9 Secret Shopping Hacks From a Whole Foods Employee

If you’re an avid Whole Foods shopper, you know how busy that store can get. Plus, between the different brands, deals, and specialty items, there are so many items to throw in your shopping cart that it can be hard to know exactly what to purchase and how best to maximize your shopping trip.

The good news is that Whole Foods employees have a few tricks up their sleeves, and they know just how to put your money to good use so you can leave with top-notch ingredients (without completely emptying your wallet). We chatted with a few staff members for their secrets on shopping hacks at the store. And now—lucky you—we’re passing them along.

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Buy a case.

If you’re loyal to a certain brand and flavor of Greek yogurt, don’t just buy two or three at time. Instead, walk out with a case and you’ll save some cash. “When you know you love a product and want a lot of it, stock up. If you buy a case of most products, we offer a 10% discount, including cases of wine.”

Be sure to check with your local store to see what kind of bulk discount options they offer, but generally you should get a good deal.

Shop in the morning.

Don’t go into Whole Foods at 5 or 6 p.m. on a Wednesday or Sunday when people are looking for dinner after work or are doing their weekly shopping. It’ll be a zoo!

“At most stores, mornings are less busy for your big grocery shop—even on Saturdays and Sundays—and you’ll find get first pick at freshly stocked seafood, meat, and produce items.” That means you can leisurely stroll through the aisles and walk about with the highest quality ingredients of the day.

Sample everything.

It’s a good idea to take advantage of samples offered in store. “Passive samples throughout the aisles of Whole Foods Market are typically offering the season’s best produce, limited-edition products, or items on sale.”

What’s more, often local and national suppliers tend to sample their products on the weekends when they’re launching a new item or their items are on sale in the store, so it’s a good time to take advantage of the display.

And even if a vendor isn’t sampling something, you can always ask a Whole Foods employee to try something from the bread or prepared food sections. They’re always happy to assist if you’d like to try a slice of fresh roast beef or the cranberry chicken salad prior to buying.

More on Whole Foods:

  • 10 Salad Bar Healthy Hacks at Whole Foods That Won’t Break the Bank
  • Whole Foods Announces Price Cuts on Hundreds of Items
  • Whole Foods Unveils New Rewards Program With Perks Just for Prime Members

Become a Prime member.

Ever since Prime Rewards launched nationally in Whole Foods Market stores, there have been special “Prime Member” deals all over the store (look for the blue signs or find them on the Whole Foods Market app). Prime Members receive an additional 10% discount on hundreds of sale items in the store, which can go a long way.

Ask for a specialty cut of cheese.

Looking for a chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano to have on hand for the week? “Instead of grabbing something pre-cut that’s too large, or more than you want to spend, ask a cheesemonger to cut you a smaller piece at no extra charge.”

This goes for produce, as well, they say, whether you want to purchase half a head of cabbage or half a watermelon. And if you see something at the cheese counter that looks delicious but you aren’t sure if you’ll like it—don’t be afraid to ask local team members for a sample! “We’re always happy to provide samples to make sure you only take home products you love.”

Save time with free deveining and deboning.

Fishmongers are friendly and very skilled, and they’re happy to prepare fish for you in store to make your life easier at home. “They’ll help you pick the perfect seafood and share tips on preparing, but they’ll also peel, devein, debone, and custom cut filets for you at no extra charge—just ask.”

Shop “best in class” wines.

Curated by Whole Foods Market’s own Master Sommelier Devon Broglie and a team of global beverage buyers, these selections pair perfectly with what’s in season and have a great price point that provides the highest value.

“Right now (through May 28), you can find rosé wines as part of the program, including cans of Presto Sparkling Rosé and Pool Boy Rosé. The wines on the list are discounted for a limited time and are curated to please any pallet for every occasion.”

Buy in bulk.

Most Whole Foods stores have an extensive bulk bin section, so you can get a little (or a lot) of whatever item you need. “If you need a little honey, olive oil, nut butter, or flour for a recipe, buy the exact amount you need in the bulk section, without wasting money, product or packaging on extra ingredients.”

Shop 365 everyday value for trendy products.

While the private label for Whole Foods Market always has staple items throughout the year—at an excellent price point—they also look at product trends and launch innovative products throughout the year with the seal “limited edition,” meaning it won’t be around for long. That’s when you should experiment and see if you like it while it’s still around!

This spring and summer keep an eye out for an assortment of Pacific Rim fruit-inspired products, and a variety of snacks and sauces infused with delicious peppers from around the globe.

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