The 365 by Whole Foods Market stores are billed as a lower-price version of the mother store, but how much will you really save? I decided to investigate. On the same day in February, I checked the prices of items in regular rotation on my grocery list at the 365 by Whole Foods in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles and an old-school Whole Foods seven miles away in Glendale, CA.
Here's what I found out.
How 365 by Whole Foods Compares to Whole Foods
Almost all items were less expensive at 365 — some amazingly so. (Scroll down for my top 10 picks to buy at 365).
Other essentials were the same or within 10 cents of each. Store-brand extra-virgin olive oil, was $9.99 both places, for example; a six pack of Hefeweizen by local brewery Golden Road was also the same at $8.99; the rotisserie (non-organic) chickens were a silly penny apart, $9 at 365 and $8.99 at Whole Foods.
The only real exception to the rule? It was the garlic, which turned out to cost less at Whole Foods, where it is sold for $6.99 a pound, or about 87 cents for an average head, than at 365, where it is priced at $1.80 for one head.
10 Items That Are (Much) Cheaper at 365 than Whole Foods
1. 365 Organic Almond Milk
The house 365 brand of organic almond milk in the 32-ounce carton was significantly less at 365 — a whopping $2.29 versus $1.89.
Savings: $.40 per 32-ounce carton
2. Gala Apples
Produce pricing is crazy inconsistent at 365. Some things are by the pound, while others are individually priced by the bunch or piece (very much in the mode of Trader Joe's).
I saved money on organic Gala apples at 365, which were priced at 80 cents each or roughly $1.60 a pound. The same apples were $2.49 per pound at Whole Foods (two random apples came in at a pound, making them $1.24 each).
Savings: $.89 per pound or about $.44 per apple
3. Blood Oranges
The exact same brand, Cecelia's Pride, of blood oranges were prominently displayed in each produce department, but they were way less at 365. There, they were priced at four oranges for $1; at Whole Foods they were $1.49 a pound, which worked out to approximately $2.60 for four average-sized oranges.
Savings: $1.60 for four oranges or $.40 per orange
4. 365 Whole Almonds
The 365 Brand Whole Almonds at 365 cost $5.39 versus $6.99 at Whole Foods.
Savings: $1.60 per 16-ounce bag.
5. Wild King Salmon
At Whole Foods the fish pieces are beautifully arranged on beds of ice behind the counter and the fishmonger will cut a piece to your specifications. How much is that worth to you? Whole Foods says $6 — per pound.
Vacuum-sealed, pre-packed portions at 365 were $19.99 a pound; at Whole Foods your custom-cut is $25.99 a pound. Both fish had been previously frozen. As my grandmother would have said, same ocean.
Savings: $6 per pound
6. Evolution Juices
These are once-in-awhile purchases for me — if someone in the family is feeling low or getting a cold — but 365 makes them less of a splurge. Varieties like Organic Sweet Burn and Sweet Greens were $4.29 versus $7.49 at Whole Foods.
Savings: $3.60 per 15.2-ounce bottle
7. Intelligentsia Coffee
Overall, coffee and tea (especially the Yogi brand, priced at $3.29) seemed to be consistently priced at the two stores. But whole beans by Intelligentsia (specifically the Direct Trade El Diablo Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee) were a real steal, costing $10.99 versus $15.99 at Whole Foods. Talk about a wake-up call.
Savings: $5 per 12-ounce bag
8. Organic Girl Super Greens Prepackaged Salad Greens
These big boxes of triple-washed salad greens were 50 cents cheaper at 365, $5.99 compared to $6.49. Bonus: They are part of the 365 Friends rewards program, which means that for every five boxes you buy, one is free.
Savings: $.50 per 16-ounce box, plus $5.99 for everything fifth box.
9. Whole Foods Market Cupcakes
In my comparison shop, the bakery selection at 365 was very much the poor relation to those at even the smallest Whole Foods I've visited. Still, the two-bite cupcakes, in vanilla or chocolate, were a highlight. They're ubiquitous, consistently good, and can be just the thing when you want to indulge. They'll run you $2 less at 365: $2.99 vs. $4.99.
Savings: $2 per 10.5-ounce container
10. Organic Bone-in Chicken Breast
Whole Foods was selling the Mary's brand for $6.49 a pound, while 365 offered the store brand at $5.99.
Savings: $.50 per pound
Have you shopped at 365? What bargains did you find?