Whole Foods has a certain reputation as a grocery store: You go in to buy a few items, and the cashier rings you up for half your paycheck. ("But the food is so good!" you tell yourself. "And ethically sourced!") But starting next week, Amazon owns Whole Foods, and in true Amazon fashion, it's got its eye on cutting costs. For competitors, that could mean trouble, but for you, it could be a relief to your budget.
There are only 500 Whole Foods stores in the U.S., up against 38,000 other grocers. Yet execs are aware of their chain's reputation, and numbers back it up: Prices at Whole Foods can be 15 percent to 25 percent higher for some items. According to the Atlantic, "one of the company's first moves will be to lower prices on several grocery standards, such as bananas, eggs, and ground beef, as well as Whole Foods standbys like avocados, kale, and almond butter." Per Reuters, other organic staples such as "brown eggs, farmed salmon and tilapia … some apples, butter, and other products" will also see price drops.
The grocery industry operates within pretty thin profit margins. Some analysts fear that Amazon's deep pockets will help undercut Whole Foods' competitors, in much the same way Amazon has disrupted the book industry. That may be something to watch out for in the future, but for you, if you're a devoted Whole Foods shopper, prepare to save on staples. Most of the price cuts are coming for the items that you may rely on the most.
Of course, even with lower prices, it's still possible to get carried away shopping for groceries. Your best defense against spending big for the week? The humble grocery list. Plan your meals in advance and stick to what you need. Small treats are okay from time to time, of course (that's what makes it a treat!), but you've definitely got the tools to keep your grocery budget a known factor without big surprises at checkout.