March 9, 2008

Kroger vs. Wal-Mart

I recently conducted an experiment to see if Kroger or WalMart was cheaper. I shopped my grocery list at one store, and then went to the other store and recorded that store's price for the same items (I already had to go to that store for some things; it wouldn't be very frugal just to go there to check prices). I purchased the following items:

  • Juicy Juice 64 oz

  • Generic Non-fat dry milk, 20 qt box

  • Vitamin D whole milk, 1 gallon

  • generic hot dog buns, 8 count

  • Oscar Mayer light beef franks, 10 count

  • generic small can black olives

  • generic small jar green olives, with pimentos

  • Kraft fat-free Caesar Italian dressing

  • Ready Express hearts of romaine salad

  • grape tomatoes, 10 oz

  • red delicious apples

  • granny smith apples

  • Cracker Barrel 2% extra sharp cheese, 10 oz

  • JIF reduced fat PB, 40 oz

  • generic spaghetti sauce, 26.5 oz can

  • 1 dozen large eggs

  • generic yogurt, 6 oz cups;

  • Butterball turkey bacon

  • Oscar Mayer light beef bologna

  • Bounty paper towels, 8-pack (for baby wipes)

  • generic gallon-size ziploc bags

  • generic Ritz reduced-fat crackers

  • generic Nilla Wafers, reduced fat

*It should be noted that I used name-brand prices at WalMart for the spaghetti sauce, Ritz crackers, and Nilla Wafer, as WalMart does not have generic versions of these items.

So – which one was cheaper? WalMart, by a whopping $2.05. Now, I know what you're saying - $2.05 isn't very much, but if every shopping trip saved that much, I could save over $100 a year if I shopped once a week. But I don't know if that is a good enough for me to do my grocery shopping at WalMart. For starters, Kroger is less than a mile from my house. WalMart is at least 3 miles, and I have to go through some serious traffic to get there. Kroger is always clean and had 5 registers open when I went, plus the self check-outs. WalMart is typically dirty and had 2 registers open, with the self-checkouts closed. I should point out that I was at WalMart during the weekend, early evening. WalMart has noticeably inferior produce and meat. I would never buy my produce and meat from WalMart, unless it was pre-packaged from a non-WalMart company. Every time I've bought WalMart meat, I've found it to be very fatty. I don't think I actually save money once I trim the fat off. Kroger meat is usually lean, and I rarely get bad produce from there. All in all, I think I'm staying with Kroger, unless I already have to go to WalMart for something. I'm not anti-WalMart, but WalMart gives lower prices at the expense of quality and customer service. To me, it's not a fair trade.


  1. Very good experiment, Heather and great analysis.

    I think you're conclusions are well-founded. We also would have chosen Kroger. For us, the distane isn't even an issue. It takes about the same time to get to either Walmart or Kroger in Perry. But the other reasons you mentioned (low quality products, poor customer service) are a big reason why we choose Kroger over walmart.

    Great post!

  2. I agree with the quality and the customer service. I avoid Wal-Mart at all cost, even if I know they will be cheaper unless I just can't find it anywhere else. They aren't that much cheaper than Kroger or Target. I buy all food from Kroger and all other items from Target.

    But for us, the $2.05 is easily made up at Kroger if you also get your fuel from them. I have noticed over the years that the Kroger fuel station is usually a few cent cheaper than all the others in town, then add the 3 cent per gallon with your plus card. If you have $100 on your purchases for the month, you get 10 cent. With an SUV this adds up quick on savings on gas. Wal-Mart has a Murphy's fuel station, but you only get 3 cent and I still haven't figured out how to get that without a gift card.

  3. I have often wanted to do a price comparison between Kroger and Walmart, so I am very glad that you did it for me! I have noticed that while Walmart is cheaper on certain items, they also have fewer generic brands and items never go on "sale".

    As a busy mother, who often shops with her children, I am so thankful for Kroger's customer service. The employees always unload my overflowing grocery cart, re-load it, and put the groceries in the van. This is so helpful when I have my hands full of one, two, or even three small and sometimes fussy children. Also, if I need help finding specific items, the Kroger employees will go out of their way to help me.

