The Great Grocery Store Comparison

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Today I took on a project that I’ve been wondering about for quite some time. With the frustrations of shopping at the Commissary on base (limited selection, ALWAYS busy, long lines and often unhappy/rude employees), I got to wondering how other grocery stores really compare; and I wanted to do the research myself, not just hear-say from others. So today, I visited the Corry Station Commissary, Winn Dixie at the corner of Hwy 98 & Blue Angel, and the Publix in Bellview Plaza on Mobile Highway. I used a generic list of items that I typically shop for on a regular basis, then I added in a few things that I buy less often, like paper towels and the great big box of Goldfish! I tried my best to compare exact products, but some were not offered at every store, so I chose a comparable product. Check out what I found!

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Although Publix has the biggest variety of options and very nice employees, I still can’t justify paying over $100 more a month. For now, I’ll just suck it up and continue shopping at the Commissary and visit Publix for specific things that the Commissary doesn’t carry.

*Disclaimer: The 5% Commissary Surcharge is included. Florida does not have sales tax on food, so in this chart the average state and local sales tax of 6.62% is added only to the Starbucks K-cups and paper towels. No coupons, BOGO offers etc. are included. I realize that this is not an all-inclusive list or comparison, but I am simply working with what I have access to. This comparison is meant to give you a general idea of the differences between typical prices.

Where do you shop the most often? Why do you shop there as opposed to other grocery stores? Please leave your comments 🙂

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16 thoughts on “The Great Grocery Store Comparison

  1. Just out of curiosity, does your commisary total include the surcharge? I’m all the way out in Pace and shop at Grocery Ouet – I wonder how those prices would compare!

  2. Great post! I have heard that if you shop the sales flyers and use coupons on double or triple-value coupon days, you can get prices in the range of commissary prices. However, your survey shows that you’d have to have lots of big money coupons and the inconvenience of shopping at several different stores on different days in order to come close to the savings at the commissary. I’m with you – I’d rather have that $200 in my pocket.

    I shop mostly at the commissary and shop occasionally at Harris Teeter here in Hampton a Roads for splurge items – usually special occasion gourmet items.

  3. I go to the commissary to stock up on all of my packaged items and then go to publix for produce, bogos, dairy and meat. This way I only brave the commisary once a month or so but I am still getting a lot of the savings. Publix has more organic choices and, it seems to me, their poduce stays fresher longer so I can justify spending a little more there.

    • Thanks for your comment Jenn! Publix definitely has a better selection of produce which I really like, I’d be interested to see how much longer it lasts compared to the commissary here. That would definitely encourage me to pay a little more if I can get more out of it! 🙂

  4. Thanks for taking the time to do this, and share it! We are currently stationed in the midwest (with the Navy…go figure;) and I’ve noticed the commissary prices are similar to WalMart, but I’ve never really analyzed it closely. We are PCSing to Jacksonville, FL, this summer and I can’t wait to shop at Publix again, but this definitely makes me think twice about the commissary savings!

  5. I’m like you. I do mainly shop at the commissary because it is generally cheaper (even before seeing your chart). The next closest grocery store to me is Farm Fresh and while they have different items I wouldn’t say the selection was necessarily greater. I generally don’t buy all my groceries from on place because price and selection aren’t frequently apart of the total package.

  6. Fantastic job! Thanks for sharing your comparison! We do the bulk of our shopping at the Oceana Commissary in Virginia Beach, and then fill in the gaps throughout the following two weeks at Food Lion, Farm Fresh and Harris Teeter. I have sworn up and down, however, that I will never buy meat anywhere other than the commissary. It’s the same stuff everywhere else, but for half or a third the price. It’s SO worth the trip, the long lines and the always crowded baking isle and pasta isle (I’m still stumped on those). Lucky for us, our commissary has awesome folks working the register and ours is plenty big for most items you’re looking for.

  7. It’s funny I found this. We were actually just thinking about the cost differences of shopping at the commissary versus a few grocery stores and going to do something similar. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I’ve always wanted to do this comparison. Thanks! I shop the Commissary because it’s like everything is always on sale! I don’t have the time or energy to study fliers and coordinate trips to multiple stores every week.

    In my current Commissary, the employees are friendly and helpful. I enjoy shopping there. There are only a few items I can’t get there.

  9. A great list! Just a reminder that for the items that are not BOGO, I need to be going back to commissary to get. I have gotten to relaxed shopping BOGO and taking the hit on items such as Starbucks k-cups. Thanks for putting this together and sharing it.
    Back to shopping and splitting my list between stores.

    Debbie

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