Several weeks ago, after compiling a bunch of comments from readers, friends and family that said “Fred’s grocery store prices are so high” or “Joe’s grocery store has the lowest prices in town”, or “Have you ever shopped at Big Box o’ Groceries?” I decided I needed to put my nose to the grindstone and find out if all the generalizations people make are true. Let’s face it, even I had some preconceived notions about particular stores. And while many of us shop the sales to get the best deals, I think it’s the items that aren’t on sale that are just as important. Besides, I hate generalizations–I want facts to back them up!
Here’s how I did my unscientific research. I asked friends and family for items they frequently buy from the store, then whittled my list down to about 30 different items which included everything from:
- peanut butter
- loaves of bread (white and whole grain)
- hamburger and hot dog buns,
- I also included all sorts of popular “dead animal” choices like
- boneless skinless chicken breast
- pork chops
- ground beef, chuck or round, etc.
I then went to seven grocery stores in the Green Bay area to check the regular prices on these items: Aldis, Copps, Festival Foods, Piggly Wiggly, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Woodmans. Green Bay Consumer reader Rebecca finished it off with a visit to SuperValu on Webster. With respect to mom and pop stores like Mason Brothers Red Owl or Austin’s Market who do fill a niche market, I did not include them in this research.
Rebecca and I chose the lowest priced item, regardless of size or whether it was brand name or generic. The lowest unit price we found is the number we used for that particular store.
Since many stores carried items in different sizes, I broke the item down into unit prices (ounces/pounds, etc). I then multiplied those totals by an average amount. For example, if I were buying diapers at Sam’s Club, the lowest price I could find was $32.99 for 200 diapers which is 16.4 cents per diaper. Then I multiplied that by an average number for diaper packages (48) because no one buys just one diaper.
Drum roll please:
Woodman’s was the Green Bay Consumer winner, which edged out Aldi by $1.43 for the 30+ items I priced. Darnit, my mother was right. Woodman’s does have the best prices around. One should never doubt their mother….
As you can see, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Festival Foods are in the next bracket for costs, with SuperValu, Copps and Piggly Wiggly being the highest-priced stores for their everyday regular prices. Any surprises from my results?
I’ll further break down my observations including which stores have the best/worst in particular areas in part two this series “Which Grocery store in the area is cheapest?”