Sunday, October 12, 2008

Iron Mom Shop Off - Sprouts vs. Whole Foods

So yesterday at the Boy's double header a fellow baseball mom (Hey Susan!) was extolling the produce and meats of Sprouts Farmer's Market, which opened a while ago on Forest Lane. Not having visited it yet, and today being a marketing day, it made sense to go - and of course blog about it.

I was surprised how compact it was, it reminded me more of a Trader Joe's - a lot of a little. Like Whole Foods, many but not all produce items are organic, and also like WF they do not carry Diet Dr. Pepper, which means hitting another store to stock up on my addiction fulfillment. The natural supplement area takes up about 20% of the floor space, with very few canned grocery items. They do have a small prepared foods case with innovative selections, and the meats did look fresh (especially the ground chicken breast) as did the fruits and veggies.

Price-wise, Sprouts was the winner: both boneless-skinless chicken breasts and their ground chicken breast was $4.49/lb (WF $6.49 for breasts, $6.99 for ground), lemons were 3/$1 (WF 2/$1), conventional broccoli crowns $1.49/lb (WF $2.49), 1 lb. organic peeled carrots $1.50 (vs. $1.99 at WF). They also had some lovely yellow cherry tomatoes (from Mexico), that Whole Foods didn't have, 10.5 oz. for $2.50. Both stores had a special on Driscoll strawberries, $2.50 per pound.

But Sprouts bakery items were sadly lacking, sub-quality compared to Whole Food's daily freshly baked offerings, and their cheeses do not have nearly the depth that WF offers. They have a packaged "house brand" flatbread, which looked very much like matzoh, and the seeds had all fallen off the multigrain flavor. Whole Foods also gave me a bag refund of $.10 vs. Sprouts $.05 per bag. And Whole Foods conveniently had some hot pizza-by-the-slice to take home to a starving teenager. Sprouts does have a bulk item section, but was missing Whole Food's item #8778 (Berry Nutty Trail Mix), a Severson household favorite.

I live closer to Whole Foods, and if I wasn't worried about helmet hair and becoming Feherty-style-road-kill I could ride my bike, the basket detaches just for shopping - when it's full you're done. Oh, and I have funny kids who hum the theme song to the Wicked Witch of Oz whenever I head out.


Stephanie Hardeman said...

This is a conversation I often have with my hubby - he would prefer that I find a cheaper option to WF, but I have become almost fanatical about organic produce and hormone free meats. The price difference on chicken breasts is significant, but I wonder it is the same hormone free quality?

Amy Severson said...

Neither the Whole Foods nor the Sprouts ground chicken was labeled "Organic" on it's packaging. On the chicken breasts they were both labeled "Organic".

Brian said...

by chance do you know the name of that new grocery store, I think somewhere around Preston & Parker, that's supposed to be something like Sprouts? I wanted to look it up while I'm waiting for 5:00 to get here but can't think of the name...