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Author Topic: Geeking on the grocery list.
MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted May 07, 2010 15:10      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is statistics, not really math, but whatever.

Because I am such a geek I went and did some actual comparison shopping at the two grocery stores nearby.

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Light Yellow indicates a sale price. Cyan indicates the lower price. In circumstances where the per-unit price was less but you had to buy a greater quantity, the per-unit price is Cyan. Also, items marked "PER OUNCE or PER ROLL" for the package size are items which I did not have the ability to compare equally.

As you can see, Meijer had the lowest price for 7 out of 12 items, not including sale priced items; 58.3%. Kroger had the lowest price for 5 out of 12 items, 41.7%.

I guess what this really means is that if I really want to get the lowest price, I need to turn my shopping trip into a big PITA!

Also note that I didn't actually buy all of the items on the list.

Edit to fix some glaring math errors! [blush]

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Posts: 2331 | From: Southwest Michigan, USA | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Grummash

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Icon 1 posted May 07, 2010 15:34      Profile for Grummash     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Even in the UK, you can burn a lot of petrol chasing a few pence off here and there. I split the Grummash household shopping between two supermarkets. I do the bulk of the shopping 3 miles away at a high street chain mega-store in order to get the variety of products I want.

Having said that, I try and buy as much as I can from the co-operative at the end of the street. It is a much greener way to shop and their own brand stuff is very good quality and eco-friendly. I would like to do all my shopping there but they don't stock the range of brands I would like and there is a big mark-up on the popular brands.

So yeah... PITA. And while you are schlepping around finding a few cents off here and there don't forget to cost out your own time [Wink]

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Posts: 2335 | From: Lancashire,UK | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted May 07, 2010 15:36      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
$0.08 per roll for something I'm going to flush down the toi^H^H^Hloo seems worthwhile.

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get rich and you still die"


Posts: 2331 | From: Southwest Michigan, USA | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted May 07, 2010 15:53      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A nice illustration of modern retail economics.

The supermarkets all have _some_ things that are quite cheap, in an attempt to convince shoppers they're the cheapest and build customer loyalty, but it's an illusion, you pay almost exactly the same no matter where you shop.

There's a 'discount' store near us that is substantially cheaper than the major chains, but it has such a limited range (and it changes from week to week) that you'd be lucky to get half your normal items there, so then you'd be going to a real supermarket to pick up the rest. As Grummash observed, your time has value too.

Here as Casa del Druid we do our grocery shopping at a small locally-owned supermarket. We pay a few dollars more, but it's walking distance, and what we'd 'save' by going to a big chain would probably get burned in petrol. Our meat/fruit/vegetable shopping is done at Victoria Market, also walking distance, typically about 1/2 to 1/3 the price you'd pay at the supermarket, and a lot of fun to shop there.

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Ugh, MightyClub
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Icon 1 posted May 07, 2010 18:02      Profile for Ugh, MightyClub     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
We've been doing all our grocery shopping at the "high end" store in town (Wegmans). I used to think we were paying more going there, but the experience is ten million times better than the other stores in the area. But now I'm noticing that for many things, including a lot of what we typically buy, the prices are actually *lower* Wegmans. For example, one cut of steak is $12.99 at Tops and $7.99 at Wegmans. Regular price for staples like cereal, flour, sugar, milk, etc. are all lower at Wegmans.

By the way, when I saw the subject line I was hoping I was going to get validation for my recent habit of using my iPod Touch to handle shopping list duties [Wink]

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CommanderShroom
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Icon 1 posted May 07, 2010 19:49      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
When the money is tight I am typically the one that goes shopping. I can make a dollar scream when I need to. And generally I can scrimp in the right places to not make the meals look like college ramen.

What I have found is that every store will have their advantages. I also don't let sales guide me. Generally a sale is to entice you to the store, and other than the sale items the prices may not reflect saving across the board.

So I have inspected many of the local grocery stores and have found that some will be better for certain staples. and other stores will be better for other items. So I let my needs dictate my stores.

Then if a sale exists, I will of course snap it up. But I just don't use sales to dictate my habits.

< Obligatory tech statement >

I used my blackberry for a long time for shopping lists. My current phone is not quite so good with those(character limitations).

