Whole Foods Cake Prices - Fyi

Decorating By alimonkey Updated 15 Sep 2005 , 8:22pm by PolishMommy

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alimonkey Posted 13 Sep 2005 , 2:07pm
post #1 of 17

Somebody posted Wal-mart's prices a while back, and I thought I'd check out Whole Foods' while I was there yesterday. Their prices are mostly for a 2 layer sheet cake. Seems like they are pretty much in line with what most of us charge for a cake. Except that theirs all come undecorated except probably for borders.

Decorations are billed at $6.00 for 15 minutes of labor!!!! Can you believe it????? icon_eek.gif

Flavors available are
Berry Chantilly
Chocolate Eruption
Chocolate Vegan
German Chocolate
Lemon Raspberry
Classic Vanilla

1/4 Sheet (serves 13 to 24)
26.99 to 34.99, depending on type of cake
15.99 for Carrot, Chocolate or Vanilla single layer

1/2 Sheet
54.99 to 65.99
32.99 for Carrot, Chocolate or Vanilla single layer

Full Sheet
109.99 to 125.99
(no price quoted for single layer)

For a 6 in. round cake, 18.99
For 8 in. round, 21.99

They don't do wedding cakes, and if you want a 10 in. round, they cut it from a sheet cake. They will sell you a 2-tiered cake for the price of both tiers.

For those of you unfamiliar with Whole Foods Market, they are kind of an upscale health food supermarket.


16 replies
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irisinbloom Posted 13 Sep 2005 , 4:59pm
post #2 of 17

WOW, and some people think we are to high on ours, thanks for the infoicon_smile.gif

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Ironbaker Posted 13 Sep 2005 , 5:32pm
post #3 of 17

Whole Foods is "expensive" compared to other stores. But they're expensive just for little cakes and tarts and stuff too. Good but more expensive.

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SquirrellyCakes Posted 13 Sep 2005 , 7:05pm
post #4 of 17
Originally Posted by irisinbloom

WOW, and some people think we are to high on ours, thanks for the infoicon_smile.gif

Heehee, no, most of you are really too low, at least in my opinion! Biggest mistake we all make, pricing ourselves too low!
When you say the cakes are two layers, does that mean that the sheet cakes are torted and filled or actually two full layers, as in 4-6 inches high?
Hugs Squirrelly

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alimonkey Posted 13 Sep 2005 , 7:18pm
post #5 of 17

The cakes are actually 4 inches high, not just one torted layer. So when I said that their prices are kind of in line with most of ours, I was comparing the single layer cake price (32.99 for 1/2 sheet). Seems like most of us are charging around $30 for a simple single layer 1/2 sheet, although we don't add the $24/hr decorating charge on top of that! We'd all be rich if we did that. Each cake has its own look built into the price (like berries or chocolate swirls & shavings, for example), but I don't think they'd really be willing to do a Spongebob or Power Rangers cake icon_biggrin.gif

I think Whole Foods is a *little* on the high side for their cakes, but not really too bad, except that they're not decorated to individual preference.


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Daniela Posted 13 Sep 2005 , 7:18pm
post #6 of 17

This topic came up before on CC and I think that our cakes are 100 times better than any store. Maybe we should give ourselves a raise!!


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SquirrellyCakes Posted 13 Sep 2005 , 9:04pm
post #7 of 17

