Here’s What You Should Buy Using the Whole Foods Bulk Bins — and What You Should Get Pre-Packaged Instead

whole foods bulk aisle

Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

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whole foods bulk aisle
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

Bulk or Bags?

While many of the products lining the shelves at Whole Foods Market tend to be of a higher quality than other grocery stores, there’s one inescapable truth about the Amazon-owned company: The place is overpriced.

Yet, it’s hard to stop going back, isn’t it? If you’re a Whole Foods die-hard, you might know that shopping in the bulk section can save you a good amount of money. Bulk items at Whole Foods tend to be cheaper overall, but is that true for every single product? Not necessarily. 

I went to my local Whole Foods to see how much some staples cost to buy in bulk compared to how much they cost in the package.

Prices and availability are subject to change.

whole foods pistachios
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism


Buying nuts in bulk seems like an ideal way to save money at Whole Foods, but this isn’t always the case. Roasted and salted pistachios, for example, cost $13 for a 24-ounce bag, but would have run me $14 per pound in bulk. That means in packaged form, I’d be saving a dollar and getting a pound and a half more pistachios.

whole foods bulk rice
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism


You’ll save some money buying rice in bulk. My local Whole Foods had Lundberg long grain rice for $3.40 per pound, yet a two-pound bag was $10. Same deal with brown rice and the rest of the Lundberg line — buy rice in bulk.

lentils from whole foods
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism


Lentils are another area you can score in when it comes to buying in bulk. In the bulk section, I found them as low as $2.80, which is much cheaper than the one-pound bag Whole Foods is selling for $3.50.

whole foods granola
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism


When it comes to oat and honey granola, the situation is nearly identical. In the bulk department, I saw it for $6 per pound. In a cereal box, it was $6.50 for a one-pound, one-ounce bag. That’s not a volume I think I’ve ever seen before.

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whole foods trail mix in bulk
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

Trail Mix

Trail mix is all over the place. Whole Foods’ “Cape Cod” trail mix was a bit cheaper in bulk ($12 per pound versus $12.79 for a 14-ounce bag). "Double Feature," on the other hand, was only $6.30 for a 14-ounce bag, as opposed to $12 for a pound in bulk.

The bottom line? Check both the bulk and pre-packaged sections before making your purchase, but also be sure to compare product variations. Opting for a different trail mix or granola could help you save a few bucks.

Related: 10 Pantry and Freezer Staples Worth Buying in Bulk