Walmart versus Amazon? It’s a now-classic comparison.
When it comes to online shopping, the competition between the two seems to get more intense every year. But when it comes to shopping for groceries in person, which store has the edge?
Walmart dominates the grocery business by a large margin, and it is by far America’s largest grocer in terms of sales, according to the Progressive Grocer. It has beefed up its organic and healthier offerings to cater to changing consumer tastes.
However, Amazon-owned Whole Foods is carving out its own customer base by catering to Prime members, with a core focus on health-conscious buyers. With 500 stores in North America and the United Kingdom, Whole Foods reaches most major markets in the US.
We went grocery shopping at Walmart and Whole Foods to see for ourselves which offered the better experience overall – and the winner was obvious.
The low prices, freshness of the items, and mammoth display of products at Walmart were just a few of the reasons we had no problem crowning it the victor over Whole Foods.
Here’s what it was like:
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First, we stopped by Walmart in Secaucus, New Jersey.
Shoppers don’t usually come to Walmart for just one item, so the endless rows of shopping carts awaiting us at the entrance to the superstore were hardly surprising.
We knew we were in for a unique experience when we were greeted by two huge bins of seasonal watermelon at the store’s entrance. We hardly even had a moment to take in the store before we noticed them.
Past the watermelons, the grocery segment of the massive Walmart was front and center. This section seemed to take up a large portion of the entire Supercenter.
We went to check out the different fruit stands. Everything looked remarkably fresh, including these avocados that were only $0.99 each.
This corn looked like it had just been harvested a few hours before.
And these red peppers looked like they were perfectly ripe for eating or cooking.
The freshness of the produce was what initially caught our eyes — but the prices were what kept our focus. We could not believe how cheap every single item was.
These delicious-looking packs of strawberries were marked at $1.68 each.
And these bananas were only $0.44 a pound.
Simply put, we could not get over how low the prices were. It all seemed too good to be true.
These bags of fresh spinach for less than $2 each were a dream come true.
Walmart’s grocery store also had a bakery section that produced different baked goods daily. There were cupcakes, doughnuts, pastries, and more — and all had a seal that guaranteed freshness or your money back.
The bakery also took orders for cakes.
Next to the bakery, Walmart had a large section of prepared food in a hot bar with everything from seafood to meat.
Nearby was a huge selection of frozen and refrigerated meat.
The regular aisles of packaged food were similarly impressive.
The selection was beyond our wildest dreams. This cereal aisle seemed to carry every cereal ever made.
We had the same reaction to the massive section of Oreos. Once more, the prices were remarkably low.
We met a woman in the coffee aisle who told us that she always gets her coffee at Walmart. “It’s cheaper here than in other stores,” she said.
Surprisingly, the check-out lines were short. Walmart’s self check-out option likely helped with this.
Walmart seemed to have everything we could want in a grocery store. From recognizable brands to unbeatable prices, Walmart delivered in the best possible way.
Next, we stopped by the Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood.
Right away, we were notified that Prime members were eligible for certain deals throughout the store, making part of the store experience feel like a “members-only” club.
Further into the store, we even found a cart full of Amazon electronic products.
At first glance, the store didn’t reveal how large it actually was. We had to venture through a few aisles until we realized how many different sections there were.
We started off in a section that lets customers fill their own bags with different products. There were dispensers full of beans, spices, and dried fruit.
Customers also had the option to pick up coffee beans from these rustic-looking barrels.
Overall, the entire design of Whole Foods seemed to take a rustic and natural approach, from the shelves with wood finish …
… to the crates that supported the produce stands.
And when it came to produce, everything looked about as fresh as the options in Walmart.
An increase in price over the Walmart in New Jersey was to be expected, but in many cases, the prices were close to double.
There did seem to be more organic options overall — but there was a higher cost for those who opted for that.
Overall, Whole Foods had a fancier feeling to it. This huge display of cheese seemed a little over the top, though.
There were many subsections within the store for customers to get different food items, from seafood …
… to a hefty meat and poultry section.
There was a massive hot food section that took up a large section of the store.
The wall behind one of the food counters reiterated Whole Foods’ commitment to health and natural food.
On the whole, the offerings at the hot food section here did seem to have a healthier bent.
There was a sizable bakery section as well, though. The cakes here didn’t seem like they were too healthy, but they looked adorable.
Like Walmart, Whole Foods had signs advertising a satisfaction guarantee.
The food section was also filled with special deals for Amazon Prime members …
… like these protein shakes and plant-based cold brew drinks, which were 40% off for Prime members.
But the free two-hour grocery delivery was probably the best perk for Prime members shopping at Whole Foods.
Whole Foods definitely seemed to carry healthier options overall. Many of the brands the store carried didn’t have that special name-brand recognition that Walmart did, however.
In fact, we could hardly find any of the classic brands that we found at Walmart. For example, instead of Oreos and Chips Ahoy, we found Goodie Girl and Emmy’s Organics. This is likely due to Whole Foods’ list of unacceptable food ingredients, which bans things like hydrogenated fats, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners, which many processed foods carry.
Whole Foods was great for a one-time shopping experience. But Walmart’s unbeatable prices and its products’ name-brand recognition make it easy to see why so many Americans make shopping there a weekly habit.