Grocery Cart Compare: Whole Foods v. Giant Eagle, week 4

This was the fourth and final week of comparing my Whole Foods grocery cart to Giant Eagle. I wasn’t able to get to the store to compare, so I used the special online service that Giant Eagle has called Curbside Express. You make a shopping list online, selecting specific items, and then you can pull up to the curb and pick up your groceries, all packed and ready to go, for a small fee. I checked, and the prices online are the same as in the store, including sales. (They make money off of Curbside Express by the fee for the service, not the prices of the items.) 

This is a great way to check prices on groceries without having to leave your house. (This only works for the Market District stores that offer this service, and their selection of items is much larger than a regular store.) I left off the items that I’ve price checked previously, so the list was rather small this week. 

Item Whole Foods Giant Eagle
Organic Valley Neufchatel 2.69 3.39
Frozen Sea Bass/Barramundi (12 oz) 11.99 *25.99/lb *fresh only, Chilean
Grow Pittsburgh Coffee 13.99 *10.99 *organic, non fair trade
Organic russet potatoes (5 lb) 4.29 *3.99 *3 lb
Organic savoy cabbage 1.69/lb *1.49/lb *conventional only
Organic green cabbage .99/lb .66/lb
Organic red onion 1.99/lb 1.79/lb
Organic mango 2.50 *1.50 *conventional only
Kettle brand baked chips 3.49 3.59

I was really surprised to find a couple produce items that were cheaper at Giant Eagle. Cabbage was on sale at both locations though, because of St. Patrick’s Day. 

For the sea bass, I called it a draw, since fresh fish is almost always more expensive than frozen, and that’s what Giant Eagle offered. Plus, I was unable to determine exactly where and how the fish was sourced to see if it was Seafood Watch approved.

The coffee that we drink is whole bean and is roasted by a local espresso place called La Prima. It’s fair trade and organic, and $1 from each bag goes to Grow Pittsburgh, an urban agriculture non-profit in our area that we support. The coffee is amazing and we have a hard time straying from that particular roast, though a bag does last us for quite a long time. Having a Keurig and filling our own pods with grounds really saves a ton of money, because we don’t make a giant pot of coffee that might end up being poured down the drain. Also, I’ve had people make comments to me in the past about how it’s ridiculous to pay $14 for a pound of coffee, but when you buy Keurig pods, you are paying about $50/lb for lower quality coffee. If you are buying Keurig Folgers pods, you’re paying 3 times what I pay for premium coffee.   

Price checking has been an interesting experiment. Doing it over a period of 4 weeks covers most of the things we buy at a store during a given month, though these lists would be very different in the spring/summer/fall when we source most of our produce from our CSA and from our local farmers markets (when it doesn’t come from our own backyard). It’s confirmed for me that for the size of our family and what we eat, Whole Foods is the right place to shop. 

We are, however, starting to buy a few more grocery items at Costco than we were previously, so I will price compare there at some point as well.