$1.67
Energy bars are a popular option for on-the-go refueling, but stocking up can add up quickly. Consumers can save a little by buying at Whole Foods: Larabars run 21 cents less and Kind bars 18 cents less than Safeway prices.

6. Pretzels
  • Whole Foods: $1.89
  • Safeway: $2.49
Whole Foods sells its 365 Everyday Value pretzels for 60 cents less than Snack Artist twists at Safeway. What's more, the Whole Foods bag holds 16 ounces of pretzels, 3 ounces more than the Safeway house-brand package.

7. Organic frozen vegetables
  • Whole Foods: $1.79-$1.99
  • Safeway: $2.79
Conventional frozen vegetables cost several cents less at Safeway, but the organic versions are cheaper at Whole Foods. Shoppers who take home 16-ounce bags of 365 Everyday Value organic frozen vegetables save 80 cents on peas and $1 on corn.

8. Organic quinoa
  • Whole Foods: $4.49
  • Safeway: $5.19
A prepackaged bag of organic quinoa at Whole Foods represents a cost savings of 70 cents over the Safeway price. (Both the Whole Foods and O Organics brand quinoas come in 16-ounce bags.)

9. Organic chicken broth
  • Whole Foods: $1.99
  • Safeway: $2.59
A 365 Everyday Value carton of this pantry staple costs 60 cents less than the same size carton of O Organics broth. However, brand loyalists take note: Pacific organic chicken broth is 40 cents less expensive at Safeway.

10. Organic pasta sauce
  • Whole Foods: $2.29
  • Safeway: $2.79
Results were mixed when Cheapism compared the two stores' signature brands of conventional pasta sauce, but the organic picture is clear: Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value spaghetti sauce beats Safeway's price by a full 50 cents.

We found another 15 items that were cheaper at Whole Foods. To see them all, visit

More from

Apr 9, 2014 2:05PM
sorry jesus you don't seem to get something. I own a farm and it's organic and I grow for whole foods. everyone gets' the whole "can't get away from the residual effects" point of view,however , we don't directly use inorganic chemicals. neither do the suppliers of our raw materials. the bigger part of our certification is that we don't add to the problem. we're reducing the footprint everyday, no matter how slight. our fields are not nearly as productive as the standard farms , but we work our asses off to bring the best and safest possible food to your table.  so yes you're correct we can't stop the wind and the rain,but we can provide you with food that's not been grown in a mound of glyphosate .
Apr 9, 2014 2:00PM
10 things that are cheaper at WF *than at Safeway*. There, I fixed the title. My Safeway is always more expensive unless it's loss leaders, but I can get better prices at Acme or Food Lion for some of the regular stuff.
Apr 9, 2014 2:25PM
Well whole foods is expensive, so this article just shows Safeway is more expensive!
Apr 9, 2014 3:41PM

The things I get from my garden are still the best.  I have control over how the food is grown and the lack of chemicals used.  All summer and fall I am canning, freezing and dehydrating  the food I gather from my garden.  I make jams, pickles, tomato juice, catsup,  salsa and I can fresh fruits and freeze the veggies.  Saves me a lot of money compared to what I would at the grocery store, plus it taste better and is better for me. 


My yard is not that big, I just make good use out of the space available. 


Yes there is a cost to the canning supplies but you do not need to buy everything in one year.  My best advice is to start small and add a few new things each year.

Apr 9, 2014 7:50PM
I like eating my chemically processed garbage for .99
Sometimes I even buy fruit and veggies and don't wash it! Not dead yet, but I live on the edge.
Apr 10, 2014 10:45AM
Anyone who takes any advice from MSN on budgeting is probably already hopelessly in debt.
Apr 9, 2014 11:28PM
My mom lived to 102-1/2 and never shopped at WF and they used some pesticides on the home garden.  My dad made it to 88.  I find 95% of the items at WF are overpriced compared to Safeway, Trader Joe's and Grocery Outlet (lots of good, reasonably priced cheeses there--and other things, but Trader Joe's is the bomb.
Apr 9, 2014 4:02PM

Come on Gina Briles.  Who is being "snarky".  The best you could do is come up with a few organic products and "non dairy milk".  Do you work for Whole Foods? 

Apr 9, 2014 4:47PM
Safeway has sale prices that are often reasonable but on average they are very high on every day items. I remember stopping in for a pound of Jimmy Dean sausage and McCormicks gravy mix. The sausage was $5.99 when I usually paid $2.99 at Wal-Mart and the gravy mix was an astounding $2.75 when Wal-Marts regular price was 93c and Food Lion $1.25. I decided on waiting until I hit another store for biscuits and gravy and had bacon and eggs that day. Maybe Safeway wasn't the best choice for their comparison.
Apr 10, 2014 10:56AM
What a Stupid comparison!!! Safeway is way more expensive than Walmart and Kroger. Where is there pricing?
Apr 9, 2014 4:32PM
Doesn't matter. Shopping at Whole Foods provides a more pleasant shopping experience. Aside from the organic foods argument, they offer things like blue cheese stuffed green olives that I can't find at places like Safeway. The last time I went to a Safeway the place smelled like rotten meat and the overall atmosphere felt like I was on the bad side of town. I may not go to Whole Foods all the time, but I would shop there for the items in which I want to find quality (i.e. cheeses, meats, and the olive bar).
Apr 10, 2014 12:35PM

If people are going to start shopping at Whole Foods because 10 items are cheaper, how much more will their overall grocery bill be after the "savings" ?? 

Apr 10, 2014 10:26AM

Comparing Whole Foods to Safeway doesn't make Whole Foods look any better.  Safeway is the biggest scam around.  Their prices are consistently more expensive than those at many high end independent or small chain regional markets (especially their produce) and spend millions on advertising to get you to focus on just a handful of sale items.  To Whole Foods' credit, like Trader Joe's, they offer a line of store brands ("365") which are very reasonably priced.  Otherwise, the regular price on their meat, fish and poultry is cringe-worthy.

Apr 9, 2014 4:21PM
Whole Foods does have some decent deals over other stores, but with a busy life and often little desire to shop at more than 1-2 stores a week for groceries, I often skip going to Whole Foods aside from rare occasions. I just try to pick the cheapest 1-2 stores that are close and offer good quality and organic food (for me that's Fred Meyer and Costco with an occasional trip to a different local grocery chain that has a few specialty items I enjoy).
Apr 9, 2014 10:17PM
if it costs more in gas money to buy said items at WF instead, did I really save any $$$ ???
Apr 10, 2014 1:30AM

Well if you are buying organic its cheaper but the vast majority don't buy organic.  If you are buying non-organic of those listed you are going to get cheaper food.  Unless you get paid pretty well or are on food stamps you can't afford organic.

Apr 12, 2014 12:03PM
They should have compared WF to Trader Joe's so people can see how much they are being overcharged by "whole paycheck."
Apr 9, 2014 1:37PM
I can get an Irish cheese there cheaper then anywhere.
Apr 9, 2014 9:30PM
one more thing...WF pays their workers  and growers a living wage. you wouldn't want a bone head supporting your beloved computer, why would you want a bone head supplying your most important  supply.  FOOD !
Apr 9, 2014 1:58PM
Their store brand pet food is very low priced and my pets like it.
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