In these tough economic times, a nice day at the grocery story means saving money. Saving money without sacrificing quality means you need to know where to shop.
Jack Crittenden is the editor-in-chief of the new magazine and website "Our City: San Diego". In it, staff profiled 20 local grocery stores and priced 40 items in produce, meat, poultry and pantry staples. All were evaluated on price, quality, service and store appearance.
"I was very shocked actually at the differences from some of the lowest priced places to the highest priced. In some cases you're paying twice as much money for the same food," Crittenden said.
The Food and Drug Administration estimates the average family of four spends $220 a week on groceries. Using those figures, the study found Food 4 Less offers the lowest price in San Diego, with a weekly bill of $167. Henry's Farmers Market fell in the middle of the pack with an overall bill of $205 with a comparable bag of items.
"We're glad to hear it and it just confirmed that we're still in line with good value, good products and good pricing," Janet Little of Henry's Farmers Market said.
Smart and Final ranked slightly better, with an average price of $170, while Stater Brothers came in at $190. Albertson's was on the higher end of the tier at $231, as was Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. But it was Bristol Farms with the highest prices, at $340.
Henry's officials say it's proof that higher prices don't necessarily mean the best value.
"Eating healthy doesn't have to cost a lot of money," Little said.
None of the items included in the study were specialty items like coffee, cheeses, fish or alcohol.