Grocery Tour Price Comparison: The Results

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Several weeks ago I visited 5 Utah stores in 2 days, comparing everything from prices to service. I visited Winegars, Dick's Market, Smith's, Walmart and Target. Go here to see my reviews of those stores.

I checked prices for 22 common items that included a gallon of milk, a dozen large eggs, seasonal fruit, frozen orange juice, diapers, flour, sugar and more. I picked items that are commonly on my grocery list, as well as items that often have coupons available. I took the current prices on that item at that time, sales or not.

Earlier this week I posted a poll on the sidebar with this question:

Which of these 5 Utah stores had the
LOWEST overall prices on the 20+ items I surveyed?

Here are the results for the reader's poll:

At the time I posted the poll, I hadn't done the calculations yet. Prior to calculating the results, I made my guess. I remember while I was visiting each store, I was most surprised by the low prices at Target. I figured Walmart would be the lowest, but I knew at that point, if Target wasn't less expensive, they would be very close. I was right!

However, what I wasn't expecting was that
Smith's would be less expensive than them both!

Yes, you read that correctly, Smith's came in with the lowest prices, beating Walmart by 2.34%, Target by 3.40%, Dick's by 4.17% and Winegars by 10.87%.

Here are the store totals for all 22 items:

Here are all of the prices for each item:
An interesting point is looking at the stores that had the lowest price for each individual product and the highest price for each individual product.
Smith's had the lowest price on 7 out of 22 products, as did Walmart.
Target had the lowest price on 6 out of 22 products.
Dick's and Winegars both had the lowest prices on 4 out of 22 products each.
Smith's had the highest prices on 4 out of 22 products.
While both Walmart and Target had the highest prices on only 2 out of 22 products each.
Dick's had the highest prices on 5 out of 22 products.
Winegars had the highest prices on a whopping 11 out of 22 products. Half.

Dick's had the lowest average price for fresh & frozen meat.
Target had the lowest average prices on produce and other perishables.

Overall, I was pleased that I'd taken the time to survey each of the stores. Here are a few conclusions that I drew:
  • Even though Smith's is somewhat inconsistent, they still managed to have the lowest overall prices than any of the other 4 stores. I will probably start shopping there more often.
  • Like the big box stores? Don't worry, as expected both Walmart and Target have consistently low prices. Even though they didn't come in #1, they came in a close 2nd and 3rd and I still consider them great places to shop.
  • Winegar's shoppers, forget shopping sales or using coupons, you can simply save 10% on your grocery bill by switching to Smith's!

Disclaimer: Obviously this wasn't a professionally done survey. I'm sure there are flaws in my methodology. This isn't meant to be a professional analysis of each store's pricing, rather a snap shot of prices of common items at one point in time. While the analysis isn't professionally done, I still think the information is interesting and useful, so I posted it!

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7 thoughts on “Grocery Tour Price Comparison: The Results

  1. leslie the licorice stick lady says:

    I have to say that when you gave your review of Smith's this last week, I was shocked with your grade! I wish all Smith's stores, or rather managers were alike. Where I live Smith's is my favorite store. It and Walmart and an Associated food store are the only stores in town. Albertson's and Maceys are in a totally different city. I did have my skepticisms about Smiths before moving here. but the prices and friendliness of the employees have given it a new light. The managers are very consistent and I have their system down pat.

  2. Julie says:

    I think you did a great job and that is some very useful information!

    Our Target isn't a supercenter down here so I do most of my shopping at Albertson's (I'm in St. George). However, I will have to watch the Smith's sales more closely.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I'm really not surprised. I voted for Smith's! I definitely prefer to shop at Smith's vs. Walmart. They are the closest stores to my home. While I really like Target, the closest store is 30 miles away. So, yeah…Smith's it is.

  4. xela says:

    Thanks so much for taking the time to do this! The results were very interesting and informative. I'll probably still continue to do the majority of my shopping at Wal-Mart because they are so great about price matching and do have great overall prices, however I think I'll also start shopping at Smiths more!

  5. Anonymous says:

    What about Albertsons? Whenever I go there I feel like their prices are outrageously exorbitant, yet you seem to shop there quite a bit. Am I wrong?

  6. Utah Deal Diva says:

    Anon- I didn't include Albertson's simply because it's leaving in a few weeks! I bet their prices would have been worse than Winegars though! Their normal prices are SO inflated. The only reason I shop there is because of the sales + promos!

  7. The Prudent Homemaker says:

    I'm not surprised. I voted for Smith's here. Consistiently, they are the cheapest. PLUS, I shop their loss leaders and sales. Eggs go on sale here for .99 or $1.00 a down. Sour Cream goes on sale for $1 a pound. I bought boneless skinless chicken breasts on sale for $1.39 a pound at Smith's during the caselot sale (miminimum of 40 lbs). I bought apples for .50 a pound and I am canning them.

    Smith's has frozen orange juice on sale a lot, and they just sent me a coupon for .45 off any 2 Kroger frozen juices.

    I get canned corn for .50 on case-lot sale from Smith's.

    I also buy boneless chuck roast on sale at Smith's for $1.89 a pound.

    They also have potatoes on sale for .20 a pound on a regular basis, and around Thanksgiving, they go down to .10 a pound.

    Tomorrow's ad for Las Vegas has boneless pork loin for $1.29 a pound!
    Eggs are on sale again for .99 a dozen, and apples are .69 a pound.

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