Monday, February 26, 2007

Shopping Comparison: Whole Foods Extravaganza

A Dozen Organic Eggs. . .
Whole Dairy Cage-Free, Vegetarian-Fed (not labeled “organic”): $1.99
Whole Dairy Organic Free Range: $3.69
Cyd’s Nest Fresh Cage-free eggs: $3.59
Organic Valley Cage (only had extra-large variety): $4.49

While the pricing here skyrocketed for eggs, there were certainly a few more varieties and types within (like both white and brown eggs from each label and also some different sizes) that weren’t available elsewhere.

A Quart of Organic Milk. . .
365 Organic: $2.79 ($4.99 per gallon)
Horizon Organic: $3.29
Organic Valley: $2.99 ($5.29 per gallon)
Morning Fresh All Natural (not labeled “organic”): $2.29 ($3.99 per gallon)

Again, I felt the prices got a little steep for choosing other than the Whole Foods label (which is both Whole Dairy and 365 Organic, if you didn’t know). But if their milk is good, then it’s also very reasonably priced. And I’m already paying this much for Horizon at King Sooper’s when it’s about 50 cents cheaper at Target.

Bulk Items. . .
Raw Sugar: $1.19/#
Steel-cut oatmeal: 99 cents/#
Semolina flour: $1.19/#
Whole Nutmeg: $5.49 for 1.5 oz jar
Cracked wheat: 89 cents/#
Brown Rice Flour: $1.49/#
Wheat Couscous: $1.79/#
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour: 69 cents/#

Bulk stock here is so plentiful it makes me wonder why I buy packaged junk anywhere else. A cookbook I read recently suggested organizing different bulk items in canning jars with labels, and I’m thinking that makes perfect sense if I start buying these items more frequently. I made off with quinoa for $1.99 per pound, so I’m going to try that this week as planned. Whole Foods had all of the types of beans and lentils that Vitamin Cottage had, plus more types of rice and pilaf and bean blends. I like the wide variety here and the pricing is still far lower than grocery stores where you buy a pound bag.

Frozen & Meatless Items. . .
Quorn Cutlets/Nuggets/Hot Dogs: $4.59
Morningstar Farms Organic Soy Burgers & Sausages (sold only at WF): $4.59
Boca Organic Soy Burgers (sold only at WF): $4.49
Boca Organic Soy Sausages (sold only at WF): $4.29
White Wave Tofu package: $3.49
Tempeh: $1.99 avg
Tofurky Sausages: $3.49
Lightlife Gimme Lean Sausage Crumbles: $3.59
Fava Beans (frozen, 16 oz): $2.29
Edamame (frozen, shelled, 10 oz): $1.49
Shiitake Mushrooms (frozen, 10 oz): $2.99

It’s seriously unfair that WF gets store brands to make specialty items that only they can sell, as in Boca and Morningstar Farms. Hard to compare and also hard to know what to get as the regular items aren’t in stock here. However, it’s also extremely difficult to choose between the different types of products. Not only did they stock almost everything I’ve purchased so far, they also had plenty of varieties of soy products I’ve never seen. Combined with their frozen vegetable and fruit selection — far superior in breadth than anything I’ve seen — I’d say this is the most complete store for my entire shopping list. Will it cost me more? Yes, I’d say probably. Their produce is high priced, though most of it looks spectacular, not spotty or wilted.

I’m not sure I can afford to switch stores for my entire shopping list, especially when George’s Mountain Dew is surprisingly (ha!) unavailable at either Vitamin Cottage or Whole Foods. But I’m definitely thinking I can supplement my grocery list with low-cost bulk items from here, and round out my diet with a few of their meatless selections.

Next, I’m thinking of switching to organic cleaning products. Toilet paper, by the way, is not going to be an option at this point. I tried the Seventh Generation TP and it’s pretty rough, compared to my baby butt stuff I’ve got right now. I know it’s lame to be selective about toilet paper, and I’d hate for anyone to think I have hemorrhoid issues or whatnot. But I am sort-of spoiled with my butt tissue, and there’s nothing anyone can do about that just yet. One step at a time, right?

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