Price check: Whole Foods is 15% more expensive than Fairway

red hook fairway cheese

Head to the Red Hook Fairway and you might find yourself in a cheesy part of the world.  And you may ask yourself, “Is this cheese cheaper than Whole Foods’?” All photos by Joanna Purpich

Fairway and Whole Foods, the great behemoths of responsible eating and fresh produce in Brooklyn. While their wide variety of organic and specialty products make the sticker shock more bearable, shopping ethically-yet-thrifty is a cherished Brokelyn tradition, so I wanted to find out which store gave you less sticker shock.

I made a list of common grocery purchases like grapes, bacon and rice then hit both stores for a side by side comparison. I matched brands whenever possible and tried to find comparable products for meat and produce. I also compared the experience of shopping at the two stores because a good collection of samples can make a worthwhile trip all on its own. Neither Whole Foods or Fairway has a reputation for being all that budget friendly, but when push comes to shove, which one is cheaper? 

Vine tomatoes
Fairway: $1.99 lb
Whole Foods: $4.99 lb

Red seedless grapes
Fairway: $2.49 lb
Whole Foods: $3.99 lb

All natural chicken breast
Fairway: $3.99 lb
Whole Foods: $7.99 lb

red hook fairway

It’s no wacky deli at Fairway, they’re not messing around

Niman Ranch bacon
Fairway: $10.19
Whole Foods: $7.99

Naked smoothie 32 oz
Fairway: $5.69
Whole Foods: $4.99

Blue Diamond almond milk 32 oz
Fairway: 2 for $4
Whole Foods: $1.99

gowanus whole foods

We’ll say this much for the Gowanus Whole Foods: it’s freakin’ nuts!

Horizon butter, box of 4
Fairway: $6.99
Whole Foods: $6.49

Brianna’s salad dressing
Fairway: 2 for $6
Whole Foods: $4.39

Wild Planet albacore tuna 5 oz
Fairway: $3.99
Whole Foods: 2 for $7

Short grain brown rice, bulk
Fairway: $2.99 lb
Whole Foods: $1.79 lb

gowanus whole foods

Juicy.

Bionaturae gluten free pasta
Fairway: 2 for $7
Whole Foods: $4.99

Lentil crackers
Fairway: $3.59
Whole Foods: $3.99

Glutino chocolate chip cookie mix
Fairway: $4.89
Whole Foods: $5.39

Alexia hashbrowns
Fairway: $2.79
Whole Foods: $3.39

Coffee beans
Fairway: $7.99 lb (sale)
Whole Foods: $9.99 lb

red hook fairway

Pretty as a picture, in the Fairway produce section,

Twinings Earl Grey
Fairway: $3.29
Whole Foods: $4.19

Amy’s cream of tomato soup
Fairway: $2.79
Whole Foods: $2.99

Simply Organic dried basil
Fairway: $4.29
Whole Foods: $4.99

Fairway total: $76.45 
Whole Foods total: $88.03

GOING BEYOND PRICE

Being in Red Hook, Fairway isn’t very accessible unless you live in the area or you have a car. Since neither of those were true, I had to take a taxi. I also found the store’s layout confusing. The dairy aisle was awkwardly wedged between the frozen section and the cash registers. Complaints aside, both the cheese and gluten free selections are amazing. I could have spent all day sampling Gouda.

Whole Foods is an experience.The entire store gives out so many samples they could count for a light lunch. On top of that, they have an extensive hot and cold deli, custom-made pizza, and a juice bar. They clearly mark locally sourced products and tell you exactly where your meat is from. Whole Foods is also a strong believer in their own brand, 365. They do not carry many other options  if the generic is available.

Fairway is the clear winner in the price comparison coming in at $11.58 cheaper, making Whole Foods 15% more expensive. However, the hassle of schlepping to Red Hook, not to mention the price of an Uber, lost the store major points. Next time I want an organic apple, I’ll pay for convenience and go to Whole Foods.

Follow Joanna’s adventures in groceries at @JoannaPurpich

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