To see how Whole Foods measures up against Walmart when it comes to grocery prices, we compared the prices of 31 items at a Whole Foods store in Durham, North Carolina, with a nearly identical set of items at a nearby Walmart.
The Whole Foods basket was $30.02 more expensive than a basket of the same items purchased at Walmart.
The bills came to $137.89 at Whole Foods and $107.87 at Walmart, after we accounted for the products’ varying package sizes and calculated those differences into the final price. In other words, shopping at Whole Foods is almost 30% more expensive than at Walmart.
A $30.02 difference is a significant gap — but a closer look at the numbers reveals some reasons to believe that Whole Foods and Amazon still have a shot at winning over bargain shoppers.
Walmart’s prices were less than Whole Foods’ on almost every item.
There were a few areas, however, where Whole Foods triumphed: bananas, peanut butter, and organic butter. Some other organic grocery staples — such as grapes, watermelon, and eggs — came within a few cents of Walmart’s price.
Many of these items had their prices slashed in late August, on the day the Amazon acquisition formally went through. Organic bananas, for example, went from $0.99 a pound to $0.69 a pound, matching Walmart’s price exactly.
These price cuts have played a crucial role in allowing Whole Foods to come close to competing with Walmart’s prices.
While Whole Foods has been trying to win over value-oriented shoppers for more than two years, it took Amazon’s acquisition for the retailer to slash prices to figures near those of Walmart. That Amazon has promised “more to come” bodes well for the retailer’s ability to lower prices in the future.
In a few cases, Walmart’s prices are lower because Whole Foods doesn’t sell nonorganic, or “conventional,” versions of certain items, including coconut oil and quick oats.
However, Walmart’s prices are significantly lower than Whole Foods’ when it comes to selling the same name-brand items — Justin’s Classic Almond Butter is more than $2 more expensive at Whole Foods, and Annie’s mac and cheese is almost half the price at Walmart.
Whole Foods has historically stocked a plethora of more-expensive gourmet, organic, and all-natural brands, like Cypress Grove cheese, priced at $32.99 a pound, and $8 Fine & Raw chocolate bars. The grocery chain refuses to sell many of the popular brands — like Oreos and Doritos — that fill Walmart’s shelves.
Even where there is overlap with a brand, Walmart has the lower price.
Whole Foods’ post-Amazon-acquisition price cuts have had a major effect, especially on produce and some of the items from the retailer’s 365 brand.
However, if your top priority is low prices, Walmart still reigns supreme — by a pretty significant margin.
Here’s the full list of our results:
|Organic red seedless grapes||1 lb.||2.73||2.79|
|Organic watermelon, cut||1.5 lbs.||5.82||5.99|
|Organic bananas||2 lbs.||1.38||1.38|
|Farm-raised Atlantic salmon||1 lb.||8.74||9.99|
|Mayonnaise||30 fl. oz.||1.94||3.74|
|Coconut oil*||30 fl. oz.||10.30||12.83|
|Extra virgin olive oil||17 fl. oz.||3.42||6.03|
|Organic marinara sauce||24 oz.||2.00||2.68|
|Almond Breeze almond milk||64 oz.||2.98||3.49|
|Justin’s Classic Almond Butter||12 oz.||8.97||11.24|
|Organic crunchy peanut butter||16 oz.||4.28||3.99|
|Organic butter||16 oz.||5.74||4.49|
|Annie’s mac and cheese||1 box||1.22||2.19|
|Organic brown sugar*||24 oz.||1.29||3.49|
|Organic milk||1 gal.||5.47||5.99|
|Aluminum foil||200 sq. ft.||6.64||7.99|
|Vita Coco coconut water||16.9 oz.||1.98||2.99|
|Organic large brown eggs||12 eggs||3.97||3.99|
|Large brown eggs||12 eggs||2.17||2.99|
|Thick-sliced bacon||12 oz.||3.92||4.99|
|Ground beef||1 lb.||3.88||4.99|
|All-purpose flour||5 lbs.||1.23||2.99|
|Quick oats*||42 oz.||2.46||4.99|
|Organic basil||0.5 oz.||1.12||1.66|
|Semisweet chocolate chips||12 oz.||1.84||2.99|
|Gala apples||2 lbs.||2.74||2.98|
|Navel oranges||2 lbs.||1.68||3.38|
*Only the Durham Whole Foods sold organic coconut oil and quick oats, while the Walmart did not sell organic brown sugar. Business Insider compared the lowest-priced options available.
Source: Business Insider