Why You Should Never Buy Specialty Cheeses At Whole Foods

Whole Foods has a bit of a bad reputation, particularly among the budget-conscious. After all, as blogger Get Green Be Well points out, the chain isn't exactly nicknamed "Whole Paycheck" for nothing. In some cases, the reputation is entirely justified, as Market Watch found a few years back, by comparing the cost of items like fruit (bananas and organic carrots — Trader Joe's was cheaper on both counts); peanut butter (Safeway was so budget-friendly you could buy an ounce and a half of peanut butter for the cost of a single ounce of Whole Foods' peanut butter); skim milk (go to Target for that); and shredded cheddar cheese (58.25 cents per ounce at Whole Foods, 31.3 cents per ounce at Safeway, 35.75 cents per ounce at Trader Joe's, and 39.31 cents per ounce at Target). 

With prices differentials like these, why would anyone go to Whole Foods, particularly for something like specialty cheese?

Whole Foods has hired cheese experts to curate their selection

Whole Foods says it has been "instrumental in the development of more than 500 Certified Cheese Professionals," which means they've supported the efforts of team members as they worked to get the highest certification given to anyone by the American Cheese Society. These cheese experts can actually be found onsite to help you with their selections, which is helpful since the chain also offers anywhere between 250 to 1,000 different cheeses, which these experts select by visiting farms around the world. 

And if you want to know even more about cheeses you're interested in, not to worry because you can actually ask for a free sample. And when you've found a cheese you like, you can also go ahead and purchase a slice or a slab as big as you — or your budget — will allow (via Bustle).

Why Whole Foods isn't your best bet for fancy cheese

But if you're not in the market for anything new and exciting (and by that we mean cheese that might sit outside of your comfort zone defined by basic cheeses like Brie, Camembert, cheddar, Monterey jack and the like), you may be better off giving Whole Foods a miss.

The Kitchn points out that Whole Foods cheeses may be pricey for what they are, so you could be better off going to Trader Joe's for your everyday fix. Another option is to head to a warehouse club store, as the specialty cheese prices at places like Costco will beat Whole Foods and other grocers hands down, grocery shopping expert Teri Gault tells Go Banking Rates. "Expect to pay half as much for the same or comparable specialty cheese at club stores," she said. Of course, you might not find the same variety, and you'll have to buy larger quantities, but the prices are going to be relatively cheaper than the same product at Whole Foods. 

And if you really love your cheeses but you're not sure what you're in the mood to have, you might also want to go to a proper cheesemonger, where you could spend less to acquire artisanal cheese that will really add zing to your cheese board.