Well, sometimes I think that is the problem. We are comparing apples and oranges here, for the most part. A simple 1/4 sheet cake with a shell border and three roses, well here anyway, is about $25. I charge $40-$50 for an 11x15 with a lot of detail. like a buttercream transfer and perhaps some molded chocolate candies around the border and such. I would charge $30-$40 for a quarter sheet with a transfer or a character type cake.
What I am finding is many decorators on sites are charging $15 and $20 for a 9x13 with a whole lotta work in decorating. A lot of them charge about $5 more or even in some cases, the same as Costco or any of the big box types of stores. They think it will bring them more business or a customer base or they don't think they have enough experience to charge more. But even the least experienced do a wonderful job. So what is going to happen is, they are going to get fed up with working so hard for nothing or close to nothing. So suddenly they raise their prices and they lose all of their customers. But it has nothing to do with their prices being too high, it has everything to do with customer reaction to steep price increases. For example, a perfume is put on the market for $10 and everyone buys it because it is a steal, right? Then the manufacturer raises the price to $50, and hardly anybody buys it. Why? Because they are used to getting it for a steal. But if the price was higher to begin with, you will establish a client base that knows a quality product and will pay for it. If you price your product too low, people wonder what is wrong with it. If you suddenly raise the price really high, they resent the price increase.
If you look at it like this, if you sell only 4 cakes, but get $50 a cake or you sell 10 cakes at $20 a cake, well which would you rather do? Haha, I know what my choice would be, less labour, less mess, less cost, less wear and tear on your equipment, same amount of profit.
Most people are making custom cakes but charging bargain basement prices. They think nobody will pay the higher prices their cakes command. Well they are wrong, you won't get as many customers asking for custom cakes but the customers you do get will pay more for them. So you will actually work less hard for more money.
Think about it like producing custom furniture, you pay for something that is original.
Anyway, just some food for thought.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

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Misdawn Posted 13 Sep 2005 , 9:12pm
post #8 of 17

Well said Squirrelly!

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crimsonhair Posted 14 Sep 2005 , 12:20am
post #9 of 17

Thanks again Squirrelly.. You are correct that lots of us undercharge because we are unsure of our ability. So far I have only sold one cake and I think I got a fair price for it considering where I live.. All the others have been for family or very close friends and I was happy to make them for free..This week I am attending my Lioness Club dinner meeting and I am bringing a gift basket of my decorated cookies for them to raffle . This is a donation on my part but I am thinking that maybe I will get some orders from them seeing my cookies..Then I will have to worry about pricing the cookies..LOL icon_smile.gif

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ThePastryDiva Posted 14 Sep 2005 , 1:20am
post #10 of 17

AMEN Squirrelly!! DOUBLE AMEN to that.

One must keep the eye on the prize...

I'd rather get 1,000.00 dollars for ONE cake than have to make 1,000 cakes for a dollar.

( not that I charge that much, but you all get the idea!!)


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SquirrellyCakes Posted 14 Sep 2005 , 2:10am
post #11 of 17

Haha, I hope people don't take those comments as criticism. I actually mean them as encouragement to make you folks realize that you need to realize just what wonderful work you do and you need to charge accordingly!
Underpricing is the most common mistake decorators make, you see it on absolutely every site. It is truly partly because people don't have the confidence in themselves to command better prices. Haha, so I am going to nag you all to be more confident!
You really have to place a value on your time. You also need to consider that you need to make a profit so that you can afford to stay up-to-date with your tools, your books, your courses and all of the things you pay for to continue decorating. If you don't, you will start to get yourselves in a hole financially and you will also start to resent and dislike cake decorating. You have to bear in mind that you are using a lot of hydro and overworking your ovens and your mixers and that these things cost money.
Heehee, yes Pastry Diva, wouldn't that be nice, haha!
Crimson Hair, even though you are in Northern Ontario, seems to me when I lived there, that the bakeries were not inexpensive either. Good bakeries charge good prices. Heehee, no excuses now, you charge the going rate, haha! Liz, take a look on the Internet, check out bakeries in Canada that do cookie bouquets and such, you will be surprised at the prices.
I think most of us need to get out of this mindset that cakes are worth around $1 a serving and cookies are worth $.50. Those are really old prices.
Heehee, off my soapbox now!
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

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Fishercakes Posted 14 Sep 2005 , 4:46pm
post #12 of 17

Thanks Squirrellycakes!! thumbs_up.gif

I think that we all needed that extra boost of confidence. Your "preaching" icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif has encouraged me to not let people take advantage of me, my skills, or my cakes just because I am new to decorating.

I have only done one wedding cake so far, but the mother of the bride who hired me didn't realize that until I set up the cake and looked to my daughter, who was helping, and said "not too bad for my first wedding cake". I thought that she would fall over, she kept raving about the way the cake looked. She also got it for a steal at $100.

Well, now I have all of hers and her family cake business. icon_smile.gif

So thanks again for the encouragement!! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

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Daniela Posted 14 Sep 2005 , 4:58pm
post #13 of 17

Very well said Squirrelly!! I'll keep that in mind when I start decorating for customers!!!


