Despite the pricey reputation of Foggy Bottom’s newest grocery chain, a cost comparison by The Hatchet shows Whole Foods Market beats out campus competitors.
The addition of the world’s largest organic market as a GWorld vendor means increased competition for campus dining, a program that for years only competed with Safeway.
After a price comparison on several items sold at all three businesses, The Hatchet found that Whole Foods offered lower prices than J Street and Trader Joe’s on individualized items. Though Trader Joe’s, known for its independent brands, does not accept GWorld, it remains a popular shopping destination for students willing to venture off campus.
The total of five individual items at J Street – a water bottle, a 16 oz. bottle of milk, a yogurt cup, a banana, an apple and a snack bar – is $7.64. At Whole Foods, the cost is $4.37. Students would pay $5.68 for the items at Safeway and $6.54 at Trader Joe’s.
Nancy Haaga, managing director of Campus Support Services, said comparing prices between J Street and a grocery store is “not necessarily fair.”
“A grocery store kind of operation has a very different pricing model than a restaurant does,“ Haaga said.
Rich Yokeley, the Sodexo director of campus dining, said J Street is comparatively priced on individualized items with the CVS Pharmacy across the street at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave.
This summer, J Street lowered the price of a bottle water by 10 cents to better compete with CVS Pharmacy’s price.
Yokely emphasized the value of J Street’s dine-in options.
J Street’s “pay-by-the-pound” option is almost $2 cheaper per pound than Whole Foods when students use their GWorlds and, unlike when purchasing ready-made food at grocery stores, they aren’t required to pay taxes, Yokely said.