We weren’t surprised to hear that Amazon would be slashing prices at Whole Foods after their deal to acquire the grocery chain closed, but we weren’t sure how deep those cuts would be at the outset. Well, it’s day one of those price cuts, and while they aren’t store-wide, some items have gotten some pretty significant cuts.
For now, it looks like Amazon is just focusing on staples. I took a look around the nearest Whole Foods store to me in San Francisco and found 12 items with reduced prices accompanied with a little red Amazon + Whole Foods tag, plus larger signs postscripted with ‘more to come…’
Several discounted items are from Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value line, their already somewhat lower cost selection of natural and organic products. A gallon of milk went from $6.49 to $5.99, while a dozen eggs went from $4.69 to $3.99. A 32 ounce box of organic almond milk went from $2.19 to $1.99, while all flavors of 25 ounce jars of 365 pasta sauce got the same $0.20 discount, now priced at $2.79.
The meat and seafood counter saw the most staggering cuts. Both boneless rib eye and New York strip steak cost $3.00 less per pound, going from $16.99 to $13.99. Salmon fillets saw the same price cut, going from $12.99 to $9.99 per pound. Tilapia got a $2.00 price cut to $7.99 per pound.
The rest of the discounts I saw were in the produce section. The promised avocado price cut turned out to be from $1.99 each to $1.49 each, while tomatoes on the vine went from $2.49 to $1.99 per pound. Bananas, organic bananas, and organic gala apples all saw discounts too, with the bananas $0.30 less per pound and the apples going from $2.99 to $1.99 per pound.
These were just the discounts I noticed — other outlets based in other areas are reporting more, and any discounts are going to be based on prices that vary by city. Bloomberg reported cuts to organic kale, organic baby lettuce, almond butter, 365 Everyday Value butter, fuji apples, and the all-important rotisserie chicken at a Whole Foods location in Manhattan.
The cuts are limited for now, and while some of the discounts to the meats are eye-opening, for the most part the permanent price drops bring Whole Foods on par with prices at other grocery stores, rather than delivering the dirt cheap prices that Amazon is known for. Amazon will likely move Whole Foods toward more aggressive pricing in the months to come. As with the rest of retail, Amazon is out to dominate grocery sales — they won’t do that just by being merely competitive.
Whole Foods will likely become a major site for Amazon technology and products, too. While I didn’t see any in my Whole Foods, Bloomberg reported that the Manhattan location was selling Amazon Echo and Dot units in store. It’ll be interesting to see if Amazon starts stocking Whole Foods with other high selling products on their online retail channels in the months to come. Either a way, a cheap, Amazon-backed Whole Foods should be a terrifying prospect for every other major grocery or big box chain involved in selling food, let alone the smaller mom-and-pop stores and bodegas that still survive in larger cities.