We have no control over the weather, but we can choose where to shop for our groceries.
If low prices were the only criteria that dictated where to go, Colorado Springs residents would shop at Safeway. A recent Colorado Springs Business Journal survey of grocery prices for typical items showed Safeway as having the lowest.
During the survey, the cost of a number of staple foods was surveyed. CSBJ recorded the prices for eggs, milk, ground beef and bread, as well as bananas, cabbage, green bell peppers, avocados, Russet potatoes and vanilla ice cream.
In the event of a sale, the lower sales price was used. When there was more than one brand of the item, the store brand was used. The goal was to compare similar items.
The survey identified prices from all the local stores on the same afternoon of Feb. 20.
The stores chosen included King Soopers on West Uintah Street, Wal-Mart on Eighth Street, Albertsons on Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard, Costco on North Nevada Avenue, Safeway and Whole Foods Market on North Academy Boulevard and Sprouts on Dublin Boulevard.
On a different date, the Business Journal surveyed prices from the recently opened Trader Joe’s in Greenwood Village, a south Denver suburb.
The survey showed shoppers would pay $16.41 to buy the list of items from Safeway. At the top end of the scale was Whole Foods Market, at $29.94 followed by Trader Joe’s at $22.82. Close behind Safeway was Albertsons, at $16.90. King Soopers came in third-lowest at $17.01.
Wal-Mart followed at $17.59. The Wal-Mart store surveyed was not a neighborhood market; instead, it was one of the big-box stores.
Because Costco sells its grocery items in bulk, the survey prices for the items there were compared similarly with those from the mainstream grocery stores. For example, Russet potatoes sold there at $7.99 for 20 pounds, or 40 cents per pound. This compares with 69 cents a pound at Albertsons and 99 cents a pound at King Soopers and Safeway.
Also, Costco sells eggs in bulk in sections of 18 eggs for $3.99. As a dozen, the price would be $2.66.
The Costco store on North Nevada Avenue in Colorado Springs did not sell cabbage, so that price is missing from the store’s total of $16.20.
Corporate brands help people save money, said Safeway Director of Public Affairs Kris Staaf.
“These private label corporate brands where the quality is exceptional and the packaging is really well done offer tremendous value for the customers,” Staaf said.
Safeway corporate brands include Rancher’s Reserve and Lucerne, while King Soopers’ corporate brands carry the Kroger logo.
The public affairs department at Whole Foods Market was unavailable to comment.
Trader Joe’s Market has opened five stores in Colorado, four in the Denver area, one in Boulder, none in Colorado Springs.
Locating a Trader Joe’s in Colorado Springs is not in the company’s two-year expansion plan, said a company representative in an email from the company’s headquarters in California.
When asked for more detail, Alison Mochizuki, Trader Joe’s public affairs director, said, “We don’t disclose what goes into the decision-making processes of selecting a location, so at this time, I don’t have an additional comment.”
Shop near home
Most shoppers contacted for this story said they base their decisions on where to shop not on price primarily, but on location. Safeway shopper Gloria Cellan said she enjoys shopping at the smaller store, and her father retired from Safeway.
Cellan said she would buy different items from different stores, but shops at the Wahsatch Avenue Safeway because it’s close to home and “I don’t use as much gas.”
“Prices here are typically more,” than King Soopers, said Laurie Harfert, who was shopping Safeway. She shops Ranch Foods Direct for her free-range meats.
“Nowhere seems cheap anymore,” Hargert said.
“Price doesn’t matter,” said Arve Erickson, shopping at King Soopers on Uintah Street. He shops there because it’s four blocks from his home. “I don’t want to go driving all over town trying to find a bargain.
“The price of beef here is frightening at times, compared with Safeway,” Erickson added.
Ben Davila shops at King Soopers on Uintah because it’s close and convenient.
“The prices are all right and the people are all right,” Davila said. “Everything is so scattered, I would have to drive all over to get the best prices.”