What is the cheapest thing one can purchase at Whole Foods? If you said 37 cents' worth of heirloom quinoa from the bulk bins, you're wrong — at least for this month: The grocer is offering 12-ounce cups of coffee at the plebeian-friendly price of 25 cents all September long, says Time.
Why sell coffee, typically a high-margin item, at such a bargain-basement price? Time points out that "an extraordinary deal on coffee is a terrific way to boost traffic in stores during mornings, afternoons, and evenings alike." Whole Foods seems to be adopting the loss leader strategy here, hoping that customers who come in for a cheap caffeine boost will be unable to resist the pricey organic produce, kale ice cream, goat yogurt, or that elusive $6 asparagus water. It may also be intended "to appease shoppers who feel the supermarket is just too expensive."
Selling coffee for a quarter isn't the first move Whole Foods has made toward shedding its "Whole Paycheck" image: A line of smaller, more affordable stores called 365 by Whole Foods Market will launch in 2016. Unfortunately for Whole Foods, customers haven't forgotten about the recent scandal in which the grocer was revealed to have habitually overcharged customers in its NYC stores for years.