Are prices really down at Whole Foods after Amazon takeover?
The Amazon/Whole Foods deal is closing today, and the retail giant didn’t spare a second to tackle the Austin-bred grocer’s biggest hurdle with customers: Prices.
On Friday, Amazon announced it would be lowering the cost of some goods in all of its stores, so I swept through the downtown location — with a pen in hand — to see exactly how much these prices would be dropping.
I recorded the prices on about 45 items, from frozen pizzas and LaCroix to salmon and organic raspberries, on Friday, and by Monday morning, 11 of those items dropped in price over the weekend.
That means a lot of the goods — milk, orange juice, butter sparkling water (Topo Chico and LaCroix), tomatoes, sliced cheese, cauliflower, frozen pizza, chicken breasts, Dave’s Killer Bread, Noosa yogurt, Siete tortilla chips — stayed the same price.
The products that changed in price were:
Coho salmon: From $19.99/lb. to $16.99/lb.
Pint of conventional blueberries: From $4.99 to $3.99
Organic Hass avocado: From $2.69 to $1.99
365 organic lettuce mix: From $3.99 to $3.49
In-house baked rustic country French bread: From $4.99 to $4.79
365 organic extra-large eggs: From $5.69 to $4.19
Conventional 85/15 ground beef: From $5.99 to $4.99
Organic 85/15 ground beef: From $9.99 to $7.99
365 organic canned coconut milk: From $2.29 to $1.99
365 organic Italian pasta sauce: From $2.99 to $2.79
Fara coffee: $9.99 to $7.99
I overheard several shoppers commenting on the prices when I was in the store, and most of them were commenting on how it the drop in price ranged from 20 and 50 cents per item, but not all products in each section dropped. The only item I checked that went up was the cost of sliced organic colby jack cheese, which went up from $6.99 to $7.39 per package.
When I stepped outside my food writer brain and into my everyday shopper brain, I realized that I definitely could use some $1.99/lb. organic Fuji apples, which were only 30 cents more expensive than the conventional Fujis and far less than I’ve seen at other grocers in Austin. I also grabbed a 99 cent bunch of kale, which is the same price at H-E-B.
I could have also picked up a “Farm Fresh” Amazon Echo or Echo Dot for $99.99 or $44.99, which is exactly what they cost online.
We haven’t yet seen any additional discounts for Amazon Prime members, but everyday shoppers will definitely notice cheaper prices at Whole Foods starting this week. How long those prices will last, what discounts and shopping experience they’ll give shoppers who request delivery and how they’ll use shopping data remain to be seen.
I’m not the only food writer who has been comparing Whole Foods prices today. Business Insider shopped for 15 items on Friday and Monday and found that the total dropped 23 percent, but that will not be your experience unless you only shop the products that had dropped dramatically. As we saw with the sliced cheese, the store might end up absorbing some of those discounts by raising prices in other areas.