A year ago we price-checked a "basket" of 40 items in an attempt to figure out which local supermarket chain has the lowest prices. Walmart came out on top -- it wasn't even close -- followed by Hannaford and then Price Chopper.
But, things change: prices go up, prices go down, economies go into recession.
So, this past weekend we checked the same basket again. Here's what we found...
We did our best to match prices against the same products as last year, but in some cases that wasn't possible. Discrepancies are noted.
Lowest prices have a green background.
Asterisks indicate which prices were marked as sale prices
fine print: Prices were collected on February 22 at the Price Chopper in Albany on Central, Walmart in Glenmont and Hannaford in Albany. We tried our best to compare similar items. Some items -- such as deli meat -- couldn't necessarily be matched for quality. Your mileage will almost certainly vary.
A list of the brands and sizes we checked (pdf).
An xls file of this data.
! Walmart didn't have the 20 lb bag of Pedigree -- but it did have the 40lb bag. The price listed here is half the 40lb bag price, which might give Walmart's price an unfair advantage.
!! The 100 fl oz containers of Tide laundry detergent now wash twice as many loads because the detergent has been concentrated. P&G made the switch for environmental reasons (reduced packaging). The price listed for this year is half the cost of the 2x concentrated bottle.
!!! None of the stores had the 13 oz bag we priced last year -- they were all carrying 11 oz bags this time around.
!!!! Last year we priced the 17 oz jar of Prego, but that wasn't available this year. So we priced the 25 oz jar.
!!!!! Last year's price check for a 54 count box of trash bags -- we could only find 45 count boxes this year. We're not sure if last year's "54 count" was a typo or if the manufacturer has cut the number of bags in a box.
A few thoughts and observations:
+ Walmart came out ahead again, but it also raised its prices the most.
+ The spread between the three stores has narrowed. Last year it was $19.36 -- this year it was $15.56 (about 20 percent smaller).
+ The price of milk at all three stores was down an average of almost 32 percent this year. That tracks will falling wholesale milk prices that have recently been squeezing dairy farmers.
+ The price of all 40 items was up 6 percent at Price Chopper, 8 percent at Hannaford and 10 percent at Walmart. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer food prices were up 5.5 percent last year nationwide.
+ If this basket of items is roughly representative of a typical weekly shopping trip (it may be a little bigger than usual and a little heavy on items such as laundry detergent), then shopping at Walmart would save you $809.12 over shopping at Price Chopper and $530.92 over Hannaford during the course of a year.
The Bottom Line
Walmart came out on top again this year -- but it was a lot closer than last time.
We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.