Amazon Bought Whole Foods Over One Year Ago, But Prices Haven't Changed Much
Over the last year, Amazon has brought a lot of change to Whole Foods: They rolled out two-hour delivery to almost 40 cities in the United States; unveiled a brand new rewards program designed for Amazon Prime members; brought Amazon's Prime Day to all Whole Foods' markets; and even launched curbside pick up for shoppers. But the one change that many customers have been patiently waiting for is Amazon shedding the "whole paycheck" reputation associated with Whole Foods. Even though Amazon promised to lower prices, it looks like that still hasn’t happened yet.
Retail experts at Gordon Haskett Research priced a basket of 108 grocery staples worth $400 at Whole Foods at the end of August 2018—exactly one year after they did a price check for first time post-Amazon buyout. They found that the price of the groceries was reduced by just $1.50 from the previous year, despite new discounts offered to Prime members and Amazon cardholders.
The Gordon Haskett team also tested prices at Whole Foods in September 2017, November 2017, and March 2018—but the team of analysts said that prices remained mostly unchanged between these tests.
“While deeper promotional pricing on key items, incremental savings… and increased convenience for Prime Members in the first year under Amazon ownership have caught our eye as consumers, the reality is that Whole Foods pricing on a broad basket has remained largely unchanged,” the Gordon Haskett writes in their report, MarketWatch reports.
What kinds of groceries were they testing? Items in the grocery cart included Whole Foods' 365 creamy peanut butter, balsamic vinaigrette, and various private-label ice creams. The tests also included a few brand name products, such as Cheerios cereal, Nature's Path buckwheat waffles, and Amy's better-for-you breakfast tofu wraps.
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Compared with earlier tests in March, Gordon Haskett found higher prices on 19 different items on the basket, whereas only 11 items had lower prices in August. Overall, though, prices have remained stagnant—78 different groceries remained at the same price. You may be even more disappointed to hear that, over the various tests, there were fewer and fewer "on sale" items included.
You're more likely to see attractive discounts and sales during holidays and special occasions, like antibiotic-free turkeys around Thanksgiving, the team found.
There are many factors that could affect prices, including inflation and higher fuel costs, the analysts said. However, Amazon, who distinctly made claims that they would lower costs after purchasing the grocery chain, has seemingly focused on new features rather than actually lowering prices. And whether it's due to prices or other factors, many loyal fans have complained that Amazon's takeover hasn't turned out the way they'd hoped.