Deal or no deal? Who has the cheapest groceries for your Thanksgiving Day feast

Deal or no deal? Who has the cheapest groceries for your Thanksgiving Day feast

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by Kelsey Jacobson

KTVB.COM

Posted on November 23, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 23 at 6:21 PM

BOISE -- Thanksgiving Day is fast approaching!  You only have a few days left to get your shopping done. 

We all know that preparing a Thanksgiving feast is not cheap.  However, depending on where you shop, you might be digging a little bit deeper into your pocketbook.  So, we decided to see which stores had the best prices for the typical Thanksgiving Day meal.

Digital Content Manager Lisa Chavez and I went to four major supermarkets in Boise to do some major shopping.  We wanted to see who has the best deals when it comes to the Turkey Day basics.  We bought the cheapest of each product, regardless of the brand name.

We conducted our shopping spree at four stores: Albertsons, Fred Meyer, WinCo and Walmart.

Are you ready?  Let's talk turkey!  Or... turkey prices.

(Please note: Asterisks (*) reflect deals the stores have, that we did not mention in the bottom line price.  Details on the deals can be found following the article.)

Turkey: 16 - 18 lbs
Albertsons - $1.39 per pound*
Fred Meyer - $1.69 per pound*
WinCo - $1.18 per pound*
Walmart - $0.98 per pound*

Shopping for a turkey takes some strategy!  If you think you are going to be spending at least $50 at the store, double-check the deals where you are headed.  At three of the four stores we shopped at, bigger spenders are able to get a better deal on their turkey. 

At Albertsons, if you spend an additional $50 (does not include your turkey), you can get your turkey for $0.47 per pound rather than $1.39 per pound.  An additional $3 off coupon can be found in the store's flyer, which can be picked up at the entrance of all Albertsons' stores.

At Fred Meyer, if you spend $50 (which includes your turkey), you can get your bird for $0.69 per pound.  We ended up saving $18.41 on our turkey alone because we ended up spending more than $50.00 at Fred Meyer.

At WinCo, if you spend at least $50.00, you can get a turkey for $0.46 per pound rather than $1.18 per pound.  If you are buying a Butterball turkey and you spend more than $50 in your shopping trip, the Butterball brand price gets knocked down to $0.78 per pound.

Best price without a special deal: Walmart, $0.98 per pound

Potatoes: 5 lb bag
Albertsons - $1.49
Fred Meyer - $1.99
WinCo - $1.58
Walmart - $1.77

Best deal: Albertsons, $1.49

Onion: 1 count
Albertsons - $0.99 per pound
Fred Meyer - $0.59 per pound
WinCo - $0.53 each
Walmart - $0.63 per pound

Best deal: Fred Meyer, $0.59 per pound

Rolls: One dozen
Albertsons - $1.99
Fred Meyer - $1.50
WinCo - $1.38
Walmart - $1.98

Best deal: WinCo, $1.38

Pumpkin pie: 1 count frozen
Albertsons - $8.49*
Fred Meyer - $3.99
WinCo - $2.99
Walmart - $2.98

Best deal: Walmart, $2.98

Whipped topping: 8 ounces
Albertsons - $1.79*
Fred Meyer - $0.89
WinCo - $0.74
Walmart - $0.74

Best deal: We have a tie for cheapest whipped topping.  WinCo and Walmart both rang up at $0.74 for an 8 oz. container.

Milk: gallon, 2%
Albertsons - $2.49
Fred Meyer - $2.39
WinCo - $2.39
Walmart - $2.39

Best deal: There is a three-way tie for cheapest milk.  The tie is between Fred Meyer, WinCo and Walmart.  However, Albertsons is only 10 cents more.

Butter: 4 sticks
Albertsons - $2.50
Fred Meyer - $2.50
WinCo - $1.99
Walmart - $2.50

Best deal: WinCo, $1.99

Stuffing: 1 box
Albertsons - $0.97
Fred Meyer - $1.25
WinCo - $1.00
Walmart - $1.00

Best deal: Albertsons, $0.97

Gravy mix:
Albertsons - $1.25
Fred Meyer - $0.65
WinCo - $0.28
Walmart - $1.08

Best deal: WinCo, $0.28

Green beans: 14.5 ounces
Albertsons - $1.00
Fred Meyer - $0.60
WinCo - $0.60
Walmart - $0.62

Best deal: Fred Meyer and WinCo tie for the title of "cheapest green beans" with one can ringing up to be $0.62.

