Will Englewood residents pay higher price for quality at new Whole Foods?

September 4, 2013 (CHICAGO)

The committee that worked on negotiations with Whole Foods said they are confident that affordable items will be on the shelves- and Englewood residents won't be priced out of the store. But if prices at the Whole Foods in the South Loop are any indication, Englewood residents could pay a higher price for quality.

The new Whole Foods will be built on this vacant lot at 63rd and Halsted, across from an existing convenience mart, which is where many in neighborhood currently buy their groceries. There's an entire shelf devoted to snack chips here and another just for soda, but only a few kinds of vegetables and three types of fruit.

"We need more like that. We need more vegetables and fibers in our life," said Shuntae Thomas, Englewood resident.

On Wednesday, Whole Foods' CEO said the 33-year-old company had a moral obligation to build in impoverished areas.

"We've had tremendous success as a company. And yet there's tremendous disparity in the access to fresh, healthy food," said Walter Robb, CEO, Whole Foods.

"If you give people the right choice, they will make the healthy choice," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Whole Foods has been nicknamed "whole paycheck" by some shoppers, but the company's CEO promises competitive pricing in Englewood.

"It's a myth that fresh fruits and vegetables have to be expensive," said Robb.

On Wednesday, ABC7 compared prices of four commonly-bought items at the South Loop Whole Foods, that Englewood convenience mart, and this Food for Less store at 70th and Ashland.

Whole Foods milk costs $3.49 a gallon, compared to $2.99 at the convenience mart, and $1.98 at the Food for Less.

A loaf of bread was $2.79 at Whole Foods, compared to $1.39 at the minimart, and $0.88 at Food for Less.

Whole Foods oranges were $1.99 a pound. At the convenience store, they're two for $1.00, and at Food for Less, $0.78 cents a pound.

Finally, chicken breast at Whole Foods was 4.99 a pound, compared to $2.59 at the convenience mart, and $2.78 at Food for Less.

In total, you'd spend $13.26 for those four items at Whole Foods, $7.97 at the convenience store, and $6.42 at Food for Less. Still, Whole Foods is betting that Englewood will pay for quality.

ABC7's Eric Horng asks: "Does Englewood need Whole Foods?"

"Yes, they do. They most definitely do," said Vancie Lee, Englewood resident.

Plans for the new store come on the heels of a new inner-city Detroit Whole Foods, which the company says has been profitable.

Copyright © 2023 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.