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Best/worst deals at Whole Foods?

valleychip Feb 5, 2013 12:22 PM

What do you think are the best/worst deals at Whole foods? I pick & choose what I think are the best deals at whole foods & then buy the majority of my groceries at Trader Joe's.

Best:
365 Organic coconut milk can $1.49
365 Organic whole wheat flour 5lb $4.99
Nutritional Yeast bulk 8.99 a lb
365 Organic whole wheat pasta various shapes $1.39 1lb
All bulk spices curry, onion, oregano etc.
sea salt bulk .59c a lb
365 organic extra firm tofu $1.49 a package
Organic sugar 5.99 4lb
various bulk beans

Worst:
All fruits/veggies(very overpriced)

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  1. g
    goldangl95 RE: valleychip Feb 5, 2013 12:25 PM

    I haven't really studied this, but one thing I do know - beware the deals on avocados during the off season. I don't know where they find them - but they can be mealy and "green" tasting even when getting soft.

    1. j
      Joel RE: valleychip Feb 5, 2013 04:19 PM

      Every Friday the store near me (Berkeley) has a "deal" -- usually half price -- on something. You can learn the special on Thursday.
      About half the time it is something I want, and then it is really an excellent deal.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Joel
        fldhkybnva RE: Joel Feb 5, 2013 05:21 PM

        I agree with this, 9/10 the deal is pretty good and something I am interested in.

        I actually think the fruits and veggies are a good deal in my area. They are nearly the same price as other stores and better quality.

        Meat/seafood - while I generally do buy meat and seafood at Whole Foods the price is quite outrageous although it is the only place that I can get wild caught King salmon and grass fed beef so it's the only option. The chicken is much higher than other stores, but at times when I only have a few items to get which I particularly go to Whole Foods for but also need chicken breasts I will get them but always cringe.

        Deli - I go specifically to Whole Foods for bacon and deli meat and cheeses (I particularly like the Applegate and Wellshire Farms brands which I can't find at other stores)

        1. re: Joel
          j
          Joel RE: Joel Feb 8, 2013 10:54 AM

          for example today the "deal" is Coho salmon filet for $8/lb (regular $13/lb) so I'm going to get some.

          1. re: Joel
            fldhkybnva RE: Joel Feb 8, 2013 12:37 PM

            Yup, the Friday sale this week is 1/2 price sirloin steaks. Also there seems to be a Saturday morning sale this week on lobster tails, although they are the smaller 3 to 4 oz and the entire weekend there is a sale on stem and leaf mandarins.

            Also the entire week, the family sized split air-chilled chicken breasts are on sale at 2.99/lb cheaper than the other stores in the area.

        2. m
          Mother of four RE: valleychip Feb 5, 2013 04:45 PM

          When you walk in the store there is a display of $4.95 wines....very nice for the price.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Mother of four
            fldhkybnva RE: Mother of four Feb 5, 2013 05:22 PM

            I've always been envious of the people who can actually purchase the bottles of wine listed in the Whole Deal. Unfortunately in Maryland, you can't sell alcohol in grocery stores.

            1. re: fldhkybnva
              m
              Mother of four RE: fldhkybnva Feb 6, 2013 08:20 AM

              Aside from WF I haven't found too many good deals in wine at the grocery stores. Well aside from TJ! I grew up in PA,and when I moved to MI I was so surprised to see wine and liquor in the grocery stores.

          2. h
            hyde RE: valleychip Feb 8, 2013 11:35 AM

            Prices are generally too high but wife will not eat meat that is poorly raised. Do not always have time to travel to MF Dulock in Somerville, mass, who sources all his meat locally (and sticker shock is assured), so buy whatever meat is on special then plan my meals around them.

            Last week, split chicken breasts for 1.99/lb gumbo/potpie crossover, this week pork shoulder 1.99/lb slow rosted with potatoes

            1. trolley RE: valleychip Feb 9, 2013 04:07 PM

              The best deal is to get a dozen of something and get 10% off.

              some of the 365 items are a decent deal too. they also have $10 pizza on Thursday or Friday nights, i forgot which. I also love their homemade tortillas. i think they're about $2.00 for a dozen. however, i know the regionally WF can differ greatly so not sure if your local WF has these items/deals.

              1 Reply
              1. re: trolley
                westsidegal RE: trolley Feb 12, 2013 01:07 AM

                their price on valrhona cocoa powder is already the lowest in town.
                when i get a case of it (three 1 kilo bags to a case), it is really a terrific deal.

              2. Fowler RE: valleychip Feb 9, 2013 04:23 PM

                I love their "buy one get one free" containers of deli made soups and chowders they offer from time to time. They are all delicious and cover the range of very healthy to, well, quite heavy on the guilt. But that is ok sometimes!

                1. i
                  Isolda RE: valleychip Feb 10, 2013 09:46 AM

                  Surprisingly, they have the best prices for organic milk. It's $5.99 per gallon for the store brand. At Costco, the organic milk (sold in a box of 3 half gallons) comes out to $6.10 per gallon. At Market Basket, usually the world's cheapest grocery store, even the store brand of organic milk is over $6 per gallon.

                  1. MisterBill2 RE: valleychip Feb 10, 2013 05:32 PM

                    I don't shop at WF often, but around Thanksgiving time, they were selling loose cranberries (floating in water) for $1.99 a pound. Given that the price for a 12 ounce bag was $2.50 on sale at supermarkets, I was really impressed with that price -- and it allowed me to buy just as many as I needed. I assume they don't carry these all the time.

