Grocery Store Price Comparison

Once a month, CTV Calgary creates a shopping list to compare grocery store prices at major Calgary grocery stores.  The chains that are used in this ongoing study include Superstore, Safeway, Sobeys, and Co-op.  All coupons and membership programs are included, however some chains vary their prices from store to store.

What I found interesting when comparing grocery store prices was that Superstore consistently came in as the best value for a basket of goods, typically by 20-25 percent over the most expensive grocery store each and every month.

Since my favorite rewards credit card is the PC MasterCard, I find this news exciting and will try and shop at Superstore a little more regularly than I do now to take advantage of the PC Points and cheaper overall grocery store prices.

I typically go shopping at Costco for meat, cleaning supplies, and other food staples, Safeway for mostly fresh foods, as Safeway is right across the street from our house, and Superstore for baby supplies and non-perishables.  I do find Safeway to be expensive, so I try to go there on 15% off customer appreciation day on the 1st Tuesday of the month, and try to pick up other items only when they’re on sale.

Compare Grocery Store Prices to Costco

I’d be curious to see how the prices at Costco stack up to the competition, but I’m sure you wouldn’t be comparing apples-to-apples due to the sheer size of most items at Costco.  Typically you should save money by purchasing in bulk, so long as you’re not wasting food by not being able to finish it before it goes bad.  However for toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, and other cleaning supplies and household items, I’m sure that Costco comes out ahead in price per unit comparisons.

For those of you who are interested to compare grocery store prices here is the article from CTV Calgary’s August report.

Does this study hold true in other parts of the country?  Do you shop at one grocery store, or shop around to find the best prices?

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  1. Steve Zussino on October 18, 2010 at 8:20 am

    I still think the best strategy is to shop at all sorts of stores – big box and mom and pop stores.

    I do not have a Costco membership – it encourages increased spending.

    • Echo on October 18, 2010 at 9:40 am

      Hi Steve, I tend to agree…however for Superstore to come out considerably ahead in prices every month for 12 consecutive months tells me that you can’t go wrong doing the majority of your shopping there.

  2. A.Rajah on October 18, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I usually shop at Superstore but some weeks I go to a different store if the other store has lot items that I need on sale. I found Walmart Super Centre and No Frills are cheaper than Superstore. But Superstore is one stop for all my needs for the week.
    I buy paper towels; toilet paper and cleaning supplies during sale (Superstores or other stores) and the prices are less than Costco prices. I usually keep 6 months supply of toilet paper, paper towel and cleaning supplies etc.

    • Echo on October 18, 2010 at 9:36 pm

      I think I’ll try Superstore as my one-stop shop, however I have a hard time buying meat from Superstore and Wal-Mart…it doesn’t look right most of the time. I’ll stick to Costco and Safeway for that.

      I’ll have to re-evaluate my Costco purchases for other items, like you said you can probably find cheaper cleaning supplies & toilet paper elsewhere when there’s a sale.

      • Les on January 19, 2011 at 8:26 pm

        If you live close to one, try Winco for good meats

  3. Mike on October 18, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    I find Superstore is definetely the least expensive, however I believe there are other costs involved.

    1) It is a very busy store during peak periods. Unless you are prepared to go early in the morning, during the work day or late at night you should be prepared to wait in line for a significant amount of time. I don’t think that overstaffing is a priority for Superstore.

    2) Our Superstore in Coventry Hills is always very hot. I have come to the conclusion that management is trying to get the massive crowds out of the store by raising the temperature 10 degrees above normal.

    3) Unless prepared to go early in the morning – forget about fresh produce.

    With all of this said … I still go back because the prices are so low.

    • Echo on October 18, 2010 at 9:31 pm

      Hi Mike, I have heard the complaints about over-crowded Superstores in Calgary (actually witnessed it first-hand in N.E.). Didn’t notice the heat though, maybe that’s due to all of the people? 🙂

  4. Boomer on October 19, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I also do my main shopping at Superstore. I buy one months worth of staples using the $30 coupon or – lately- getting the $25 gift card. It’s not hard for me to purchase $250 worth when I add household items and pet supplies. Their store brands that I have tried are similar, if not identical to, name brands. However, I buy a lot of my meat and produce elsewhere if I can as I find the quality is not too great at times. One thing I have found out is that the ethnic aisle has many items-such as rice, spices, canned goods-at up to 30-50% cheaper than the regular aisles, even the no-name products. Only, now that I have revealed this “secret” the prices will probably increase.

  5. jack-of-all-trades on October 7, 2011 at 4:33 am

    I never liked superstore … until it got renovated in my city here. Once I learned about the points on the superstore mastercard and the superbucks for prescriptions at the pharmacy, I switched pharmacies, and applied for a mastercard so instead of putting my budgeted amount of groceries on my debit I can put it on the card instead and when I get bills pay the budgeted amount for bills. (I didn’t apply for a bank account because I like my bank)

    It is also closer to where I live. As I do not drive the superbucks for gas doesn’t apply 🙂 . With living costs going up so much and being low income, I find that I am really starting to love shopping at superstore. A lot of their reward programs are so geared and so beneficial to people who are low income and living on or below the poverty line. Saving $2.00 on food with superbucks or saving $30 once you have enough points might not sound like a lot but it is.

    And even if you prescriptions are pretty much covered you still get a little bit of superbucks towards your groceries.

  6. Gerard on November 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    What struck me when I saw the actual price list is that Superstore came out ahead because of five or six items that were much cheaper there, presumably because they were on sale that week. Everything else was almost identical across the stores. The moral of the story for me wasn’t “always shop as Superstore,” but “buy what’s on sale, and plan your menus around that.”

  7. Fran on December 21, 2011 at 9:15 am

    I shop at a variety of places, including Superstore. But I go wider, too. Canadian Tire, for example, has great sale prices on household items like toilet paper and cleaning supplies. And who doesn’t enjoy a trip down the aisles of the great CT?

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