Yes, it just might be the most expensive grocery store you’ll ever go to. But according to holistic nutritionist and wellness chef Shauna Faulisi—who shops at Erewhon almost daily for her A-list clients—you don’t necessarily need to dip into your savings to grocery shop like the stars.
Fortunately, Faulisi’s picked up a few pro hacks that can make your final tally a bit less daunting. And don’t worry: If you’re not in LA or prefer to shop elsewhere, she offers additional FYIs and budget-friendly tips you’ll definitely want to read before your next grocery haul.
5 tips to maximize the value of your Erewhon haul
1. Go à la carte at the hot bar
In many cases, a combo meal at a grocer’s prepared food counter will save you money. But this general rule doesn’t always apply at Erewhon’s hot bar—namely when you opt for a protein with two sides. That’s because full plates are priced by the weight of your protein, rather than adjusting based on the various price points.
Faulisi gives a scenario of opting for fish: the most expensive protein source at $27 per pound. “Let’s say you order salmon and choose heavier sides like cauliflower and gluten-free mac and cheese,” she begins. “These heavier side selections will weigh in higher, and be more expensive, than if you selected lighter items like salad and asparagus as your sides.”
Basically, this means that you’ll pay a premium for the non-protein sides, which will pretty much always be less expensive on their own. (I recently tried this hack out for myself and saved just shy of $10.)
2. Be selective with prepared foods
Faulisi says that the more hands it takes to make an item—through prep work, cooking, plating, etc.—the more expensive it’ll be. She provides the example of Erewhon’s buffalo cauliflower (which, FWIW, I highly recommend), which will be more expensive than something like plain steamed broccoli. “The same goes for sliced protein versus rotisserie chicken, soaked and prepared kelp noodles versus plain potato wedges, and more,” she says.
In most cases, the same rule of thumb will apply to prepared foods—including the likes of washed and sliced fruit and other refrigerated fare—at grocers beyond Erewhon, too. As tasty and convenient as these grab-and-go bites are, it literally pays to be more selective about which items are worth the cost of convenience. To be more budget-conscious, “Stick to minimally prepared and processed items,” Faulisi advises. “Better yet, carve out time to prepare the raw items yourself and really save your hard-earned money.”
3. Figure out what’s worth the splurge
Naturally, this hack can also apply to wherever you go grocery shopping. The value of a given item could be based on anything from its taste and convenience to novelty or brand initiatives. For example, Faulisi loves to test out new items that are healthful and mission-driven. “Erewhon is a dream when it comes to discovering. They curate an amazing assortment of innovative brands that pride themselves on clean, minimally processed, and sustainable ingredients and/or packaging,” she says. “To me, along with the hot food bar’s convenience, this is what Erewhon does best.” She also notes that the items lining the shelves in Erewhon’s (infamously narrow) aisles are highly accommodating for those with dietary restrictions.
“Erewhon is a dream when it comes to discovering. They curate an amazing assortment of innovative brands that pride themselves on clean, minimally processed, and sustainable ingredients and/or packaging. To me, along with the hot food bar’s convenience, this is what Erewhon does best.”
As for Faulisi’s own go-to purchase? Erewhon’s rotisserie chicken, which can end up being quite cost-effective by following her lead. She says that it’s slightly pricier than what you’ll find at other grocers, but “exponentially better” given its juiciness and rich flavor. If you live alone, she says it’s a wonderful way to get in a few meals’ worth of protein. Bonus: It’s one of the more economical semi-prepared items you can buy since it comes whole, rather than sliced.
Plus, you can repurpose the carcass to make a DIY bone broth, thus bending your buck even further. Here’s her how-to:
- Remove all the meat from the bones while the chicken is still warm. “Once the chicken is refrigerated, it’s much harder to remove the meat and much of it will go to waste,” she cautions.
- Place the carcass in a pot with carrots, onion, celery, garlic, and your herbs of choice. “Let this simmer covered and slightly uncovered all day and overnight, adding water when some evaporates,” Faulisi continues.
- Season as needed, then strain and pour into jars to freeze or enjoy it straight away.
Lastly, Erewhon stocks quite a few brands and products that you can find at other retailers. Most of these items tend to be significantly pricier than what you’d pay for the exact thing elsewhere. (On my recent hauls, I noticed this trend with most kombuchas, alt-milks, and snacks.) That said, keep an eye out for price points that creep up from your norm—and consider saving the purchase for another time and place.
Erewhon stocks quite a few brands and products that you can find at other retailers. Most of these items tend to be significantly pricier than what you’d pay for the exact thing elsewhere.
4. Build a smarter smoothie
Again, one of Erewhon’s claims to fame is its smoothies, whether it’s a limited-time collab or a tonic bar staple. As fun as they are to try, they’re not known to be economical; many will set you back close to $20. Given the high cost, Faulisi offers a few tips to make the most out of it:
- Modify an existing smoothie versus starting from scratch. According to Faulisi, making a few changes to an existing Erewhon smoothie has the potential to save you more money than building your own from scratch. “At Whole Foods or other grocers, I find it doesn’t make much of an impact either way,” she adds.
- Be wary of mark-ups. Despite the tip above, there will be times when certain modifications will cost extra. To be more mindful with your budget, take a few moments to do some mental math—or simply ask your barista for guidance. “If you want to swap a protein, it may increase your smoothie price by a few dollars,” says Faulisi. “However, I find that Erewhon is pretty good at keeping the smoothie at or around the same cost when slightly modifying within reason.”
- Add protein to make your smoothie more nutritionally balanced. Not all Erewhon smoothies include protein—including some of the buzzy brand and celeb collabs. But Faulisi says it’s worth paying a bit more to add it to make a greater investment in your health. “They’re typically not well-balanced from a nutrition perspective that I follow in my practice with protein, fiber, fat, and low sugar,” she shares. Adding protein “helps you stay fuller for longer, ensuring your $17 smoothie sustains you properly.” To make her customized smoothies even more balanced, she asks for light fruit and adds flaxseed to sustain blood sugar levels.
- Make your own Erewhon smoothie dupe. “Purchasing smoothies versus making them at home is always going to be more expensive, as you’re paying for convenience,” Faulisi explains. In most cases, you can easily find what ingredients—and sometimes even specific brands—go into a single recipe, so you can DIY to your heart’s content (and your wallet’s benefit).
5. Consider investing in an Erewhon membership
Another thing that sets Erewhon apart from other grocery stores is that you have to pay to get discounts through a yearly membership. Yes, this sounds counterintuitive—but if you’re a regular Erewhon shopper (or an aspiring Erewhon shopper, at that), the potential to profit exists. Faulisi has Erewhon’s Membership Plus—priced at $200 a year for perks like $1 back in points for every $10 spent, a free tonic drink each month, and 25 percent off a rotating selection of brands. As a frequent shopper, she says the membership “pays for itself tenfold.”
More approachable is the Cafe Membership for half the cost, which includes $1 back in points for every $10 spent on cafe and tonic bar purchases, plus a free monthly tonic drink. This option is your best bet if the hot bar, grab-and-go sandwiches, and salads are calling your name… and especially if you *have* to try out the latest and greatest smoothie drop.