Whole Foods Makes Good on Price-Slashing Promise

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Whole Foods Makes Good on Price-Slashing Promise

By Randy Hofbauer - 08/28/2017

As it promised last week, natural and organic grocer Whole Foods Market has taken the first steps to ditch its “Whole Paycheck” nickname, slashing prices on a variety of bestselling staples across all stores on its first day as an arm of ecommerce giant Amazon.com.

The grocer already had announced its intent to lower prices on such products as Whole Trade organic bananas, responsibly farmed salmon and tilapia, organic large brown eggs, animal-welfare-related 85 percent lean ground beef, creamy and crunchy almond butter, organic Gala and Fuji apples, organic rotisserie chicken, 365 Everyday Value organic butter, and many more. What wasn’t revealed was the size of the cuts.

Progressive Grocer visited a Whole Foods location in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood today, the day the acquisition closed, to examine the price changes, noticing price drops of up to one-third.

Products with larger cuts include:

  • Pasture Raised New York Strip Steaks and Boneless Ribeye Steaks, which dropped from $18.99 to $13.99 per pound (30 percent)
  • The tilapia, which fell from $10.99 to $7.99 per pound (32 percent)
  • The ground beef, which now sells for $4.99 per pound instead of $6.99 (33 percent)

Items that received smaller cuts include:

  • The eggs, reduced from $4.39 to $3.99 (10 percent)
  • The butter, which now sells for $4.49 instead of $4.99 (11 percent)
  • The almond butters, which changed from $7.99 to $6.99 per 1-pound jar (13 percent).

Some outlets have reported even larger price cuts – up to 43 percent – upon visits to their local Whole Foods stores.

“We’re determined to make healthy and organic food affordable for everyone. Everybody should be able to eat Whole Foods Market quality – we will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, said on Aug. 24, adding that Amazon Prime also will become Whole Foods’ customer rewards program, and that the grocer will work to “continuously lower prices.”

Listening to Consumers

Lower prices are one of the two most-demanded additions to Whole Foods among consumers, with 30 percent asking for them, according to new research from ChargeItSpot, a Philadelphia-based provider of charging stations for mobile devices. They are very likely to grow Whole Foods’ shopper base, too: 84 percent of consumers have a positive feeling about an Amazon-owned Whole Foods, and 62 percent said that they're now more likely to shop at Whole Foods.

“The recent acquisition of Whole Foods and Amazon is huge deal for the retail industry,” said Douglas Baldasare, CEO and founder of ChargeItSpot, which published the “Amazon Shopper Sentiment Report.” “Earlier this year, Amazon announced plans to expand brick-and-mortar operations, and their high-profile acquisition of Whole Foods will help Amazon achieve the scale they’re looking for in the grocery space. It is encouraging for Amazon that consumers are already excited about their move into the brick-and-mortar space.”

Other areas where Whole Foods is meeting shoppers’ strongest demands from Amazon’s ownership include Amazon in-store pickup (19 percent), which the Seattle-based company said it's bringing to stores via lockers, and even an electronics section (4 percent), which have been spied in several Whole Foods stores today. Also, although Amazon has told several outlets that it doesn't plan to automate checkout, the fact that doing so is in demand about as much as lower prices, which the grocer is implementing, indicates that cashier-free checkout could be coming in the near future.

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