TFM uses Partially hydrogenated oils in baked goods...most of the cheese is pre-packaged, commodity offerings..the fish and meat is just like any other conventional grocer...oh, wait..they have soft lighting and hardwood floors, so they must be a viable competitor to whole foods...
I shop at both and several other places, including Earth Fare, Piggly Wiggly, Trader Joe's, Kroger and Publix . TFM has the best bread and olive bar. I buy my fruits and vegetables at all of them. The food bars at Whole Foods and Earth Fare are good, but only for an early lunch. Some things don't keep well when they have to be heated all the time, for example, soups. TFM is the most expensive and Kroger the cheapest. To me the future of TFM looks bleak because of their pricing scheme. On those items that everybody carries, their prices have to come down. At one time I was thinking of investing in TFM, but I do not see a great future for growth unless they adjust some of their pricing policies.
I agree on the pricing....I can't figure out how they plan to go head to head with their pricing structure, I can see it if they are the only game in town but they are skipping the middle of the country and headed right to Ca where Whole Foods (and the healthy lifestyle movement n general) is very strong...with their current pricing, they will fail going head to head with WFM unless they reduce some of the prices..
I shop at both (and commodity grocers). While I certainly think TFM is a step up in terms of quality compared to commodity grocers (I don't judge based on degree of hydrogenation, or point of packaging, just fresh and tasty factors), they are not presently in WF's league (for my criteria). Must say the local TFM had a very poor selection of produce this week. But consistenly better for produce and fish/meat than my commodity.
MARIANO'S is the place to shop in the Chicago area. Mariano's stocks many of the same and similiar items as WFM at a better price. A number of former WFM most talented buyers are now buying for Mariano's. Bob Mariano appears to recognize both quality food and quality people!