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted May 07, 2010 20:46      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Wegs is high end?? WTF?? When I was at the UR there was a Wegmans up the street from campus. We called it the Ghetto Wegs because, well, it deserved it. But it got the job done.

There's a Sunflower market that opened up in Boulder. They're sort of like Whole Paycheck, but less pricey (smaller selection and much, much less frippery). Since then, all I buy at Safeway is stuff like soda and laundry or dishwasher detergent. The produce and the dairy are cheaper at Sunflower, even when they aren't having some sort of insane special. Even organic is affordable.

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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted May 08, 2010 09:33      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A gallon of milk is $1.77? Wow. It's double that here.

And yeah, Wegman's is high-end to us. It has fancy imported cheese, a large section of "natural" and "organic" foods. Weis and Giant are trying to live up to the standards it set. Whole Foods and Trader Joe's must be even higher up on the food chain, but I've never shopped there, since they haven't reached my area yet. Aldi is supposed to be cheap, but it also has a lot of processed foods, so I haven't shopped there.

I do most of my cereal shopping at Amelia's Discount Outlet (it's a chain) and get my bulk foods at Granny's Discount Groceries (an Amish store). When I'm in the area, I like to check out what I can find at Sharp Shopper (similar to Amelia's). Also, BB's is a well-known Amish-run discount store, but the quality of the items is somewhat dubious.

The meat and cheese ends are cheapest at Musser's (Family Owned Markets system) and most expensive at Weis and Darrenkamp's (another Family Owned Markets store).

Thankfully, my job takes me near a variety of stores, so I spread our food dollars around. Once summer gets underway, I'll try to carry more cash so I can shop at The Corn Wagon, a farm stand that sells great produce.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted May 08, 2010 14:31      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Damn...that makes me feel like Quentin Tarantino ("Jimmie") w.r.t. coffee... [Wink]

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted May 08, 2010 16:04      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
BTW, the best deal I've ever found on bread is making my own.

That and my husband gets to brag to people about how his wife makes bread every day*. Considering how easy it is to make no-knead bread, it's really not worth the esteem I find myself awash in.

*Actually, I make it as fast as we consume it, which is about twice a week for a sandwich loaf and almost daily for a round loaf to eat with dinner.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
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fs

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Icon 1 posted May 10, 2010 03:38      Profile for fs   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
We shop at the coop almost exclusively. They completely revamped the store a bit over a year ago and now they've got a big focus on ecological/organic/fair trade brands.

We used to make our own bread--since the local store has started a weekly special in combination with a local bakery, it's more convenient and more cost effective to just buy whatever the week's sale product is. The down side is the house doesn't get that pleasant fresh-bread smell.

My cost effective grocery strategy is a) shop someplace with good store brands b) buy what's on sale and plan menus around that and c) don't overshop.

I need to work on the last point. We throw away too much food. It's harder this time of year because going to the store is an excuse for a nice walk.

Of course, the best thing you can do for your grocery budget is go vegetarian (at least if you don't buy too much of the way overpriced meat replacement product).

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted May 10, 2010 04:44      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by fs:
We shop at the coop almost exclusively. They completely revamped the store a bit over a year ago and now they've got a big focus on ecological/organic/fair trade brands.


THEY HAVE COOP up there!! It must be a different grocery store chain with the same name. But that is a coincidence. I shop also mostly at COOP, but go to German and frech grocery stores alot to get some variety.

I think the best way to save on groceries is to plan your meals. This is more of also how I diet. I sit down once a week and plan all my meals, I find I buy much much less than if I stop at the store on the way home every two to three days. Plus you buy much less already prepped food. Also planning your meals around your garden saves, except I have mostly fruit in my garden and that is mostly for snacking.

ps

Is the COOP sign in your country with the CO in orange and then the OP in yellow?


EDIT:
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guess it is not the same store, but the logos are eirily similar.
pps

My wife and I found a family farm that sells food from a small store on the property, which is not too exceptional except for the huge variety this family farm produces. Bread baked daily in a wood oven,eggs, a wide selection of fresh meat, and all sorts of seasonal veggies. ( yes even in winter as there are veggies that can be harvested almost all year long if you know your climate and when to plant.

