How Much Money Do Whole Foods Butchers Typically Make?

Whole Foods, the high-end supermarket that prides itself on its dedication to natural and organic foods, has often received criticism for its excessively high prices and inaccessibility. In the past, the health food conglomerate was infamously dubbed "whole paycheck." But ever since Amazon, the e-commerce giant, acquired Whole Food in 2017, it seems as though more customers might be able to afford Whole Foods' products on a wider scale (per CNET). While products at Whole Foods still cost around 10 to 20% more than competitor grocery stores, according to data from Morgan Stanley, prices were down about 2.5% on average as of 2019 (per CNBC).

Whole Foods also implemented a transparency policy regarding its employees' earnings, which means that the pay is open for all to see, from new hires to top-level executives (per CNBC). The store's meat department offers an extensive selection of Animal Welfare Certified local, organic, and grass-fed choices, some of which are certainly more expensive than others. For instance, you can get Organic Boneless Beef Ribeye Steak for $23.99 per pound, Dolce Pancetta for $19.9 per pound, or on the lower price end, or a whole Classic Rotisserie Chicken for $8.49. So what do these seemingly progressive changes over the past few years mean for butchers' wages at Whole Foods?

Whole Foods' butchers earn 13% above the national average

Across the United States, butchers and meat cutters who cut, trim, or prepare consumer-sized portions of meat for use or sale in supermarkets make an average of $17.33 an hour, according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Butchers and meat cutters tend to earn as low as $11.26 an hour and as high as $22.97 an hour, depending on the state. A butcher at Harris Teeter, a chain operating in the southeastern U.S., earns an hourly wage that is 23% above the national average at $19.44 (via Indeed). At Kroger, a meat cutter can expect to earn $16.89 an hour, which is 9% above the national average (per Indeed). And the average hourly pay for a butcher at Safeway reaches approximately US$15.88 (via Indeed).

Butchers' wages at Whole Foods are not too far off from the national average, and even surpass that of several other grocery chains. At a Whole Food in Boulder, Colorado, for example, a job advertisement states that the hourly wage for a full-time Meat Cutter (Butcher) position ranges from $17.00 to $29.20, commensurate with experience. On average, a butcher at Whole Foods earns $17.95 per hour, which is 13% above the national average (via Indeed). Whole Foods CEO John Mackey told Freakonomics Radio host Stephen Dubner that wage transparency can become a source of motivation for employees because "it gives people something to strive for."