We compared prices at Whole Foods to those at Trader Joe's — and the results were surprising

Whole Foods is trying desperately to shed its "Whole Paycheck" reputation as it loses millions of customers to grocery store rivals like Kroger and Trader Joe's.

While sales of organic food have more than tripled in the past decade, same-store sales at Whole Foods have decelerated in recent years as conventional grocery stores up their organic variety and offer more competitive prices.

To see how Whole Foods is doing, we visited a Whole Foods and a Trader Joe's just a few blocks away from each other in New York's Union Square and compared prices on 28 similar items.

Overall, our Whole Foods basket was about $30 more expensive than our basket at Trader Joe's.

The final bills came to $115.90 at Whole Foods and $85.33 at Trader Joe's, after we accounted for the products' varying package sizes.

Here's how the prices compared:

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Prices at Whole Foods vs. Trader Joe's
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Prices at Whole Foods vs. Trader Joe's

Red peppers

Trader Joe's: $0.99 each 

Whole Foods: $3.99 per pound

One medium-sized red bell pepper weighed nearly one pound, so peppers were far more expensive at Whole Foods. 

Organic avocados

Trader Joe's: $2.29 each 

Whole Foods: $2.79 each 

Organic strawberries

Trader Joe's: $5.99 for 16 ounces

Whole Foods: $5.99 for 16 ounces

Strawberries were expensive across the board.

Green seedless grapes

Trader Joe's: $3.99 for 20 ounces, or $3.19 for one pound

Whole Foods: $2.99 for one pound (on sale from $3.99 per pound)

Organic bananas

Trader Joe's: $0.29 each

Whole Foods: $0.99 per pound

Three medium-sized bananas weighed around a pound, so this was a close call.

Multigrain bread

Trader Joe's: $2.99 for 24 ounces

Whole Foods: $3.49 for 24 ounces

Buying two loaves of bread at Whole Foods would have brought the cost down to a comparable $3 per loaf. 

White bread

Trader Joe's: $2.69 for 24 ounces

Whole Foods: $3.49 for 24 ounces

There was a big difference, though the white bread at Whole Foods was organic.

Ground beef

Trader Joe's: $4.99 per pound

Whole Foods: $9.99 per pound

Again, the cheapest option at Whole Foods was organic. 

Ground turkey

Trader Joe's: $3.99 per pound

Whole Foods: $7.99 per pound

Uncured sliced bacon

Trader Joe's: $5.49 for 12 ounces

Whole Foods: $4.99 for 12 ounces

Whole Foods is the winner here and there was a good selection on sale. 

Organic white potatoes

Trader Joe's: $1.oo per pound

Whole Foods: $1.20 per pound

Organic white tortilla chips

Trader Joe's: $2.69 for 16 ounces

Whole Foods: $2.99 for 16 ounces

Vanilla ice cream

Trader Joe's: $3.99 for 32 fluid ounces

Whole Foods: $4.99 for 32 fluid ounces (organic)

Trader Joe's ice cream was cheaper but the 365 version at Whole Foods was organic. 

Parmesan 

Trader Joe's: $5.38 for one pound

Whole Foods: $12.77 for one pound

Organic mayonnaise

Trader Joe's: $3.69 for 16 ounces

Whole Foods: $3.69 for 16 ounces

A dead heat!

Extra virgin olive oil

Trader Joe's: $6.99 for 33.8 fluid ounces

Whole Foods: $9.99 for 33.8 fluid ounces

Organic marinara sauce

Trader Joe's: $2.49 for 25 ounces

Whole Foods: $2.99 for 25 ounces

Organic spaghetti

Trader Joe's: $1.29 for 16 ounces

Whole Foods: $1.49 for 16 ounces

Chili flakes

Trader Joe's: $1.99 for 1.3 ounces

Whole Foods: $3.99 for 0.99 ounces

Dried basil

Trader Joe's: $1.99 for 0.3 ounces

Whole Foods: $2.99 for 0.53 ounces

Organic crunchy peanut butter

Trader Joe's: $3.49 for 16 ounces

Whole Foods: $3.99 for 16 ounces

Organic milk

Trader Joe's: $3.49 for a half gallon

Whole Foods: $2.39 for a half gallon

The milk at Trader Joe's is organic.

Organic plain yogurt

Trader Joe's: $3.99 for 32 ounces

Whole Foods: $3.39 for 32 ounces

Whoa! A great deal on organic plain yogurt at Whole Foods. 

Frozen peas

Trader Joe's: $1.29 for 16 ounces

Whole Foods: $1.39 for 16 ounces

Almond Breeze almond milk

Trader Joe's: $1.99 for 32.8 ounces

Whole Foods: $2.19 for 32.8 ounces

Both stores stock Almond Breeze almond milk, we did a direct comparison of the product: Trader Joe's was $0.20 cheaper.

Hummus

Trader Joe's: $1.99 for 8 ounces

Whole Foods: $2.19 for 8 ounces

Eggs

Trader Joe's: $2.69 for a dozen cage-free large eggs

Whole Foods: $4.39 for a dozen organic large eggs

Note that Whole Foods' eggs are organic and Trader Joe's are cage free. 

Rolled oats

Trader Joe's: $3.99 for 32 ounces, or $2.00 per pound

Whole Foods: $3.19 for 18 ounces, or $2.84 per pound

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