Blog: Katy AskewIt's getting heavy at Whole Foods

Katy Askew | 26 June 2015

Whole Foods Market already had a reputation for being pricey. This will only be compounded by news that the retailer has been accused of routinely overcharging consumers by overstating the weight of packaged meat, dairy and baked goods.

According to New York City's Department of Consumer Affairs, the city had been investigating pricing at Whole Foods since the Autumn of last year. Providing examples of overpriced products, the Department said Whole Foods had overcharged by US$14.84 for a package of coconut shrimp, by $4.85 for a pack of chicken tenders and by $6.15 for a veggie platter. The DCA said in total it had uncovered “thousands” of violations at New York stores.

According to media reports, Whole Foods insisted it "disagrees" with the DCA's "overreaching allegations".

Last year, Whole Foods agreed to pay $800,000 in penalties and improve its pricing accuracy after an investigation carried out by California authorities.

Whole Foods is an upmarket chain that caters to high-end consumers. While some might argue that the exclusivity – and therefore high price tag – contributes to the allure, in reality a big part of Whole Foods appeal is its ability to generate trust. As a natural and speciality food retailer, being able to trust that a product is what it claims to be is absolutely key. Fleecing your customer – intentionally or otherwise – for a few bucks significantly undermines this.

Sectors: Retailers

Companies: Whole Foods Market

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