1

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Seafood at QFC vs WholeFoods

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 13, 2013 at 2:16 AM

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.

Cb893ff469fdc4aa38e031dcf9d5a8a5

(55)

on August 19, 2013
at 06:45 AM

Update - I talked to the person in the seafood counter at QFC and he mentioned that the special price of king salmon at 12.99/lb has been there only for the past 2 weeks and would continue to be till Tuesday 8/22. He said that there was large increase in supply from their sources in the last couple of weeks has led to this price reduction. He expects the price to be back up in the $24 range in a few days.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 15, 2013
at 08:16 AM

Oh, and OH MAH GAHD, I really forgot the biggest best fish secret in the NW. If you like caviar there is a storefront where you can get it practically wholesale at $39 for a 2 lb. can over by Microsoft. http://www.red-caviar.com/

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 15, 2013
at 08:11 AM

I forgot to mention, you probably already know you live about 40 minutes from the seafood mecca of the West, Pike Place Market. You can get mackerel there, you can also get it at Uwajimaya (there is even one in Overlake over in your neck of the woods) and both locations of Viet Wah in Seattle.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 14, 2013
at 06:50 PM

Fresh off the boat -- sounds wonderful.

Cb893ff469fdc4aa38e031dcf9d5a8a5

(55)

on August 13, 2013
at 09:03 PM

Thanks for the local Seattle locations. I don't consciously worry about living wage and other things, but just about the quality of the product that I choose to consume and can afford.

Cb893ff469fdc4aa38e031dcf9d5a8a5

(55)

on August 13, 2013
at 07:40 PM

Let me give the details again - Wild-caught King Salmon at WholeFoods - $24.99/lb Wild-caught King Salmon at QFC - $12.99/lb So I am referring to the same product/species of fish. When I mentioned 'brand name', I was talking about the 'WholeFoods' brand and not the individual product's brand. I don't go for King salmon at WholeFoods since they are pretty costly and get sockeye salmon instead which is around 12.99 to 16.99 per lb. Don't remember the cod names correctly though.

Cb893ff469fdc4aa38e031dcf9d5a8a5

(55)

on August 13, 2013
at 07:34 PM

Thanks will look out for Russian markets. Used to see lot of chinese markets carry mackerel, when I was in CA.

Cb893ff469fdc4aa38e031dcf9d5a8a5

(55)

on August 13, 2013
at 07:32 PM

Thanks, will check with the guys at the fish counter in both the shops. The wild-caught king salmon in QFC appeared whitish than the ones at WholeFoods, though. Being careful about Salmon, since it has become the first GMO 'animal'.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 13, 2013
at 05:21 PM

Look up Russian markets and go there to find mackerel.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 13, 2013
at 11:47 AM

I only buy canned mackerel. It's something that doesn't stay fresh for all that long I've heard. Maybe if you live on a coast, but landlocked, I don't think I've seen any fresh.

Cb893ff469fdc4aa38e031dcf9d5a8a5

(55)

on August 13, 2013
at 04:09 AM

Thanks, I also found this question at - http://paleohacks.com/questions/151333/is-mackerel-fish-usually-farmed - which corroborates what you said. But where to buy Mackerel from? I don't see them in QFC, Fred-meyer, WholeFoods, Target etc... The only place I see them is at Costco which has mackerel from some nordic area.

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5 Answers

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1
1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

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.]

Cb893ff469fdc4aa38e031dcf9d5a8a5

(55)

on August 13, 2013
at 07:32 PM

Thanks, will check with the guys at the fish counter in both the shops. The wild-caught king salmon in QFC appeared whitish than the ones at WholeFoods, though. Being careful about Salmon, since it has become the first GMO 'animal'.

best answer

2
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

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.

Cb893ff469fdc4aa38e031dcf9d5a8a5

(55)

on August 13, 2013
at 09:03 PM

Thanks for the local Seattle locations. I don't consciously worry about living wage and other things, but just about the quality of the product that I choose to consume and can afford.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 15, 2013
at 08:16 AM

Oh, and OH MAH GAHD, I really forgot the biggest best fish secret in the NW. If you like caviar there is a storefront where you can get it practically wholesale at $39 for a 2 lb. can over by Microsoft. http://www.red-caviar.com/

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 15, 2013
at 08:11 AM

I forgot to mention, you probably already know you live about 40 minutes from the seafood mecca of the West, Pike Place Market. You can get mackerel there, you can also get it at Uwajimaya (there is even one in Overlake over in your neck of the woods) and both locations of Viet Wah in Seattle.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 14, 2013
at 06:50 PM

Fresh off the boat -- sounds wonderful.

1
Medium avatar

(10611)

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...

1
E55f9d7e5cf69fddc6ed5de6b8e94960

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!

Cb893ff469fdc4aa38e031dcf9d5a8a5

(55)

on August 13, 2013
at 07:40 PM

Let me give the details again - Wild-caught King Salmon at WholeFoods - $24.99/lb Wild-caught King Salmon at QFC - $12.99/lb So I am referring to the same product/species of fish. When I mentioned 'brand name', I was talking about the 'WholeFoods' brand and not the individual product's brand. I don't go for King salmon at WholeFoods since they are pretty costly and get sockeye salmon instead which is around 12.99 to 16.99 per lb. Don't remember the cod names correctly though.

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 13, 2013
at 03:16 AM

Mackerel is always wild-caught.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 13, 2013
at 11:47 AM

I only buy canned mackerel. It's something that doesn't stay fresh for all that long I've heard. Maybe if you live on a coast, but landlocked, I don't think I've seen any fresh.

Cb893ff469fdc4aa38e031dcf9d5a8a5

(55)

on August 13, 2013
at 04:09 AM

Thanks, I also found this question at - http://paleohacks.com/questions/151333/is-mackerel-fish-usually-farmed - which corroborates what you said. But where to buy Mackerel from? I don't see them in QFC, Fred-meyer, WholeFoods, Target etc... The only place I see them is at Costco which has mackerel from some nordic area.

Cb893ff469fdc4aa38e031dcf9d5a8a5

(55)

on August 13, 2013
at 07:34 PM

Thanks will look out for Russian markets. Used to see lot of chinese markets carry mackerel, when I was in CA.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 13, 2013
at 05:21 PM

Look up Russian markets and go there to find mackerel.

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