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Nov 14, 2008 12:15 PM

not a treatise on the relative merits of the river street whole foods

However, I am bewildered by the move toward prepared foods at the expense of inventory. Does WF know something about the economy that the rest of the world doesn't? Are we to assume that buying prepared food at unreasonably high prices somehow trumps the purchase of ingredients at unreasonably high prices to be used in the preparation of home-cooked meals? Are they in league with the restaurateurs around town in an effort to make people forget how to cook? Are there any answers? Am I alone in bemoaning this dumbing down of the inventory?

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  1. I am not sure why, but WF sure has evolved from its (local) days as hippie/yuppie Bread & Circus. Cambridge St. store does not even have a bulk section, and as you report lots of (expensive) prepared foods. I suspect they target a market, cost wise, in between preparing one’s own food and going out.

    1. Similarly, the wine inventory at WF on River Street has dropped in quality and size, and gone up a lot in price, over the past year or so IMHO.

      1. I have consistently found WF prepared foods (especially the hot foods) to be ridiculously bland. Anyone else noticed this? It's not just endemic to the River street one, either.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Prav

          I completely agree. I think all WFs are bad, but the prepared foods at the River St. branch seem worse than those at the Alewife location.

          I wish they would bring back the Blue Ribbon stand.

          1. re: Prav

            They have never had good prepared foods at any location. It's a good litmus test for whether people actually taste their food or not. The new gelato/cupcake counter at the River location is just depressing, because you know it just sucks, so why bother... the gelato doesn't look right, like they're keeping it too cold.

            1. re: Luther

              Well, I had some of the gelato not too long ago. It tasted quite good, actually. Generally, I agree with the bemoaning of the trend toward prepared food, and reduction in variety of other stuff. But the gelato - authentic or not - was cold, creamy, and intense - hit the spot-o-rooni.

          2. Interesting that you mention this. I went to the River Store this week and was horrified.

            I had a discussion with an employee about the lack of ingredients for cooking. Turns out he was the manager. He recommended that I write an email through the whole foods website. But he also stated that the acres of prepared foods is what is selling. "This is what people are buying." He also mumbled about "lazy Americans" and challenged my assertion that buying regular groceries at the store was a challenge.

            Of course, Whole Foods did not morph from Bread & Circus. Instead, WF bought the competition when they moved into our market. We went from having a store that was really special, to having multiple stores that aren't worth a special trip.

            Oh, and don't get me started on Coffee Connection. This has been a rough week!

            3 Replies
            1. re: smtucker

              On the other hand, unless you plan on eating it raw, that giant new display of dry-aged beef isn't exactly a prepared food, and it's a welcome addition.

              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                As usual, you are correct. Unfortunately, my budget means that dry-aged beef is a special occasion purchase only. Just don't try to buy sherry vinegar or unfiltered cranberry juice.

              2. re: smtucker

                Ohhhhh Coffee Connection. It was a dark day when they closed.....I truly miss that place.

              3. great ingredients. bad recipes.