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    Whole Foods Launches In-store Tools to Stretch the Food Budget

    The natural and organic foods retailer is offering customers "value tours," and tips on saving mone.

    Even the retailer that critics sometimes call "Whole Paycheck" is getting in on the money-saving action as consumers worry more about high food prices.

    Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market yesterday launched a series of in-store tools called "Value Shopping Tips, Tours, and Top Sellers" to help shoppers find deals throughout the store and stretch their food budget without sacrificing quality.

    "We want customers to know there are many ways to continue enjoying quality foods on a budget, even during times of worldwide food inflation," said Bruce Silverman, Whole Foods' "Value Guru" and global v.p. of the company's private label program. "These tools are aimed at helping direct shoppers to the best values in every department in our stores."

    The retailer's top five "value shopping tips" are:
    1. SHOP THE SPECIALS - Each store has weekly and bi-weekly specials, which can be found online and in the stores' flyers.
    2. SAVE WITH THE SEASONS - It is cheaper to shop seasonally. It also pays to know when the "peak" of the season for fruit and vegetables are in your region.
    3. CHECK OUT STORE BRANDS - All of the company's private label products must adhere to high-quality standards while offering great value 365 days a year.
    4. WASTE NOT, WANT NOT - Buy bargains in quantity and freeze extra product. When shopping, think about creative ways to use leftovers, giving them new life in soups, salads, and sandwiches.
    5. BULK UP - Shop the bulk grocery bins, which can frequently be more economical. But don't forget to compare prices in bulk to 365 Everyday Value, as store brands can be less expensive at times.

    To help customers navigate store aisles to find the best in-store specials and bargains, Whole Foods "Value Gurus" have recently begun hosting weekly store tours, the retailer said. Value Gurus are Whole Foods team members who specialize in knowing weekly special or coupon offerings and how to navigate the store to find the best 365 Everyday Value items and other bargains. The in-store value tours show how to enjoy savings while still offering foods that meet the highest quality standards.

    "We invite customers to take a Value Tour and learn how to shop Whole Foods on a budget," said Michael Bepko, Whole Foods "Value Guru" for the company's flagship Austin store. "We will highlight weekly specials, such as 10 hamburgers for $10, and provide recipes that use seasonal produce and our 365 Everyday Value products, all of which add up to big savings for their food bill."

    Finally, as part of its value shopping tips, Whole Foods is touting the private label items that have sold the best in its stores.

    The top value foods categorized with families, organic seekers, and foodies in mind include:
    Family Staples
    365 Everyday Value Milk, 1 Percent, 1 Gallon
    365 Everyday Value Black Beans, 15 oz.
    365 Everyday Value Peanut Butter, 15 oz.
    365 Everyday Value Tuna, Tongol, 6 oz.
    365 Everyday Value Shells and Cheese, 7.25 oz.

    Organic Offerings
    365 Organic Everyday Value Milk, 1%, 1 gallon
    365 Organic Everyday Value Apple Sauce, 24 oz.
    365 Organic Everyday Value Nonfat Yogurt, 6 oz.
    365 Organic Everyday Value Apple Juice, 64 oz.
    365 Organic Everyday Value Tofu, 14 oz.

    Frugal Foodie Finds
    Whole Catch Wild Mahi Mahi Fillets, 2 count, 12 oz.
    365 Organic Everyday Value Frozen Wild Blueberries, 10 oz.
    365 Everyday Value Feta Crumbles, 6 oz.
    365 Everyday Value Sea Salt, Fine Crystals, 24.7 oz.
    365 Organic Everyday Value Tortillas, Whole Wheat, 6 count

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