When Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. closes on Monday, Seattle-based Amazon says it plans to immediately lower prices.
While the news release focused primarily on the company’s own brand of pantry staples, a few produce items made the list:
- Whole Trade organic bananas;
- organic avocados;
- organic fuji apples;
- organic gala apples; and
- organic baby kale.
How low will they go?
Over the past year, I’ve seen Whole Foods’ Whole Trade organic bananas priced anywhere from 77 cents to 99 cents a pound, which is a bit higher than the 71 cents a pound average retail price in 2016, according to IRI/Fresh Look Marketing from The Packer’s new Organic Produce Market Guide.
What’s so important about the price of bananas, though? From 12 years of doing this job, it’s something I know retailers pay close attention to. Everyone knows the price of bananas. Organic bananas at the H.E.B. in my neighborhood are 68 cents a pound.
The highest price for organic bananas I’ve seen in the past year was $1.29/lb at Mollie Stone’s Market in San Francisco. It’s just something people remember, and Amazon’s hoping people will remember them for their inexpensive staples.
What I’m really wondering about is a lower organic avocado price. If people want to save money on avocados, why don’t they buy conventional? Wouldn’t that be more attractive to most shoppers on a budget?
Avocados are on the Environmental Working Group’s Clean 15, after all, and accounted for only 1.4% of category units in the four weeks ending June 11, according the latest Hass Avocado Board Hass Insights Retail Data Report. Units were down 12.8% during the reporting period, too.
The average price per pound for organic avocados in 2016 was $3.17, compared to $2.26 for conventional.
And, in case you’re wondering, the average retail price for organic apples is $2.45/lb, and last I checked, Whole Foods was selling 5-ounce clamshells of organic baby kale for $3.99.