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Whole Foods and Trader Joe's

How the new prices at Whole Foods compare to Trader Joe’s

Mike Timmermann October 9, 2017
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All year long, Clark.com’s Michael Timmermann is sharing quick and easy ways to save money as part of our Michael Saves series. Check in every Monday as he puts new and familiar savings strategies to the test. Sign up for our newsletter to have these stories delivered to your inbox!

When Amazon purchased Whole Foods Market in late August, I was one of the first shoppers to check out the new, lower prices throughout the store.

But how do the reduced prices at Whole Foods compare to Trader Joe’s? I wanted to find out.

I visited my neighborhood Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s in Atlanta to conduct a price comparison on a selection of best-selling grocery items. The first thing I noticed was that Trader Joe’s has also lowered prices.

Organic bananas were $0.29 cents each not too long ago, but now they’re just $0.25 each.

Organic bananas down to 25 cents Trader Joe's

In the days that followed Amazon’s takeover of Whole Foods, there were news reports that foot traffic increased significantly. One study said Trader Joe’s and Sprouts Farmers Market were hit the hardest by drops in traffic at their stores.

What does this all mean for consumers? Better prices no matter where you shop! Read on for my comparison…

RELATED: 10 things that are cheaper at Whole Foods today, thanks to Amazon

Whole Foods vs. Trader Joe’s: Which grocery store is a better deal?

One dozen organic large brown eggs

  • Whole Foods Market: $3.99
  • Trader Joe’s: $3.99

Creamy almond butter

  • Whole Foods Market: $6.99
  • Trader Joe’s: $5.99

85% lean ground beef

  • Whole Foods Market: $4.99/pound
  • Trader Joe’s: $4.99/pound

Organic pasta sauce

  • Whole Foods Market: $2.79
  • Trader Joe’s: $2.49

Butter (one pound)

  • Whole Foods Market: $3.49
  • Trader Joe’s: $2.99

Whole wheat bread

  • Whole Foods Market: $2.99
  • Trader Joe’s: $2.79

Almond milk

  • Whole Foods Market: $2.99
  • Trader Joe’s: $2.99

Organic shredded mozzarella (8 ounces)

  • Whole Foods Market: $4.99
  • Trader Joe’s: $4.99

Almonds (one pound)

  • Whole Foods Market: $6.99
  • Trader Joe’s: $5.99

Organic avocados

  • Whole Foods Market: $1.99/each
  • Trader Joe’s: $0.99/each

And the winner is…

The total price for the 10 items in my basket was $42.20 at Whole Foods and $38.20 at Trader Joe’s, a $4 difference. This makes Trader Joe’s the clear winner from a price standpoint alone.

To save the most money on groceries, do your own price comparison of the foods that you most frequently buy.

Whole Foods is using orange signs with the Whole Foods and Amazon logos to identity products with lower prices, while Trader Joe’s highlights these items with circular “What a Value” price tags.

Supermarkets strategically discount specific foods so that consumers associate their brand with saving money. It’s all marketing.

For example, that 4-cent discount on bananas isn’t going to change your overall grocery spending much, but Trader Joe’s wants you to remember that lower price when you’re picking up impulse items — like prepared foods.

That’s one reason why it’s so important to make a grocery list and stick to it! Read 20 more ways to save on groceries here.

Check out more from our Michael Saves series:

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Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, Save on Almost Everything.
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