Whole Foods is ending its cheaper 365 format — here's why it was my favourite grocery store

Business Insider/Dennis GreenThe entrance to the market in the new 365 store.
  • Whole Foods will not open more of its lower-priced 365 stores, according to a leaked email obtained by Business Insider’s Hayley Peterson.
  • 365 is Whole Foods’ chain of budget grocery stores with a special focus on private labels and lower prices.
  • The seventh 365 store opened in Brooklyn in January 2018, and was first on the East Coast.
  • I visited the store on opening day and came away impressed. In the last year, it became my favourite grocery store.

True to its name, Whole Foods 365 was a store meant for every day of the year.

Amazon-owned Whole Foods opened its seventh 365-branded store in the 300 Ashland building in Fort Greene, Brooklyn in January 2018.

On Friday, Business Insider’s Hayley Peterson reported that the brand will sunset, and no new stores will carry the 365 name. The company cited a diminishing price difference between 365 and regular Whole Foods stores as a reason for the change. The current stores will remain the same for now, however.


Read more:


Whole Foods halts growth of its cheaper ‘365’ stores

I toured the 30,000-square-foot store the day it opened to take in the sights and sounds. A year later, it’s one of my favourite grocery stores in New York City.

Read on to see how the Whole Foods 365 stores differs from both regular Whole Foods stores and its competitors:


The Whole Foods 365 store is in a recently developed complex sandwiched between the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Atlantic Terminal shopping and transportation center. Its sole neighbour in the building is a new Apple Store.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

Signs inside the vestibule advertise the “Friends of 365” vendors you’ll find on the main floor. The cafe level is open earlier, at 7 a.m., while the rest of the store is open at 8 a.m.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

The vendors are the most prominent feature of the first floor, and they’re clustered like a mini food hall.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

To the left is Orwashers, a New York City-area bakery. Breads, bagels, sandwiches, and doughnuts are for sale.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

To the immediate left of that is a Juice Press outpost.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

Turn around and you’ll find a (vegan!) hamburger joint.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

There’s even a Brodo stand selling trendy bone broth.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

Toward the rear is a row of pour-it-yourself beer spouts.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

These vendors replace the traditional Whole Foods prepared-food section, but there’s still a place to sit and stay a while in the rear of the store.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

It’s also where you’ll find the Amazon Locker — the only Amazon reference I found throughout the whole store at the time.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

Heading downstairs to the actual market, shoppers are given an easy choice.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

The fresh produce section is green and unmissable to the left.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

It has all the fresh produce you could desire, though I’ve noticed in repeat visits that some common vegetables are difficult to find at times.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

Organic and conventional produce are mixed together, and there is a fair number of both. It has mostly commonly used veggies, however, as well as many different types of kale.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

The section with fresh meat is enormous.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

It is packed with all the non-antibiotic, hormone-free, no-nitrate meat you could stomach. Whole Foods’ emphasis on health and natural ingredients extends to this concept.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

Though 365 Everyday Value is certainly the focus of the more wallet-friendly store, there are a number of other brands available, too.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

The mix seemed to be about 50-60% private label, and the rest were other brands.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

There are a few aisles of frozen goods. Though they are name brands, it’s usually the smaller organic brands, like Amy’s, that you’ll find lining the shelves.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

Prices throughout the store appear reasonable. The private-label goods are at least on par with Trader Joe’s offerings around the corner, if not cheaper.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

Each item is tagged with a fancy e-ink display showing the prices.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

There were at least a few items I noticed that were at or near the lowest prices I’ve seen in other stores in New York, including Kerrygold butter that was priced at about $US3. I had paid over $US4 for similar butter at a Key Food store nearby.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

The store has a bit more personality than you would see at other Whole Foods stores, and it features a kitschy colour scheme and corny sayings. A sign that said “Kale Me Maybe” was put up for Valentine’s Day.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

On the other side of the store, there are bars of prepared foods to buy and enjoy, but they are nowhere near as large as what you’d see at a regular Whole Foods. There is also a cold case full of grab-and-go options.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

The baked goods area is substantial, and it features breads and sweets made by local bakeries.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

The sweets look especially tempting.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

The beer area is also large, with a number of both small, local craft beer brands and large national brands available.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

Throughout the store, Whole Foods was hawking its 365 membership program that allowed customers additional savings and discounts on certain items, much like a traditional grocery store. This program has now ended in favour of Amazon’s Prime membership discounts.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

Coming away from the store, I was impressed. The price and selection are by far the best in the neighbourhood, and maybe even the entire city.

Business Insider/Dennis Green

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