From ice cream to soap, here's where you’ll be seeing a difference.
When Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017, it brought down some of the grocery store’s prices—taking some of the punch out of the supermarket chain's “Whole Paycheck” reputation in the process—and quickly increased Whole Foods' customer base by 25 percent, as previously reported by Food & Wine. Perks like Prime Now two-hour delivery and Prime member deals in the stores have enticed customers; however, while sales are up, profitability is still down. As a result, Whole Foods prices are back on the rise once more, reports the Wall Street Journal, and over 500 products have already been affected—so stock up on your organic mac and cheese and trail mix deals while you still can.
The decision was made based on “rising costs for packaging, ingredients, and transportation,” according to an internal email WSJ obtained; meanwhile, contracts to sell hundreds of items at low prices, including Häagen-Dazs ice cream and Dr. Bronner’s soaps, have expired and won’t be renewed. It's like the perfect pricing storm: the contract issue caused several hikes this month, while in December, 550 items jumped up because suppliers were charging more based on inflation. The next time you visit a Whole Foods store or order online, you'll find that dish detergents, soaps, oils, and nut butters were among the products hardest hit; while the average price increase was 66 cents, some prices jumped up as much as several dollars.
Still, despite the increases, a spokeswoman for Whole Foods told WSJ that the more items are being put on sale. “We also offer hundreds to thousands of sale items daily and we’re continuing to lower prices for all shoppers and Prime members,” Whole Foods told the paper. So while you may have to fork over extra on some of your essentials, hopefully, there will be more sales on the way to help offset the cost.
Whole Foods Market also supplied Food & Wine with the following statement:
“Like all grocers, Whole Foods Market has experienced increased costs from suppliers due to materials, labor and transportation, and we’ve absorbed much of the inflation. Many prices have also decreased, and we continue to expand the number of promotions we offer to give our customers better value. We remain committed to continuing to lower prices with Amazon as we deliver on our mission to make high-quality, natural and organic food more affordable and accessible.”
The price fluctuations follow an announcement made last month that Amazon is looking to broaden its Whole Foods reach, potentially expanding to Wyoming, Idaho, and southern Utah, as previously reported by Food & Wine; weeks later, it was announced that no more Whole Foods 365 stores will open.
Update February 12: This article has been amended to include a quote from Whole Foods Market.