Grocery Shopping Showdown
Can shoppers really save by skipping grocery stores in favor of warehouse clubs? Cheapism 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.
Costco won big, with prices up to 70% cheaper on 43 of the 50 items. Shopping at Kroger, even with loyalty-card discounts, netted savings on just four items (there were three ties). On 10 items, the savings at Costco exceeded 40%; at Kroger, the savings were much more modest.
That doesn't mean consumers should ditch conventional grocery stores entirely. Buying in bulk saves only if the extra food doesn't go to waste. 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.