After watching Dominick’s close in 2014, students were immediately concerned they would be left without a place to buy groceries on campus. However, just a year later Whole Foods came in as the go-to grocery store for students. Now the high-end grocery chain is taking aim at their costly image that earned them the nickname “Whole Paycheck”.
This past August, Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods became official and one of their immediate goals was to lower the price on some of the most popular items across all stores.
DePaul student Ross Greer, who has worked at the location since it opened in 2015, noticed an effort on the part of Whole Foods to lower prices, especially in the areas of produce, water and 365 brands, which is Whole Foods cheaper brand.
“Produce is one in particular which is already pretty cheap, but it’s kind of nice that they dropped it a little,” Greer said, “They’re definitely making an effort to have you notice too, they have these little signs, water has gotten a lot cheaper.”
A closer look shows Whole Foods does offer cheaper bread, and soup than its competitors such as Jewel Osco, Trader Joe’s and Mariano’s. However, they are still more expensive when it comes to items such as pasta, mayonnaise and milk, which are popular items among college students.
Since the purchase, Greer has also had customers inquire about Amazon’s current involvement outside of the price drops.
“A lot of questions about Amazon and Amazon’s involvement in Whole Foods now, which first of all there isn’t really, they put up a sign when it first happened basically saying nothing was going to change they just own us now and will make price adjustments in the future,” Greer said.
In Greer’s two years working at Whole Foods, he has witnessed the Whole Foods become an extremely popular location for DePaul students.
“I would say it’s where most of our business comes from is students, during the off months in the summer, production cuts down just because if we’re making food it’s going to get wasted, so you see notice a noticeable drop-off during winter break, spring break and summer break,” Greer said.
Freshman Ako Ben lives just down the street from the Whole Foods and while he didn’t notice the drop since he’s only been here a couple weeks, the affordable prices are one of the big reasons he shops at the location twice a week.
“I shop here because my classes are just down the street, so that’s mainly why,” Ben said. “The prices are good, the food is good and it’s not a long wait.”
Graduate student Evan Richards shops at other stores such Trader Joe’s and Mariano’s, but likes the healthy options available at Whole Foods even though the prices are still a little steep in his mind.
“I like that it’s a convenient location and it does have a pretty good selection of fresher foods which is nice,” Richards said. “It is a little easier to eat healthier.”
While it may only cost a “Half Paycheck” instead of the “Whole Paycheck,” Whole Foods has taken strides in becoming a more affordable option for students.