A Comparison - How Much Do Your Groceries Cost?

On my lunch break the other day, I was cruising the local news websites and came across an interesting report. CTV Calgary issues a grocery price comparison report each month!
I was fascinated to read it because my brother and I recently had a conversation about how much groceries cost. He shops primarily at Co-op and the farmer's market. I think that he's pretty aware about the costs of things and believed it when he told me Co-op was one of the cheaper grocery stores in town.
Well, that's simply not true - based on CTV Calgary's report.
The premise:
The comparison is done by a home economist as part of an ongoing series on price checks. Once a month, CTV creates a grocery list (which seems to average about 40 items) and compares prices at major Calgary stores. If a store has a particular coupon or sale, that is included in the calculation of the prices.
For an example of the report, the monthly article is here.
I went through each article from January, 2009 through to August, 2009 and created an excel spreadsheet of the results.

Superstore was the least expensive, which is acutally not that suprising. The average discrepency between the most and least expensive stores was $51.78. Over the course of the year, that could wind up costing you over $600! Wow!
Now, Superstore is very overwhelming and it has been mentioned by my brother and Lindsay that they choose not to go to Superstore (knowing it's usually cheaper) because you usually wind up spending/buying more items then you had intended. I beleive that could be said about any store if you don't have a list, but i certainly agree that it is a huge store and very overwhelming at times.
Now for kicks, here is that same information presented in a fancy bar graph:

So, thanks CTV for doing a price shopping comparison for me! Now I don't have to. I'm definatly going to try sticking to Superstore, and if, not Safeway it is!
When I started reading I thought that Safeway would be the most expensive. Did any of this suprise you?
I will be credit card debt free in 8 days!


  1. Are any 2 of these stores close together? I would cherry pick their sales fliers for my list. Most fliers are online now, too. And you could ask the stores if they "price match" competitors fliers. I learned accidentally the Qverwaitea does, so if I don't feel like going to 2 stoes, I bring the Sobey's flier with me, and get my deals.

  2. Those are some great graphs. I know I definitely have to watch. Even a 4L milk is over $1 more at Sobeys or Co-op than at Walmart.

  3. That's great that you found this out. I wonder if they do one for Toronto?

    Me and bf will usually pick up the staples at the cheapie grocery store (bread, milk, eggs, etc) but buy produce and meat at the more expensive store. We found that the quality of the meat and produce made up for the additional price. I don't know if that would be true out in Calgary or not.

    I agree with your mom too about shopping flyers. We get online flyers and go to two or three stores *by public transportation, no extra gas or environmental strain* to pick up deals as well.

    Thanks for the tip! Jamie

  4. Well, for me, I'm willing to pay a *little* bit more for groceries that I know are locally and fairly grown. So I pick up all of my produce and eggs at the Farmer's Market. It is in some cases cheaper, in all cases better, and our Farmer's market only allows produce that is grown in our county - so I know there is very minimal transportation cost involved in getting the food to me. This is me *trying* to do my part for the earth and supporting the local economy at the same time.

    However, for everything else (meat, canned goods, ect) I shop the fliers. Before I go to the store I access the grocery store fliers online to see which stores have the best deals I what I want (usually chicken, chili and rice). Then I go there. However, with chicken, if there is a great deal I'll usually stock up. For instance, I spent $25 of chicken last week - but managed to SAVE $30 off of the normal price. I ended up with about 25lbs of chicken. It was pretty damn sweet. =)

  5. I know I waste money by shopping at a nicer store in a nicer area, but I just can't drag myself to the icky Food 4 Less. The prices are cheaper, but the place smells bad and is depressing. Price is important, but it's not everything.

  6. I like to pay more per unit if the size is smaller. In US: Costsco and Sam's are quite cheap, but they sell in bulk, so per unit may be lesser, but you end up paying more overall.

  7. Very interesting...This seems to confirm the trend I noticed during the 8 years I lived in Calgary. I generally shopped at the Safeway in Kensington b/c it was about a 2 min walk from my apartment. The savings in gas alone usually negated what I would gain in savings at another grocery store. Then usually once a month, I'd end up in the Northeast for something else and would stop at Superstore to pick up those pantry staples at a cheaper price and the PC brand stuff that I enjoyed.

    Later I moved to Renfrew (which severely lacks a grocery store within reasonable walking distance), I tried the Co-op and found it was way more expensive for pretty much everything in the store.

    I'd be interested to know if CTV includes the patronage cheque Co-op members get at the end of the year as part of the savings and if it makes shopping there worth it??? It seems unlikely considering the huge gap between them and Superstore.

  8. I'll add that last time Nelson went to Superstore (I was at work) they had moved everything around AGAIN and he could not find milk or yogurt at all, and of course we ended up with a bunch of other things.

    I think what I like about Co-Op is it is just so damn boring that we only tend to buy what we need. I know that sounds weird, but it's true.

  9. This surprised me because usually Safeway is more expensive in my area and Walmart is the cheapest to shop. I know some people have a thing against Walmart, but they are just cheaper for me. Fresh N Easy and Trader Joes actually have some good deals in my area as well.


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