Meal Planning: Whole Foods vs. The Fresh Market

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It’s that time of year for baking and cooking! Whole Foods has been the “trendy” place to shop in Central Iowa and just recently a new food store opened up in Central Iowa … The Fresh Market.

Meal Planning

I must admit I was kind of excited when this new store opened up, I wanted to check it out and see what was new and exciting about it! I decided to do a comparison of the two, so you know which store may fit YOUR needs better! I took these two cuties along …

The Fresh Market

Fresh Market is a lot like Whole Foods. I must admit, I was a little disappointed in how similar the two stores were. There were some major difference though!


  • Lots of coffee to choose from! It’s similar to the bulk section in a grocery store. All of the coffee’s are whole bean and you can grind there if needed! I have tried several fun flavors and have not been disappointed.
  • Liquor available. Smaller wine & beer selection (con). They offer some local brews!
  • Are you an olive fan? I am not, BUT if you are, their Olive Bar is a lot bigger then Whole Foods. Perfect place to grab some appetizers before a holiday party.
  • Each store offers pre-made items and serve yourself bars, BUT Fresh Market offers a SEAFOOD BAR! I LOVE Seafood! 🙂

  • Lots of gift options to choose from. Candy, lollipops, chocolates, gift baskets and more!
  • They offer LOTS of yummy Pound Cake options!


  • There are no cart corrals in the parking lot, so on a snowy, rainy, cold day it’s kind of a hassle to take your cart back inside.
  • The bulk sections has a lot more candy to select from, then flours, oats, etc.

  • This could be a PRO or CON depending on what you like. Fresh Market has a lot more name brand items such as Chobani and Ben & Jerry’s.
  • Whole Foods focuses a lot on giving back to the community and offering products that are local. I did not see much of that at Fresh Market.
  • No health department, no household items section and baby section.
  • Produce section smaller.

Whole Foods Market


  • Wine & Beer section is a lot larger! Lot of local brews available too!
  • Give back to the community! If you bring your own bags you can donate the money you save to a cause!
  • Their bathrooms are “green”, it’s pretty awesome 🙂

  • Whole Foods supports local foods and farmers! Look above at their signs and see where your food is coming from.

  • They offer a wonderful health department with tons of supplements, health care products, protein shakes and more! Their staff is VERY knowledgable and eager to help you.
  • They offer baby products such as baby food & diapers. They also offer basic home product such as toilet paper, paper towels, etc.

  • Offers PBS Kids and Melissa & Doug toys and games!
  • Story times and fun events! I love their kids play area! 


  • Whole Foods does not offer the bulk section of coffee selections. They do have a lot of local, pre-packaged coffees available though!
  • They do not offer a lot of name brand items, like Fresh Market.

Similarities between Whole Foods vs. Fresh Market

  • Offer holiday ordering!
  • Eating areas to eat at the store (Fresh Market is a bit smaller then Whole Foods)
  • Great floral departments!
  • Lots of pre-made options available, including fresh sushi
  • Neither stores offer a scale to weigh your items from the food bar. The scales are at the checkout, which is a bit annoying when you want to know how much you are going to spend before going to checkout.
  • Pricing of items are about the same.
  • They each have their own name brands, 365 & The Fresh Market

My overall favorite is Whole Foods, but this is my personal opinion. The pros and cons listed above are what I believe are pros and cons and you may think the opposite. No biggie! This post is for you to make the ultimate decision, that fits you and your families needs best!

Please let me know what you think! Which store is your favorite?


Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

14 thoughts on “Meal Planning: Whole Foods vs. The Fresh Market

  1. The past two weeks I have gotten the rotisserie chicken from The Fresh Market. My fiance and I share it in their little eating area and then take the leftovers home for sandwiches the next day. The second time we got their rotisserie dinner deal. It’s $14.99 for two pounds of sides, chicken and their delicious corn bread. Sometimes they’ll throw in a dessert with the special too.

  2. That’s an awesome deal! We will have to check that out!

  3. I love whole foods. They did show that main stream grocers have equally fresh organic produce for less but i still love going there. It is like a treat.

  4. I have shopped at both depending on what is on my list. I really do like the bulk food section.

  5. This is good to know! We don’t have a Fresh Market yet in Colorado Springs, but I am often interested in how Whole Foods stacks up to other stores. We have Trader Joes, Sprouts, Natural Grocers and Whole Foods in my area! Then 3-4 different normal grocery store chains!

    -Cianna (LaMode365)

  6. I love Whole Foods but Fresh market does do some really good chicken deals.

  7. I like both Whole Foods and Fresh Market! The juice/smoothie bar at our local Whole Foods has my heart, but I really like the pre-cooked food section at Fresh Market (the smoked salmon on the seafood bar is AMAZING).


  8. Before we moved to Connecticut, we had both WHole Foods & Fresh Market… here? We have neither! But I used to go to Fresh Market for every day things, and Whole Foods was like a special occasion shopping store.

  9. Avatar confettiandbliss says:

    What I love most about Whole Foods is their prepared food section, their bakery and the overall feeling of the store. It’s just a great shopping experience! They offer so many choices when it comes to bread, organic foods and other unique products. Here in Sacramento we don’t yet have a Fresh Market – but it sounds like somewhere I would love to shop!

  10. Yes! I love Whole Foods too! It is a great place to check out when you want to try new things too!

  11. Lucky you! We don’t have a juice/smoothie bar at our Whole Foods! I would love that!

  12. Since writing this blog post, I have heard lots of great things about the chicken deals. I am going to have to check it out! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  13. I prefer Fresh’s bulk nuts.
    …I will go just to get the nuts. But overall, I prefer WF’s

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