The natural foods chain may soon feel a bit more accessible. 
Credit: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Whole Foods, the upscale natural food chain that has earned itself the nickname “Whole Paycheck,” is fighting its reputation by vowing to lower prices in stores nationwide, according to news reports.

While better prices sounds like great news, it could come with one downside. According to the reports, the chain might have to change its inventory system. Whole Foods stores are currently split into 11 regions, and each region makes independent decisions about what produce to buy and stock on the shelves. This has been one of Whole Foods’ biggest strengths over the years, as customers shop at the stores for local items they can’t find at other big box stores.

John Mackey, the brand’s CEO, has hinted that lowering prices means this process may change, allowing national brands one space at the Whole Foods headquarters in Austin to pitch their products for inclusion in stores nationwide. This plan is similar to Walmart’s, where brands flock to Arkansas to compete for the chance to have their products stocked on the retail giant’s shelves across the country. Critics say this move could limit the variety available on store shelves.

When reached for comment, Whole Foods did not specifically address the reported price cuts and instead directed us to information on the company’s upcoming Q2 earnings call.

Until the pricing news is confirmed, shoppers can save on their favorite items with the new rewards program or by visiting the brand’s spin-off stores called 365 by Whole Foods Market, smaller locations that stock mostly products from Whole Foods’ private label.