It's no surprise that Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN - Get Report) is said to be planning to cut jobs and slash prices at Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM) , should its $13.7 billion acquisition of the organic grocer receive approval.
With that strategy in mind, TheStreet went shopping online at Ohio stores to see how Whole Foods stacked up against Walmart Stores Inc. (WMT - Get Report) and rival grocer Kroger (KR - Get Report) . While the results may not be shocking, they show just how much Amazon will have to cut for Whole Foods to be on equal footing with some of its competitors.
The cost of eight everyday food items at Whole Foods, TheStreet found, were nearly double those of the ones at Walmart, but Kroger undercut them both. Whole Foods' basket cost $38.29; Walmart's, $19.86; and Kroger's, $16.58.
TheStreet compared prices from Walmart's Great Value private label brand, Whole Foods' 365 brand and Kroger's self-named brand. A number of Whole Foods items are considerably more because they are organic, which cost more to farm and produce than nonorganic foods.
To drill down on specific items, read on.
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For a 64-ounce container of orange juice, Walmart's Great Value sold for $2.58, whereas Whole Foods' 365 organic offering went for $4.49 and Kroger's carton was a steal at $2.
Walmart won this round: a carton of one dozen, large eggs at Walmart under the Great Value brand costs 48 cents; at Kroger, 99 cents; and at Whole Foods, under the 365 brand, a carton of "cage-free" large eggs went for $2.49.
For Swiss cheese, Walmart's Great Value cost 25 cents an ounce; Whole Foods' 365 version, 50 cents an ounce and Kroger's offering, 31 cents an ounce.
Kroger's costs the least at $1.49; Whole Foods' 365, $2.49; Walmart's Great Value regular peanut butter, $3.32.
For a buck, you can get a half-gallon carton of whole or reduced-fat milk at Walmart under its Great Value brand; Kroger's charged 29 cents more. At Whole Foods, under the 365 brand, you'll be buying organic milk and paying a premium: a half-gallon carton of skim or organic reduced-fat, 2%, milk went for $3.29.
To make a simple salad, with lettuce, tomatoes, carrots and ranch dressing, at Walmart's prices, costs a customer $6.47. The produce prices were unavailable on Walmart's website but a store worker told TheStreet that one head of iceberg lettuce costs $1.38; sliced tomatoes, $1.98 a pound; and a bag of one-pound long carrots, 84 cents. Walmart's Great Value ranch dressing cost $2.27.
At Kroger, tomatoes are sold for $1.99 a pound; carrots for 49 cents a pound; one head of iceberg lettuce, 99 cents; and a bottle of Kroger ranch dressing, $1.49, bringing the grand total to $4.96.
At Whole Foods, tomatoes cost $3.29 a pound; one head of organic iceberg lettuce, $2.79; carrots, $1.09 a pound; and 365 organic ranch dressing, $3.99, totaling $11.16, more than double Kroger's price and almost five times the cost of Walmart's ingredients for this everyday dish.
Here the meat prices vary widely: Walmart's Great Value beef burgers cost $2.38 a pound and 12 buns from the bakery are $2.98. Kroger's beef burgers cost $3.75 a pound and a package of eight buns will set you back a buck. At Whole Foods, ground beef patties sell for $9.89 a pound and a package of eight, plain burger buns cost $2.99.
In ascending order, at Walmart, potatoes cost about 40 cents a pound; Kroger's potatoes sell for 79 cents a pound; and Whole Foods' potatoes, 99 cents a pound.
Amazon's shares rose 0.4% to $998.62 early Tuesday afternoon. Whole Foods' fell 0.8% to $42.89.
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