What To Know Before You Buy Chicken From Whole Foods

It's important to know what you're paying for.

Whole Foods Posts 71 Percent Increase In Quarterly Profits
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

Move over, Whole Foods. Your chicken isn’t that special anymore.

We’re all familiar with Whole Foods’ reputation for selling chicken raise without antibiotics, without hormones and without cages.

A new Bloomberg report says that’s still the case, but now other supermarkets are getting on board with the whole “no antibiotics, no hormones, no cages” thing. In fact, according to Bloomberg, the antibiotic-free chicken that you buy from your grocery store and the chicken you buy from Whole Foods are basically identical—except for maybe the price.

Reporters at Bloomberg found antibiotic-free chicken thighs at Whole Foods for $2.49 a pound. The same chicken thighs branded with Perdue’s Harvestland logo cost just $1.99 per pound at a supermarket nearby. The chickens were likely both raised by a Perdue farmer and slaughtered in the same plant, according to Bloomberg.

Though Whole Foods’ prices were higher for chicken thighs, the reporters also found that Whole Foods’ prices were actually lower than the Harvestland version sold at the grocery store by about 20 cents per pound for chicken drumsticks.

“What used to be more unique has now become really par for the course, certainly among your larger chains and your progressive grocers,” David Sprinkle, researcher director at Packaged Facts, a market-research firm, told Bloomberg. “When other chains, including bigger chains, started doing natural and organic, well, then suddenly Whole Foods was competing with Kroger, Wegmans, Costco.”

Whole Foods has helped up the ante for all grocery store chains, which is good news for consumers.

“First it starts with Whole Foods, and then it changes the way animals are raised across the world,” said Theo Weening, global meat coordinator and buyer at Whole Foods.

So, what’s the bottom line? Always compare prices across grocery stores. You should never pay more than you have to—even if you’re worried about food sustainability.

Ultimately, the fact that you can now buy cheaper, sustainably raised chicken at the regular grocery store is great news if you’re a bargain hunter!

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