    Walmart employees always look at me with a look that says, "I know my vest says I work here, but I honestly don't know anything about the products. It wouldn't help for me to ask anyone else, because they don't know anything either!"

    Melissa - I sure wish our Kroger in Perry had a gas station :( I know it would save us so much money on gas. (The Walmart in Perry doesn't have a gas station either).

  4. Great post! I'm not anti-WalMart, either, but very pro-Kroger. :)

  5. I recently conducted a price comparison also. I found that my purchases (exact items) were 18.7% less expensive at Walmart. Walmart is much closer to my house than Kroger so there is a benefit to shop at Walmart. My Walmart is a superstore and has a gas station as well. I agree that Kroger is more upscale than WM, but not 18.7% worth when you're living on a budget.

  6. Aldi'S prices beat them all. Meijer's is lower than most too.

  7. Yeah, I've heard a lot about Aldi's and Meijer's, but we don't have them here :(

  8. Did you figure in coupons that are doubled at kroger?

  9. When I conducted the experiment, I went by the regular prices. I did not factor in sale prices or special deals using coupons.

  10. The thing that tips the balance toward Walmart for me is the blasted Kroger loyalty card. For us it is Dillons, which is now Kroger. I wish Dillons (Kroger) would abandon those. Besides that, I almost never find anything in Dillons, even with that loyalty card, that is cheaper than I can get it at Walmart.

  11. I'm glad you did this little "experiment"! I bet you didn't know you'd be helping a poor college kid out :-)


  12. Walmart here in colorado is nasty fruit flys are more abundant than the produce. King soopers ( kroger) store is much better quality and in 99 pct of the time is much cheaper we have walmarts all over. Like a 7 11 store on almost every street corner. The only thing i wished king soopers would have is more stores throughout the city. There isn't one by my house i usually shop after work on the way home.

  13. they both have benefits and drawbacks. But someone else said it best to not get "fresh" food at walmart, but air filters/ tiki torch fuel, toiletries, dog food(name brand), even thier spray-paint(name brand) was cheaper than Lowes.

    to be a smart shopper is to know what you need and where to get it at the best price without sacrificing gas, time, and stress,....which to me, all equate to a price. If you pay $2 more but its right down the street, its worth it to spend 30 more minutes with your family!

  14. Walmart is more of a hassle to shop, but is cheaper by 25 to 50 cents on most items I buy. One item is 2.00 cheaper! Costco beats both, but has large quantities. Kroger is bad about not having stock on sale items, and not having enough register help.

  15. Publix is probably the cleanest and nicest physical store, but you pay for it. Prices are out of site on most things. They have started a lot of bogos but Walmart will beat them even with the bogo. If you only buy coupon items on sale at Kroger, you can almost get them free! Costco is the cheapest by far, but large quantities are the norm. Don't go ape in Cosco and buy enough stuff for an army and you will be ok.

  16. Wal-mart tops everyone for laundry detergents and dog food, but I never shop there for my weekly groceries. Kroger is a much better value - better products and lower prices with the Plus card, which I keep on my keychain. Especially when they have those multi-buy and 10 for $10 specials; I save quite a bit more, actually, and without the long lines and 'typical' Wal-mart customers to deal with, hehe. Kroger wins for me, hands down.

  17. For me Walmart will save you more money when buying your paper goods, shampoos, cosmetics, dog food and general basic foods however I will not buy my produce or meat from Walmart. They purchase 2nd grade produce and lower quality meats and you can tell from the taste. Even though I hate doing it I buy in bulk my meat from Kroger's when it's on sale and load the freezer. Most everything else is bought at Walmart. I did a basic comparison on my shopping list which included everything from frozen goods, canned & dry goods, meat, produce and household cleaning items and saved much more at Walmart. Your list was too short and did not cover a average household's weekly list.


Thank you so much for caring enough to leave a comment! I typically don't respond to each separate comment here on my blog. If you would like to ask me a question and have my reply, please feel free to e-mail me at