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PolishMommy Posted 15 Sep 2005 , 6:10pm
post #14 of 17

Sorry, this is going to be long...

We shop at Whole Foods and I think people have a distorted idea of their prices. I actually save a lot of money shopping there. Realize too, that a lot of their high priced items are local, naturally raised, or organic.

For example:
cream cheese 1.29 WF vs 1.79 at S&S
Yobaby 2.99 vs 4.29 ouch!
King Arthur Flour I save like 0.50
milk is 2.99 vs. 3.69
organic milk is 4.99 vs 7.50 or more
EVOO I save like 1.50
Cage Free Eggs I save over $1/doz
Natural Cereals I save at least $1.50 per box

I've been wanting to make a detailed list of how much I save there. Also, since things are priced more I'm less tempted to buy junk or frivolous things. Now, their produce is high, but it comes mostly from local farms. If more people would buy local stuff the prices would come down plus that's supporting local economies. We actually save on produce by purchasing at a local country market. (which is also cheaper than big-box grocery stores)

I haven't checked in to their cakes, are they made from natural ingredients or organic? That would be well worth it...Actually just the trust that I have in them that they use high quality ingredients is worth it.

I always agonize about being into both natural foods and being a cake decorator, because of all the colorings and artificial ingredients. I recently switched to from-scratch cakes and am looking for ways to replace artificial ingredients where possible. I tell family members that eating the icing is optional especially the colorings. But I guess cakes aren't consumed on a regular basis. We think the natural foods are important on things you eat daily or regularly (milk, eggs, cereals, bread, beef, chicken, yogurt, etc) We haven't been able to afford organic cheeses or butter yet, but as more people switch the prices will come down.

Sorry for the rant, I needed to get that out of my chest. hehe

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ThePastryDiva Posted 15 Sep 2005 , 7:23pm
post #15 of 17


I always say I trust Mother Nature over a CHEMIST! that's why my icing is only made with sugar, butter and eggs!

I like to ice my cakes with a swiss meringue buttercream or a french buttercream, it's a little creamy colored.

My decorations are the only thing I color

I remember when Thomas the Tank was the POPULAR cake to do for toddlers and having one of my students tell me that she made the cake for her child's birthday and having all the mothers call her in concern because all the kids were pooping blue for days after..lol

Even with reds, I make my pink or orange base the day before (as with all bright colors), to let them REALLY come out...then I don't have to use a lot of red food color.

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alimonkey Posted 15 Sep 2005 , 7:44pm
post #16 of 17

PolishMommy -

The most important thing I can say is Buyer Beware! As you read, keep in mind that your WF store is likely VERY different from mine, just trying to point out a few things.

I'm in Austin, the HQ for WF Market. They opened a new flagship store this year, and although it had me in awe for a little while, once I opened my eyes, it really changed my view of WF mission. I truly believe WFM opened for a great reason-opening up your average grocery customer to whole, organic, and locally grown foods. If you ever come to Austin, visit our store here and you may see why I think that has changed.

While they do stock organic produce, about half of it is conventionally grown, just at higher prices than other supermarkets. Many of WF 365 brand items are not organic - if they don't specifically say it, they're not. They had me fooled on that for a while. Our new store is loaded with boutique items - cheeses, chocolates, pastries, plus high-end meats and seafood that are not organic or wild. Some of them are "natural," which only means that it was processed naturally, not grown naturally. Which leads me to believe that their mission above all is a high profit margin, and in this age of the SUV-driving "environmentally conscious" consumer, organics and boutique items can be marketed to a large degree to the same clientele.

Their baked goods (unless specified organic) are made with processed flour and sugar. They sure are yummy, though.

I was initially drawn in by the feel-good, saving-the-environment-and-your -kids'-health atmosphere they try to foster, but before long I was just taken aback by the unabashed consumerism that the new WF seems to promote.

Which isn't to say I don't shop there icon_biggrin.gif Sometimes I go just to see what they have, or if I need something I can't find anywhere else.

Ali icon_rolleyes.gif

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PolishMommy Posted 15 Sep 2005 , 8:22pm
post #17 of 17

That's true, people need to be careful of the difference between "natural" (which means essentially nothing), and organic. Look for the USDA organic label.

WF isn't the holy grail, but if I can save money and stick to the things I want to buy its great.

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