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Mar 26, 2014 04:36 PM

Price Comparison: WF v PCC (Seattle)

Looking to see if anyone has looked into whether PCC is any cheaper for in season produce and meat/dairy than Whole Foods. We shop at Trader Joes for a lot of things (not meat or produce though) and our neighborhood Safeway is abysmal. I need a new grocery store!

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  1. I think PCC is more expensive, for what I buy anyway. They don't have anything equivalent to WF house ("365") brand, and I find the 365 stuff as cheap as TJs. When I was in my 20s I did 100% of my shopping at PCC (well, I worked there too) but I have nearly sworn off. I stopped in the other day for canola oil and the cheapest one they had was in a glass bottle and it was expensive. Not only are they too pricey, they never have the basics I need ie if I go for regular flour tortillas they have a million kinds of spelt and GF but not plain flour (or maybe one expensive kind). And the one in Greenlake anyway often won't carry local produce if it isn't organic, so I've been in the height of berry season and all they have are rock hard California berries in clamshells. The in season produce is generally more than you pay at a farmer's market. I'm not actually a fan of WF for local produce either--I think Ballard Market, little Ken's Market in my neighborhood, and the farmer's markets are where I go for that.

    *whew* PCC rant over. But obviously you can just go shop there and see if it suits you.

    6 Replies
    1. re: christy319

      It really shows how experiences differ. We are PCC regulars and wouldn't shop at WF even if we had one near us. So instead of comparing WF and PCC, I compare PCC and the West Seattle Thriftway or sometimes Met Market. PCC is often stunningly less expensive than TW--some products are 50% more at TW. As for local produce, it is sometimes a bit more expensive than at the farmers' market, but I would expect that because it is a middleman. And I can still get nice WA pears at PCC that have been well-stored and I can't find them at my farmers' market.
      That said, I totally agree about the frustration of finding only what we call hippie food at PCC because it does mean at least two trips are necessary to stock the pantry (in addition to our farmers' market visits).

      1. re: Laurella

        Agree with Laurelia that I would always choose PCC over WF. I think the quality of the produce at PCC is much better. The organic fruit and vegetables there are as good as the farmer's market and often the same vendors. Nothing at WF compares to the WA pears, apples, mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, etc, at PCC. And the red garnet yams they sell are worth going there for.

        1. re: bourbongal

          bourbongal, which PCC do you go to? Like I said I've been shocked at the lack of local produce at the Greenlake store, but each store has its own produce buyer so others may be better.

      2. re: christy319

        The 365 brand is really what sealed the deal for the WF win in my book. I went to both yesterday and PCC really did have less of a selection of mainstream items that our family eats (toddler approved "normal" bread, breakfast bars etc). After my little visit to both stores though I'm totally freaked out about pork now. How does QFC sell it for $4.99 and it's $12.99 (and humane of course) at Whole Foods?!?

        1. re: venice4504

          Because that $4.99 pork is factory farmed, mass produced and the animals are treated incredibly inhumanely. There are some awful, awful videos of pig farming up at the Humane Society's factory farming page; it'll make you happy to pay the $12.99 or buy right from a farmer's market at whatever that costs.

          1. re: christy319

            I've never had any meat from PCC that's been any good, despite their high prices. If it was a good product *and* "humanely" raised, maybe I'd shop there. But alas...

      3. Hi, Venice:

        Have you Tried Metropolitan Market? Their produce section is quite good, and cheaper than both Whole Paycheck and PCC.

        Increasingly, I am buying my produce from produce stands. If there is a good one near you, I recommend trying that. A separate trip/stop can be a PITA, but with a little planning...

        In what area do you live?


        3 Replies
        1. re: kaleokahu

          We live in Queen Anne. I love Met Mart. I honestly forgot about them now that they're only on Mercer. My only issue with them is I never seem to be able to leave without buying crab and artichoke dip. Yum yum

          1. re: venice4504

            Hi, Venice:

            The newly-remodeled Metropolitan Market in Magnolia is very nice. They're a couple price ticks north for a lot of things, but after I'm stumped at Albertsons or Fred Meyer, I can count on MM to have what I need.

            Try their deli's prime rib sandwich once and you'll be hooked.


            1. re: venice4504

              Met Market in QA has a poke bar too.

              I find their produce consistently better than PCC.

          2. In my experience Whole Foods has many more options, allowing you to price compare more than PCC does. Also it is a magical food wonderland.

            1. Since nobody has mentioned it I'll throw out Central Co-Op. Top quality, and I think the prices are very reasonable. There's a good selection and they carry some top quality products, I highly recommend checking it out if you haven't already.
              The non-existence of super high end grocery stores in Seattle is kind of odd, we have nothing on the level of grocery stores in Portland or even Santa Cruz. Makes multiple grocery stops in Seattle nearly mandatory.

              1 Reply
              1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                For those of us who live anywhere other than Capitol Hill/Madrona area, Central Coop is really difficult to get to on a normal day. Good suggestion though if you're close.

                What do you consider super high end? Bristol Farms-esque?