Cream of Mushroom soup: 1 can
Albertsons - $0.67
Fred Meyer - $0.59
WinCo - $0.58
Walmart - $0.58

Best deal: We have another tie!  WinCo and Walmart both came in at $0.58 for one can of cream of mushroom soup.

Cranberry sauce: 1 can
Albertsons - $0.97
Fred Meyer - $1.00
WinCo - $1.15
Walmart - $1.16

Best deal: Albertsons, $0.97

Fried onions:
Albertsons - $2.79
Fred Meyer - $2.50
WinCo - $2.74
Walmart - $2.00

Best deal: Walmart, $2.00

Apple cider: 2 quarts
Albertsons - $2.79 ($0.087 per ounce)
Fred Meyer - $3.28 ($0.102 per ounce)
WinCo - $1.92 ($0.06 per ounce)
Walmart - $3.98* ($0.031 per ounce)

Best deal: Winco, $1.92 for two quart jug or Walmart for a gallon jug of apple cider at $0.03 per ounce.  A gallon of apple cider is the smallest size available at Walmart.

The verdict?

After totaling up each purchase from each store, including tax and double-checking our receipts (which you should always do), we came across some helpful advice for you shoppers.

1.  Always check the free flyers as you walk in the door.
2.  Depending on what is on your shopping list and how much you intend to buy, one store may be better than the other, even if its overall prices are more expensive.

In our study, we bought the exact same products at each store.  Without accounting for any deals we received, WinCo turned out to be the cheapest place to do business.

Before deals and coupons:

  • Albertsons - $56.63
  • Fred Meyer - $56.72
  • WinCo - $41.35
  • Walmart - $54.87

However, after taking certain deals and coupons (which are available to every shopper) into consideration, Fred Meyer turned out to be the overall cheapest.  Because we spent more on other items, we were able to get a discount on our turkey, which brought down our grand total.  This proves that depending on what you are buying, one store may be better than another for your own shopping trip.

After deals and coupons:

  • Albertsons - $53.63 (We used a $3 turkey coupon that we found in a flyer upon entering the store.)
  • Fred Meyer - $38.31 (We spent more than $50, which included the price of our turkey, so we were able to save $18.41 on our turkey by getting it for $0.69 per pound.)
  • WinCo - $41.35 (We did not have coupons and our purchase did not qualify for special offers.)
  • Walmart - $54.87 (We did not have coupons and our purchase did not qualify for special offers.)  Keep in mind though, Walmart will also match ads from any other competitor.

Finally and perhaps most important, all of the food that KTVB purchased Monday was donated to the Idaho Foodbank.  They are in need of turkeys and other food items throughout the entire holiday season and will gladly accept your donations to help feed families who are less fortunate.  All donations are accepted, regardless of how big or small.

* Additional deals and information not represented in our study can be found below.

Albertsons:
Turkey - $0.47 per pound (Farm Fresh or Honeysuckle White frozen whole turkeys) with an additional $50 purchase while supplies last, Save $3 on any fresh whole turkey (12-22 pounds) with coupon found in the store flyer.
Pumpkin pie - $8.49, Buy one, get one free deal on Marie Callender's pies
Whipped topping - We were shopping for the 8 ounce containers of whipped topping at each store.  At Albertsons, the 12 ounce container was $0.20 cheaper than the 8 ounce container.  So we bought the 12 ounce container for $1.79.

Fred Meyer:
Turkey - By spending more than $50.00 on your entire store purchase (which included our turkey), we were able to get our turkey for $0.69 per pound rather than the full price of $1.69 per pound.

WinCo:
Turkey - Depending on the brand of turkey you buy and how much you spend at the store in your Turkey Day shopping trip, you may be eligible for a cheaper price.  The price of the Butterball brand turkey gets knocked down to $0.78 per pound if you spend at least $50.00 at the store.  For other turkeys, you can cut your price down to $0.46 per pound if you spend at least $50.00 during your shopping trip.

Walmart:
Turkey - The $0.98 per pound turkey was not available in the 16-18 lb size.  That is the size we bought from every other Treasure Valley store we visited.  The $0.98 per pound turkey remains the cheapest option among the local stores, however, the price reflected in our final Walmart total was for a 16-18 lb turkey, which cost us $1.48 per pound.  In order to be fair to other stores, we had to find the cheapest turkey of the same size. 

Apple cider - We were looking to buy 2 quarts of apple cider at each store.  We were unable to find a 2 quart jug of apple cider at Walmart, and were required to buy the next size up.  The $3.98 price reflects a gallon of apple cider.

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