Whole Foods wins price war

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.

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