A little background before you read Part 5 in my Insider’s Series to Shopping at Whole Foods: I started working for Whole Foods Market in 2007. I worked off and on for the company at multiple stores throughout California until last year. I’m sharing all the tips, tricks, and strategies I learned during my time at the grocery store so you can learn to shop and save there, too.
I once avoided the meat and seafood counters at grocery stores. I love meat. I love fish. However, there always seemed to be so many tricks and tips to buying and making the best of each that somehow, I always felt inadequate. But now that I've worked with and met many folks who work in those departments, I have some money-saving ideas to pass along to you.
Four things that can save some green in the meat and seafood departments:
Try a Different Cut of MeatCertain cuts of meat are more expensive. That's just a fact. Still, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy delicious meat or seafood. You just have to be cut savvy. For instance, if you buy Wild King Salmon collars and bones, you can get them for around $2.99/lb*. These cuts tend to have a lot of meat on them and are cheaper than typical cuts of salmon that can run around $17.99-$19.99/lb. Do call the seafood or meat department if you are wanting a cut that is not regularly served though. Sometimes, you might have to make a special order for a more unique cut.
Value PacksThree-pound (or more) value packs are discounted by 50 cents per pound. This includes poultry, ground beef, stew meat, pork chop blades, and fish. These can often be found in the freezers in front of the meat and seafood counters along with other frozen cuts of meat and fish that are greatly discounted.
Portion ControlIt's easy to get to the meat and seafood counters and feel like there is no way that you would be able to afford to eat any of it when you see prices per pound. Like those King Salmon Fillets that I mentioned before. How in the world would you be able to afford to eat that? Well, let me tell you, it is easier than you think.
According to the American Heart Association, a serving size of meat or seafood is 2 to 3 cooked ounces, so if you bought a pound of King Salmon and used the guidelines set by the AHA, you would be able to make 5 to 6 meals out of that pound of fish. Also, you do not have buy anything by the pound. You can absolutely order cuts of meat and fish to your size preference.
Keep an Eye Out for SalesI have said it before, but there are always Friday One-Day Sales and weekend sales. They can be one of the best ways to stock up on meat and seafood. Recent sales include $6 off each pound of King Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Fillets and $2 off each pound of Boneless Beef Chuck Roast.
Lastly, my biggest piece of advice: just ask questions. You’ll never know if you don’t ask, and team members are there to help, guide, and educate. I am always impressed by the wealth of knowledge that the meat and seafood teams have about their products.
*These prices reflect the current market value of these meats at the Whole Foods in Birmingham, AL the week of July 6, 2015.