                    Also, I discovered that their fresh ground almond butter was cheaper than Fairway by 30c/lb (of course, Fairway has raised their prices so much, that they're not vry cheap anymore, but I was surprised that they were higher than WF).

                    1. westsidegal RE: valleychip Feb 12, 2013 01:05 AM

                      they sell a brand of wine that is called THREE WISHES for $2 a bottle.
                      is it "fine wine?"
                      no
                      is it a terrific value for the money"
                      yes.
                      is is better than 2 buck chuck at trader joe's?
                      buy a mile.

                      1. rifkind81 RE: valleychip Feb 12, 2013 08:17 AM

                        Gotta say, butter is $3.49/pound here in Manhattan. Compared to FreshDirect, Food Emporium, and Fairway it is the best price.

                        1. fldhkybnva RE: valleychip Feb 12, 2013 08:29 AM

                          Best deal - good customer service. It's not a specific product but I just realized one of the main reasons that I love my local Whole Foods. It's a smaller-sized store and as a frequent shopper and slow browser, I have become acquainted with many of the employees. I am planning a mid-winter Thanksgiving dinner and have really enjoyed the Whole Foods prepared holiday dishes in the past but wasn't sure if they would be avilable in mid-February. Yesterday I called the catering department and I was able to order as little or as much as I wanted of a few side dishes - macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes (no stuffing available), and mini pies. I inquired about a prepared ready to cook chicken as I love the prepared ready to cook turkey and gravy as I adore their turkey gravy as well but the lady on the phone did not think that would be possible. However, I decided to give a call back today and asked to speak with the prepared food manager and asked if it would be possible to prepare a chicken and a few quarts of gravy (they sell already roasted turkey breast and chicken so I figured there were some drippings around somewhere). He was very helpful and immediately agreed that "yes, of course that's possible" and asked specifically what I wanted and agreed to it all. I have found them very helpful in ways like this in the past and definitely wouldn't be able to get the same service at my local Safeway. This could be a local store related experience, but just wanted to add.

                          1. Atomica RE: valleychip Feb 12, 2013 08:35 AM

                            This is a very valuable discussion. So many people have given up on "Whole Paycheck." The point below about good customer service is a real value-add for me. Many things at Safeway are far more expensive (one example, tortillas) and the WF experience is 100 times more pleasant. I almost always leave Safeway really pissed off.

                            The $4.99 frozen pizza at WF is *much* better than the Trader Joe's pizza. Decent bread for kid school lunches, $2.99/loaf. Try getting some edible bread at most stores for $2.99.

                            It's the main place I buy meat because it's good quality and not nosebleed high. Chicken breasts at $5.49/lb, really good hamburger, good pork chops--all items turn out much better than the "tissue culture" (my husband's term) at the Safeways/Vons of the world.

                            As for produce, there are often deals. There is always a cheap fruit deal of the week. Navel oranges are 99c/lb this week. Avocados have been pretty cheap for quite a while. Kale has been dirt cheap recently. And we do buy the Three Wishes wine for $1.99. As pointed out, a bit better than 2-Buck Chuck.

                            1. mcf RE: valleychip Feb 12, 2013 08:43 AM

                              Meats with a known provenance at competitive prices for 100% grass fed. And good service by meat counter staff.

                              1. m
                                Mellicita RE: valleychip Feb 12, 2013 04:28 PM

                                I like several of their prepared soups. At about 5 dollars for a 16 oz, I feel they are priced about average for a takeout soup from a restaurant or other grocey store.

                                I can usually find one or two seasonal fruits or veggies that are a good deal, but generally the produce is more expensive than other places (whether organic or conventional). I do like their whole, peeled and cored, pinapples, for $4.99.... the Whole Foods in my area (Dallas) consistently have good pinapples, even if the price is pretty average, not a great deal.

                                1. mr_morcilla RE: valleychip Feb 12, 2013 10:25 PM

                                  It's the only supermarket near work. I always leave disappointed. IMO, the produce is a total rip. Apples for $2.99/lb that are always mealy (same but crisp at Berkeley Bowl: $1.59 lb) conventional grapes: $4.99/lb (Safeway's are half that, Berk Bowl organic is $2.99). Seems like they tack a buck or two on to everything except for their own brand, which isn't usually organic but sort of looks like it is.
                                  Favorite WF experience: Giant "Buy Local" banners in the produce section hanging over a huge pile of overpriced pears from Argentina.
                                  It's a mega-chain based in Texas. 'Nuff said.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: mr_morcilla
                                    trolley RE: mr_morcilla Feb 12, 2013 11:10 PM

                                    well, not everyone has the privilege to live near a berkeley bowl! i've lived in toyo-ny-all over n.cal- all over so cal and i haven't come across a grocery store SO amazing. even when i moved across the bay to SF i missed the bowl so much. nothing can compare to berkeley bowl. put it this way, i never went to WF when i lived in Berkeley. maybe once or twice to see if they had a missing ingredient.

                                  2. EWSflash RE: valleychip Feb 17, 2013 07:04 AM

                                    I'm generally a captive audience to the hospital cafeteria where I work. A Whole Foods opened up a mile and a half away. It's a great place to shop and look around. They have really great food "bars", most of which aren't bad for the convenience, and the ones I've had have been really, really tasty (usually their prepackaged Asian meals).

                                    On the other hand, their meat prices, aside from the loss leaders, are horrendous. I swear to God I saw tilapia for $14.95 a pound. And I didn't see a guarantee that it had been wild-long-line-caught in a cool artesian spring, either.

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