Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bargain Becky Does A Research Project!

Since the New Year, I've really been paying attention to the price of milk, eggs and bread.  Stuff you can't really score coupons for.  Well I was thinking about the prices of fresh fruits and veggies - and having a little motivation from my friend Celeste at Itty Bitty Bistro, I scouted out our two big New England grocery stores to see what the prices were for fresh fruits and veggies!  

Click HERE to see my shocking findings of what the "normal" prices are for fruits and vegetables at Shaw's, Stop & Shop, some Roxie's and eventually BJ's.

Here's some info on my "project":

-  I recorded prices at a Stop & Shop in a more affluent community.  The Shaw's I recorded at was in more of a working class community.  

-  I recorded all REGULAR prices of popular fruits and veggies.  I did start some basic meat, but forgot to track at Shaw's last night.  I'll be there again by week's end so I'll update then.  

-  I talked previously about only buying fresh veggies and fruits when they are in season and on sale.  But honestly, I had ZERO idea of what "normal" prices were for these things.  I mean, I just bought 3 1 lbs containers of Strawberries on sale for $1.67 ea.  For all I knew, the normal pricing of these could have been $1.79 and I wasn't saving a whole lot.  But now I know!

-  I recorded all standard quality - no organics.  

-  All prices are recorded by pound, except where noted.  Like Cantaloupes, Pineapples, Cucumbers, Lettuce and Blueberries are all by item or container.  

-  I was honestly shocked that overall, Stop & Shop's regular prices on fresh produce are lower than Shaw's.

-  This is a good list to keep to compare to sale prices.  For instance, this week, I think both Shaw's and Stop & Shop have cabbage on sale for 25 cents a pound.  Normally cabbage is 69 cents a pound!  What a savings!  

-  Remember that your stores could be different.  I live south of Boston and these are probably pretty accurate for the Boston Metro region.  I always thought the prices in "higher class" communities were higher, but my little experiment proved otherwise.  At least for here.  Or maybe S&S just has lower prices like they boast!  

- I hope to get on the ball and research BJ's - but most of the time at BJ's I find that I do not need 10 lbs of potatoes or 10 lbs of oranges.  I'd rather spend a little more per pound to get a quantity that suits our family.  

-  I hope to update in a couple months.  It's actually kind of fun to walk around the produce department with my kids and talk about fruit.  It's like a free field trip.  We're weird though.


Celeste said...

Thanks Becky!! This is AWESOME and exactly what I was hoping for!!

I have an idea for ongoing research. It might be good to revisit the list quarterly to get an general sense of seasonal pricing..? I could help you if you want. I could take a store or two.

Anxiously awaiting 'the meat list'...ha.

BECKY! said...

Yes! Quarterly would be good. I'm not sure how much "normal" pricing changes. It really didn't take long at all and was kind of fun. If we get really crazy, we can throw Hannaford and Roche Bros in the mix! Wooohoooo!

Celeste said...

I will volunteer to to Whole Foods for you too. I know you love shopping at Whole Foods!

BECKY! said...

Oh how I LOVE WHOLE FOODS! ;) This is sarcasm people!

Leslie said...

A lot depends on the other stores in the community and on the store's ethics overall. The Hannaford in Athol/Orange MA charges, on average, 10-20% more on many items than the Hannaford in Gardner MA, all of 15 miles away. Hannaford in Athol/Orange is the ONLY grocery in that area and they are raping us wildly. The Gardner Hannaford is about equal (overall) to the Stop & Shop in Gardner. When we had two grocery stores in town they were about equal overall but with the demise of the competition Hannaford went sky high!

Do I dislike Hannaford's "ethics"?? You bet your buttons! That's why I travel 18 miles to the Market Basket if I don't stop there after work.

Anonymous said...

I have a South Shore secret for 1% milk on the cheap...Tedeschi's mini marts...usually either 2.69 or 2.79--I was paying 3.69 at Johnnie Foodmaster and 3.79 at Shaws.

I also take a drive once a month over to Price Rite in Brockton. Apples are .99, milk was 2.19 last week, double pack of Aunt Jemima waffles are $1.49, eggplant was 0.99/lb. It is mostly store brand items but you can find some staples there for next to nothing and I pick up veggies that hold up well. No coupons though. Like I said, I use it to stock up on staples and go from there.

Oh yeah, you have to bag your own groceries and bring bags or they charge you 0.10 for a bag...

Anyway, I enjoy the blog. I am a Shaw's shopper now too after many years of Stop and Shop. Everything I get at S+S just seems to be consistently priced higher than Shaws. I am going to watch your price comparisons with interest!


Steph said...

Thanks for posting this - very interesting. I'm in southern NH and have always been told that S&S had the highest prices in the area with Shaws running a close second. I have been a loyal S&S shopper for the last few years. They just seem more customer friendly and they double coupons every day here. But you've inspired me to start my own spreadsheet and see how prices really compare up here!

Heidi said...

Becky! I've missed you! I'm out in CA for a long visit, so I haven't been checking my Boston bargain blogs in a while...

Anyway, this idea is BRILLIANT! I always wanted to do this, since there are a bunch of stores near me, but never did. I'm definitely going to copy this idea once we move out here for good, there are WAY too many stores in CA and I have not idea who has the best prices! Thanks for the info and the great idea!!!