Crowd Sourcing: What’s going on at Whole Foods?

Now that we are a one-grocery-store town (hardly a food desert, as neighborhoods in the South Bronx are described, but I must note we now have the same problem, if for different reasons), I’ve been observing the shifts and adjustments at Whole Foods, and also wondering what you all have noticed. K. got me thinking about it first, and between the two of us we learned that what she *thought* was changing — the disappearance of Jersey Italian Gravy and Edward & Sons rice crackers — has actually stayed the same (both companies confirmed to me that they are still selling to WF and had a temporary problem with their distributor.). Then the grocery stocker I love who calls me “boss” when I see him in the chip aisle I *thought* was gone, but then we spotted each other recently. Still, something’s afoot when you see Whole Foods chocolate. It just seems wrong — much more wrong than let’s say 365 tomato sauce.

Is supermarket shopping is over as we know it? What exactly is going on since the Amazon takeover? Forbes has this analysis, and Grubstreet had theirs, or we can just come up with our own. Comment below.

 

22 Comments

  1. They’ve def gone generic..and I’ve noticed they don’t have nearly the number of check out lines open..this is intentional (I believe) because they want the in store experience to be negative and time consuming to force everyone to just do delivery (it’s worked with me)

    Oh and also I heard from the employees they no longer pay people to stock the shelves over night/early am..which is why the aisles are so crowded now with shoppers and restockers fighting for space.

  2. I dare you to find a golden raisin at WF. It is incredibly sad what has happened to what began in Austin, Tx as an amazing food store. Both of my last two deliveries (I did my own shopping) arrived past the 4-hour mark.

    And BTW, I have seen the Amazon Shopper folks making their selections in the store. I might use them for non-perishables but I don’t want them grabbing me the first bunch of cilantro they see (the one in front with the yellow and brown leaves).

  3. My Whole Foods at Houston and Bowery started going downhill in 2016 but the Amazon acquisition took it down mega levels. here’s what I’ve written about it previously.
    http://theopinionator.com/question-of-the-day-why-does-bezos-hate-whole-foods/

  4. Trader Joes on Spring Street. Friendly, well stocked and best of all – not Whole Foods.

  5. Why a “one-grocery-store town”?
    There is still Gourmet Garage on Broadway&Franklin, for example.
    Good selection, seems to be doing well in terms of customers.

    • Point taken, but from Greenwich and Warren, a half-mile away, that is too far to haul for me. Still, I’ll examine. I think of GG as more of an Amish-type place, not for regular shopping…

      • “Amish”? How so?

        It is fine for regular shopping, even though generally quite expensive (not sure if it is more or less expensive than Whole Foods; I haven’t price-compared the two…perhaps others can weigh in on that issue). Produce is good, there is quite a selection of prepared foods (including soups and sushi), baked goods delivered fresh from various bakeries like Balthazar.

        We do our regular shopping there since it’s closer for us. (We also go to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s once in a while to stock up, since they have more vegan foods.)

        Oh and for fruits and some vegetables…we often buy from the Chinatown street vendors. Choose the produce carefully to make sure they it is fresh (but not over-ripe), but the price is a fraction of what it would cost at any of the grocery stores. $1 for a box of berries? Yes.

        That’s also a bit of a walk for those in the Western and Southern regions of our neighborhood, but worth the treck once in a while. Combine it with a lunch or dinner in Chinatown.

        • My one caution re: Amish…check “sell by” dates carefully, especially on dairy products. Many times I’ve found items with dates that were as much as two weeks expired.

        • “Amish” as in limited selection and super expensive but good in a pinch.

  6. I used to only shop at Whole Foods and now I literally go there for a few key items at best every few weeks. Trader Joes is much much less expensive, is mainly stocked with what I need and much better experience. While it is quite a bit further, it is worth the extra effort!

  7. I have shopped at Whole Foods since it was a small store on Lamar in Austin. Now I only go there when I have to get certain things. Their 365 brand is really poor quality except for the mayonnaise which I do buy but use rarely. There are always so many people in the aisles between the stockers and the people on phones etc. They have discontinued so many items that I go elsewhere if I can.

  8. What has really annoyed me lately is that they don’t carry tonic water- except for a smallish bottle for $6.99. I like a good gin and tonic in the warm weather, but the tonic shouldn’t cost more than the gin! We used to have Best Market, and before that, Food Emporium, for everyday basics that WF deems to low brow to carry, but now I have to have a list of items that I look for when traveling outside of the neighborhood.

  9. I have not been to Whole Foods in Tribeca for a few months and the change is remarkable. The produce is not as fresh as it was. And there are many items I used to buy there they no longer carry. Their ice cream choices have really declined. And their meats look like they have been sitting in the stall for too long.
    I would go with Fresh Direct. They have consistently improved their produce and meat/fish department.

  10. I agree it is sad how much has changed since the early years when Whole Foods was actually a friendly place with a focus on healthy foods… Just yesterday I was in the store and wishing to never be there again! It has such a chaotic feel, crowded with staff who are not there for customer service and cluttered with ever more new product displays, yet things I like keep disappearing and I regularly see expired items on the shelves. Unfortunately, it is the only place within a reasonable distance to get some perishable, specialty items. I try to get whatever I can elsewhere in the neighborhood (fruit carts and farmers market, Target, Gourmet Garage) and order from Fresh Direct, since at least they are a NYC based company.

  11. They are now crowded at all times of day because of the Whole Foods (or other delivery service) shoppers. And there always seem to be lines at the checkout no matter what time I go. They discontinued tamari almonds 🙁 and I have to be vigilant about checking expiration dates, as there are many expired items on the shelves. In fact, just the other day, I was standing near the ready-made pizza crusts and I saw one covered with mold. I picked it up and handed it to a woman who worked at the store and she was like “oh god” and took it away without checking the others. And they’ve gotten rid of the tamari almonds and the milk chocolate sea salt almonds :(
    I still shop there but am looking for alternatives…

  12. I was at Whole Foods on Sunday and overheard a shelf stocker exasperatingly talking to another, “I need a office job”. That sums it up nicely.

  13. Another reason to support and shop at our Greenmarket. The freshest fish you can find, great meat, chicken and eggs and now, coming into season are vegetables and fruits. For staples I use Fresh Direct. For cleaning products and paper goods, Kings Pharmacy has a great selection. I have never been a big fan of Whole Foods. I was very excited about it when it first opened. In recent years I tend to fall into a trance when I go in. If I go, it is for a specific item or two.

  14. I miss Best Market. Tribeca (and every other neighborhood) needs a traditional supermarket.

    Making due with Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Key Foods on Fulton Street.

    As others have noted, WF is crowded with rude and unhelpful employees. The guys collecting and transferring carts to the front of the store are a menace and should be an embarrassment to the management.

  15. Fleishmann’s Active Dry Yeast 4 oz. jar:
    WFM $8.99
    Target $5.99
    That’s huge!
    Basic baking products are best priced at Target comparing with every market in the area below and above Canal St.; TJ’s does not carry Active Dry Yeast but their flour is good and priced well.

  16. I just received an email that Instacart will no longer be working with Whole Foods. I will definitely miss the convenience but won’t miss the laughable substitutions that some of their shoppers made

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