Whole Foods is supposed to be an oasis in the food desert.

Via The Guardian:

Lunchtime customers at Whole Foods in Manhattan’s Union Square had little trouble expressing the shortcomings that have led the once high-flying, organic-focused retailer to become linked with a takeover.

“I love the sushi, but I wouldn’t shop here except maybe for a special ingredient,” said Argentinian software designer Benjamin Vinas. “People say Whole Foods is for pretentious people, and I can see why. It’s too expensive. I don’t have the budget.”

Vinas was not the only customer to express a similar point of view. Others said that for their groceries they went several blocks north and west to lower-cost rival Trader Joe’s, where products may not be so exquisitely selected but are, in general, more uniformly discounted.

Maria Johnson, a postgraduate student, said Whole Foods’ pricing, with some items marked competitively and other expensive, was inconvenient.

“I only buy body lotion and lunch here. And maybe spices,” Johnson said. “There are so many different price points you feel like you are missing out on the more fun, expensive things – and when you are shopping for the cheaper, more affordable things, you’re reminded of the things you can’t afford.”

But the views of Manhattan’s grocery shoppers point to only part of the problem for Whole Foods, sometimes called Whole Paycheck, which has been facing a backlash from consumers.[…]

Outside Trader Joe’s, Brooklyn homemaker Eva Lev said she rarely visits Whole Foods nowadays. “It’s like that Jim Gaffigan joke – Whole Foods on Sunday is just a refugee camp for people with too much money.” Lev added she prefers Trader Joe’s “because it seems like an everyman’s place, and you can still get organic”.

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