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Trader Joe’s v. Whole Foods: How the Amazon merger has affected these two grocery giants

Trader Joe’s v. Whole Foods: How the Amazon merger has affected these two grocery giants

Trader Joe’s v. Whole Foods: How the Amazon merger has affected these two grocery giants
October 19
14:34 2018

It’s been just over one year since America’s favorite online retail supergiant Amazon bought out high-end grocery chain Whole Foods for a whopping $13.7 billion. As a lifelong foodie, I was strongly opposed to this merger. What business does an online retail company have to do with one of the most well known high-end grocery stores? Well, to my surprise, apparently everything.

The genius mastermind of Jeff Bezos’ and his team of business revolutionaries put their one-of-a-kind approach to shopping into work at their newest brand in the family. Soon after the buyout, Amazon Prime members were offered exclusive deals on staple items such as avocados, bananas and ground beef. While the rest of the store’s products underwent virtually no changes in price, these core items changed the persona of Whole Foods and slowly but surely began to take back its crown of America’s favorite grocery store.

Sense360, a customer behavior research firm, conducted a study where shoppers were given the choice between Whole Foods and Traders Joe’s, both within a mile of each other. The firm found that post-merger, customers appeared to have migrated to Whole Foods, especially when Amazon Prime deals were more apparent. The overall change only increased from 51 to 53 percent, but in the vast world of endless food options, 2 percent adds up and can account for a trend bound to sweep the nation.

If you’re wondering whether you’re a Whole Foods aficionado or more of a Trader Joe’s trendsetter, here’s a breakdown of the company’s bestsellers and just a few my personal favorite things unique to each store:

Trader Joes

No. 1: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

These heavenly bites of chocolate and peanut butter beat Reeses’ any day. The bittersweet notes of the dark chocolate balance out with the creamy peanut butter, making for a cheap, delightful snack or post-dinner delight.

No. 2: Everything Seasoning

This is one of Trader Joe’s most exclusive items and it’s honestly a great deal. As often as I use this terrific product, I still have plenty of tasty things I can sprinkle some of this magic seasoning on top of. From adding that extra flavor to any breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner, to inspiring a food revolution and incorporating the seasoning into whatever your heart desires, this product is a huge reason myself and thousands of other TJ fans keep coming back.

No. 3: Asiago Cheese with Rosemary and Olive Oil

This product isn’t as popular as the peanut butter cups or the seasoning, but this cheese is one of my all-time favorite foods. The one-of-a-kind flavor is perfect served alongside prosciutto or some Mediterranean olives on top of a toasted slice of brioche or a simple cracker.

Whole Foods

No. 1: All-Natural Nut Butters

From the Whole Foods house brand coming in at around $3 for peanut butter to artisanal spreads like Justin’s, Whole Foods has the right one for you. If you’re feeling really sophisticated, nearly every location has its own organic nut butter machines, making it the freshest option out there.

No. 2: Good Soap

Yes, I know this is definitely not food, but I’d be remiss if this marvelous product didn’t make it onto the list. Something truly separating Whole Foods from other stores is its ability to supply virtually every necessity for your home at the high standards and unique profile their reputation holds. This soap is no exception.

No. 3: The hot bar and salad bar

Let it be known that there have been one too many times where I have been sucked into the whirlwind of Whole Food’s remarkable creations at the hot bar. At $9 a pound for food, it can add up quickly, but if you’re looking to treat yourself or travel the culinary world with an empty stomach and a fork in hand, the hot bar is the place to be.

All in all, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are pretty comparable when it comes to the basics. After the Amazon merger, staples like eggs, milk, bananas, avocados and many others are now the same price, if not cheaper with Prime member exclusive deals. What it comes down to is the entire experience. Yes, the two companies appear to be the same — both are higher end grocery stores, both offer unique products and both are established in the food-loving community.

However, the two serve endless purposes for an endless array of people. If you’re looking for more of an event, maybe try Whole Foods. Check out their homemade dishes, stay a while and catch up with some friends at the community eating area. But if you’re looking for a quicker grocery trip, you might be more of a Trader Joe’s kind of person. Either way, both are exceptional companies that uphold the standard of delicious, high-quality food that have become a safe haven for sophisticated foodies and Sunday run grocery goers alike.

Featured Image: Alexander Downs

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Noah Hutchinson

Noah Hutchinson

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