I especially like nüsslidalat, which looks like really small roundish spinnich leaves. You can plant it in the late fall. In the middle of winter you can remove teh snow with a shovel and harvest it. Snow won't hurt it the slightest bit ( though it doesn't grow under snow). The only problems are when there is not snow but it is below freezing and windy, and in summer , when it is too hot. But it is always fresh in fall winter and spring.

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snupy
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Icon 1 posted May 10, 2010 10:13      Profile for snupy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Grummash: I agree, I like the Coop, but Sainsburys is the only affordable big chain here that is Ethical Company Certified, so we try to got there for the big stuff.

Xanthine: Are you in Boulder now?

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Grummash

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Icon 1 posted May 10, 2010 12:38      Profile for Grummash     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Snupy

I never used to think of Sainsbury's as an ethical company - a few years ago they definitely jumped on the 'greenwash' bandwagon.

I have not heard of 'ethical company certification' so I had a look at Sainsbury's Corporate Responsibility report. How things have changed! I couldn't find anything specifically referred to as 'ethical company certification' but I was very impressed by what I read.

Their Corporate Responsibility report is both in-depth and broad in scope, and very credible. It is nice to see more businesses showing real commitment to ethical trading.

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...and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this earth with envious eyes...

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Ugh, MightyClub
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Icon 1 posted May 10, 2010 13:05      Profile for Ugh, MightyClub     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
Wegs is high end?? WTF?? When I was at the UR there was a Wegmans up the street from campus. We called it the Ghetto Wegs because, well, it deserved it. But it got the job done.

Haha, yeah, I remember Ghetto Wegs. That is *still* the only grocery store I have ever seen with giant poles to prevent carts from leaving the store.

The Wegmans in Ithaca is in a whole different league. It's also one of the most profitable in the whole chain from what I hear. Huge produce department, huge organic selection, huge international selection. Huge in general.

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted May 10, 2010 13:53      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I take an unusual approach to grocery shopping (or at least it seems that almost nobody else shares it), but I rarely spend more than $20 a week on food unless there's a particularly good sale and I buy large amounts of something so I it seems to be a fairly good approach.

Both of the stores I usually shop at start sales on Sunday and Wednesday, so I usually do my shopping twice a week; on Monday and Thursday. I start by looking at the sales papers to see what's on sale in the meat and produce departments. I then try to think up recipes using the ingredients that are on sale for the best prices.

There are some interesting consequences to shopping this way, but I've grown used to them. I tend to buy mostly fruits and vegetables that are in season, for example, since they're abundant and the stores put them on sale to get rid of them. I also buy a lot more locally grown produce since it's cheaper than produce that was trucked in (though it seems chain stores in other areas don't use local produce as often as they do here). In addition to all that, I wind up making odd, experimental dishes that are sometime very successful (and sometimes not so much). Still, it's fun to experiment and try different things and sometimes find really tasty new recipes (and if all else fails, I can dump lots of my favorite salsa on top and it'll generally be edible).

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snupy
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Icon 1 posted May 10, 2010 14:01      Profile for snupy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Here ya go, Grummash:

http://www.ethical-company-organisation.org/

I have the book, so if you want me to look up anything, pm me and I'll scan and send

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fs

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Icon 1 posted May 11, 2010 03:18      Profile for fs   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ash: This is the one we shop at: http://www.coop.se/Globala-sidor/In-english/ -- it doesn't say anything about international presence, but who knows? Also, do you know what nüsslidalat is in English? It sounds like it might be kale. That's supposed to handle cold/frost quite well. I started some of that for this year.

Ugh: The Wegman's in Ithaca is fantastic. Maswan finally understands why I invariably find grocery stores disappointing. Nothing compares.

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted May 11, 2010 03:42      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by fs:
Ash: This is the one we shop at: http://www.coop.se/Globala-sidor/In-english/ -- it doesn't say anything about international presence, but who knows? Also, do you know what nüsslidalat is in English? It sounds like it might be kale. That's supposed to handle cold/frost quite well. I started some of that for this year.

Ugh: The Wegman's in Ithaca is fantastic. Maswan finally understands why I invariably find grocery stores disappointing. Nothing compares.

that was a fat finger typo, its called nusslisalat.

corn salad in english

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-Assif Mandvi

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