Can shoppers really save by skipping grocery stores in favor of warehouse clubs? Cheapism has compiled a list of 50 staple products and compared prices per ounce at Costco, the largest wholesale club operator, and Kroger, one of the nation's largest grocery chains.
The results aren't surprising: Costco wins overall, with prices up to 63 percent cheaper on 43 of the 50 items. That's a better showing than in 2016, when Costco prevailed on 38 items. Shopping at Kroger, even with sales and loyalty-card discounts, netted savings on just seven items this year. At Costco, shoppers could save more than 40 percent on a dozen items; at Kroger, savings were much more modest.
That doesn't mean consumers should ditch grocery stores entirely. Buying in bulk saves only if the extra food doesn't go bad before it can be used. Also, selection is more limited at warehouse clubs; brand-conscious buyers won't find as many favorites on the shelves. And don't forget the membership fee: $60 a year at Costco, $55 at BJ's Wholesale Club, and $45 at Sam's Club. Still, with strategic shopping, a Costco membership can pay off big when it comes to groceries – here's where.