I live in the Redmond/Bellevue area in Washington, USA.
I usually buy all my meat and seafood in WholeFoods. At WholeFoods wild-caught king salmon is sold @$24.99/lb whereas in QFC it is sold at @12.99/lb. Wild-caught True cod at WholeFoods is atleast $9.99/lb whereas in QFC it is $6.99/lb.
Any reason why WholeFoods' seafood is like double the price than the ones at QFC? Both are labelled as wild-caught, so I am guessing that Whole-Foods is just trying to cash in on the brand name.
So I stick to wild-caught cod and sockeye salmon since they are relatively cheaper than king salmon and halibut.
Any recommendation/clarification if I can ditch seafood at WholeFoods and go with QFC from now on? Bonus points, if you can suggest nice place to get wild-caught Mackerels - the regular chains don't carry them.
asked byKeerthy (55)
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on August 13, 2013
at 05:10 PM
Although I do not know QFC, it seems there is not much chance they are misrepresenting wild fish as farm-raised. You can always chat with the fishmongers/fish counter workers, though, and inquire into their source locations, how long the fish on the ice sits, or any other important details. You might even ask whether they know why the prices are so different.
(From visits to coastal Whole Foods -- the fish counter has plenty of literature boasting about fresh fish every day of the week, and the catch on the ice not being more than 24-48 hours old. Perhaps this is some part of the high price? They also boast of their hand-selection of quality, non-diseased fish, though I am unsure how much of this is simply good fishmongers' practices.)
A good store / fishmonger might even be quite happy to answer questions about their fish, and should certainly be able to. $12.99/lb. for king salmon is a very rare snag.
Regarding salmon, this can be tested by color and often flavor. Farmed salmon is colored, whether through dyes in the feed or after slaughter. Its natural color is whitish due to the differing diet, so it can potentially be examined quite easily, even without the noted flavor differences. Farmed salmon also tends to carry significantly more fat (of poorer O3:O6 composition), though this can vary between species(sockeye fat content vs. Alaskan king salmon fat content), also.
Either way, lying about farmed vs. wild salmon seems pretty noticeable, so it is more quite likely quality, freshness, less middlemen, "name brand", or some other factor that's affecting the price so much.
I am unsure about cod, though I recall some potential concern over the source waters bein polluted.
[Edit: Regarding mackerel -- it's fairly abundant in some Atlantic coastal cities. I don't generally eat fish from frozen, so unsure whether/how this affects nutritional content or palatability, but I believe Nordic waters are generally fairly clean.]
on August 13, 2013
at 08:21 PM
I'm from the Seattle area, and I think I can clarify here. Like Nick said king and sockeye are two different fish. QFC has some wicked good sales on real wild caught salmon, but they are often the less fatty fish. Better for things like gravlox than cooked fillets or steaks in my opinion.
You live close enough to Fisherman's Terminal that it might be worth your while to come on down to Magnolia every once in a while and buy the fish practically off the boat at the fishmonger there. There is also Mutual Fish and Seattle Fish Company.
Supposedly the real difference for what you are paying for is ethical treatment of workers and a stricter adherence to fish conservation at WF. That difference in price might reflect a living wage and better health insurance for both fisherman and the person working the counter.
on August 14, 2013
at 03:49 AM
Not only is QFC cheaper, they are local. That probably explains a good part of the price difference with the national chain store.
Wups....QFC is now a Kroger subsidiary like Fred Meyer...they still list a HQ in Bellevue though, so slightly more local than WF...
on August 13, 2013
at 07:27 PM
I just wanted to make sure you're asking the question right here. You say wild caught king salmon is 24.99 at whole foods, and 12.99 at qfc. Then later you ask if WF is "cashing in" on the "brand name", and that you stick with sockeye. These are 2 different types of fish, and are not "brand names". You can learn more here - http://localfoods.about.com/od/fishseafood/tp/salmontypes.htm
sockeye/red salmon and king/chinook salmon are both very good, some people like one over the others, and some recommend one over the other based on how you're cooking it (as I believe the king is a fattier fish, in general). WF can be expensive, but it just needs to be taken into account the king is also more expensive all over the place. So in the end, my advice would be to try both if you get a chance, and if you think the cheaper one's better, that's a win/win.
Likewise, with the cod situation, since WF labels it as true cod, I'm wondering if QFC doesn't, and once again you're not looking at the same fish. Check here and read on the right for more info - http://www.seafoodchoices.com/archived%20smartchoices/species_cod.php . The differences again may be subtle, and if you're happier with the cheaper fish, stick with it!