Grocery Comparison: The Results are In!

I had planned over my spring break a few weeks ago to compare prices on products we often buy at different stores across the city.  And I mostly did it. I went to: Cub, Target, Rainbow, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Mississippi Market, the co-op.

I made a worksheet in Excel with the names of each product and the price at each store. I wasn’t too picky about brands, I just compared the cheapest brand that met my requirements (e.g. organic, no-salt added, etc.).

Not all stores carried everything I wanted, so I just left those spaces blank. Phil did some analysis for me afterwards and added the categories and the priorities. I wanted to make sure one store wasn’t “winning” on cheapest just because it had the cheapest of the less frequently purchased items.

Phil made this graph. I have to confess I’m not entirely sure how to read it, but I couldn’t figure out how to make another one that expressed what I wanted to. I think it does show the end result by the highest overall bar: Whole Foods is overall the cheapest for the products I buy!
And Target came in second. I’ve heard that Rainbow is super cheap on organics, but the location I went to didn’t carry many organic products. I have yet to check out a second location to see if they can beat Whole Foods. Also, Trader Joe’s is not this amazing cheap place like people are always talking about. They have a few products that I like that aren’t carried elsewhere and a few products that are cheapest (like the sesame rice crackers).
I’m also excited to have the document, so that when I see a sale or a coupon, I’ll know what price I need to actually compare it to before declaring it a bargain!


  1. awesome, Jill! Anxiously awaiting the results of a baby product price comparison…I need help figuring out where to get the cheapest 7th Generation diapers/detergent!

  2. The 7th Generation laundry detergent is cheapest by 1 penny per oz at Whole Foods. But the 7th Generation dish soap is cheapest at Target.

    I’m flustered just thinking about baby products, but I’m sure I’ll get them figured out eventually. We’re planning on using cloth diapers, but we’ll probably do some 7th Generation at the beginning or for traveling, so maybe I’ll have to figure out the cheapest spot for those at some point!