As a mother of four, I am at the grocery store
every day a lot. I am continually waging a mental battle over the prices and products at each store. So for once in my life, I decided to be a little mathematical, and actually track the price of certain products at each store.
Our family eats mostly organic, so I rotate shopping at three different grocers in Fort Worth: Sprouts Farmers Market, Central Market, and Trader Joe’s. I decided to compare the price of four similar items at each store. This isn’t an exact science, since the items are not precisely the same in each store.
However, it does give a good ballpark idea of how much these products cost. I compared the price of a dozen eggs, one gallon of organic milk, a package of bacon, and a pound of organic apples or pears. Some of my sleuth work suprised me. Here is what I found.
One dozen organic cage-free eggs cost the most at Sprouts, ringing in at $4.89, and the least at Trader Joes, costing only $3.79. However, a gallon of organic whole milk cost the least at Sprouts at $4.99, and cost the same at both Central Market and Trader Joes at $5.99.
A package of bacon ranged from $4.99 at Trader Joes to $6.99 at Sprouts. In this case though, you may getting what you pay for. At home, in my unscientific, somewhat biased taste test experiment, the Sprouts bacon from Niman Ranch had a much better flavor than the store-brand Trader Joes. My bacon-loving family concurred with my opinion.
A little harder to compare was the cost of produce. Nonetheless, organic Granny Smith apples cost $2.78 per pound at Central Market and only slightly less at Sprouts, weighing in at $2.49 per pound.
The day I investigated prices at Trader Joe’s, they were sold out of Granny Smith apples; but I did buy a pound of organic Anjou pears at a mere $1.49, which is a steal in the organic produce world. Overall, Trader Joe’s produce prices can’t be beat.
I also tried to compare the price of snack items. A box of Annie’s Homegrown Organic Cheddar Classics crackers cost $3.49 at Central Market, whereas a similar item at Trader Joes, their Organic Mini Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers, was only $2.69. To my surprise, Annie’s Homegrown Organic Cheddar Bunnies cost a whopping $3.99 at Sprouts.
In a way, it is difficult to compare these three stores to each other, since they each offer such different shopping experiences. All three stores have great customer service. Perhaps my biggest complaint with Central Market is that no one helps me to the car with my plethora of bags and babies, but at Trader Joe’s and Sprouts someone always assists us out the door.
To a mom of four littles, this is a big, big deal. But for ambiance and abundance of overpriced but delicious olives, gourmet meats and cheeses, and meals for-the-taking, we all know Central Market rules.
Trader Joe’s is wonderful for stocking up on semi-healthy, easy snack items to pack in lunch boxes; and I, now know, has really good prices on eggs, of which we consume somewhere between 1-2 dozen a week. The biggest drawback on shopping at Trader Joe’s is that they by no means carry as many items as the other two grocers do. So if you are preparing a special meal with a long list of ingredients, steer clear of this store.
Finally, there is Sprouts, which after doing this detective work, I realised does not have the most competitive prices. But what Sprouts does have is a location very, very close to my house, and like I mentioned, they do carry my bags out to the ole minivan. So really, for what more could a tired mama ask?
Where do you find the best deals is town? Do you shop organic? Any tips?