Any parent who’s had to grocery shop for anything organic before has dropped a “Whole Paycheck” dad joke in the process. According to a recent price study courtesy of Bloomberg Intelligence, it’s still technically funny because it’s true (no matter what your spouse says). This year the average price basket of Thanksgiving items at Whole Foods rose 7.6 percent (about $94.63), despite the fact that grocery prices have been down due to food deflation — which is the opposite of inflation and not what they did to the turkey in the parade.
If $94.63 is lower than you would’ve guessed for a sampling 20 of Thanksgiving staples (turkey, potatoes, stuffing, etc.), it’s because that’s for the store overall. Despite the fact that Whole Foods has tried to decrease their prices to compete with grocery costs everywhere, the average organic basket was $134.95, up nearly 26 percent. This is compared to the average shopping basket overall that fell 3.4 percent to $66.15 this year — basically half of the organic grocery bill. The only other store with somewhat of a surge was Stop & Shop, where the average basket was $69.48, a nearly 10 percent increase mostly due to higher turkey costs.
And therein lies the problem. You can get an organic turkey at pretty much any grocery store, which keeps the prices competitively down. But if you’re cooking a meat that’s completely organic you have to shop at Whole Foods, and that’s where they get you. So the question is whether it’s really that important to feed your kid organic food, and the short but AAP backed answer is yes, but not as important as eating fruits and vegetables in general. Plus, if you’re on a budget there are ways to prioritize what organic produce matters and keep the rest on the cheap. That may mean 2 grocery store trips, but at least you can call it Half A Paycheck.