Whole Foods price check finds few rollbacks

Don't Waste Your Money

Whole Foods made headlines across the country back in August, when Amazon took over the organic grocer, promising lower prices and an end to the stores nickname "whole paycheck."

Within days, signs within stores touted new lower prices on avocados, bananas and pre-cooked roast chickens, which saw a dramatic price drop of $2 per chicken in many stores.

But a new survey 3 months after the acquisition claims that "relatively few items have actually been reduced in price." 

This comes despite yet another announcement claiming the store was lowering even more prices for the holiday season.

Consumer watchdog checks prices

Staffers at the independent consumer watchdog ConsumerWorld.org looked at prices of several thousand items on Whole Foods shelves, right before the Amazon changeover, and again on November 27, 2017.

"Ninety-seven percent of their items are still at the full regular price they were before, which most people would say was pretty high," ConsumerWorld Executive Director Ed Dworsky told WCPO.

In three stores that staffers checked, they found only about 250 items with lower prices in the past 3 months. 

That compares with Kroger's 2013 price rollback announcement, when the chain lowered more than 3,000 prices in each store.

Dworsky says the 250 number may be generous.  He says of those items, several are really just one product, such as toothpaste or yogurt..

"They lowered Tom's Toothpaste," he said. " Well there are 24 different types of Tom's of Maine toothpaste, and there are 31 types of a particular yogurt they lowered."

When it comes to a variety of items, Dworsky said "prices on only about 250 were dropped, yet the company got these tremendous headlines of price drops up to 42%, consumers stocking up, etc."

A price check reported in the Washington Post in October ound that overall prices had declined a negligible 1.2 percent, despite all the media headlines of big rollbacks.

ConsumerWorld says shoppers should avoid the hype, and look at their own grocery bill.  If it appears lower than it did last summer, then you are purchasing the items with lower prices at Whole Foods. 

But if you don't seem to be seeing any change, he says, that's because there is really not that much of a change in the stores.

Whole Foods has declined to comment on the ConsumerWorld survey.

As always, don't waste your money.

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