MADISON (WKOW) -- Grocery prices are on the rise again. Many families want to find the best deal, but they don't know how, or have the time to comparison shop. So, WKOW hit some local grocery stores for you, to find the best deal.
Laura Schroeder says, "Probably I would say every four days, we're running to the store to get something: milk, eggs, bread."
Sound familiar? It's just part of the weekly routine for mom, Laura Schroeder and her two shopped out kids, one-year-old Lilas and five-year-old Emerson. Laura is always on the hunt for the best deals in food. But like most moms, she's pressed for time.
Laura says, "If those groceries were located in one area, especially high priced items, I would definitely shop there."
So, we decided to help her, and you, find the cheapest groceries in town. We compiled a list of twelve staple food items, including, orange juice, green beans, pasta, eggs, milk, bread, lunch meat, bananas, almost everything on the front page, cereal coffee, and of course, butter because everything is better with butter.
We hit the stores, super speed. We went to Copps, Super Target, Wal-Mart Superstore, Cub Foods, and Woodman's.
In order to be fair, we followed the standards that food price experts, like UW Professor Kyle Stiegert, recommend. Use only brand name items, sold in every store.
Professor Stiegert says the reason for that is "then you can track what they're charging the consumer and get a pretty fair comparison."
The results? Woodman's takes the cake with a total price tag of 26.78. A whopping 16.63 percent cheaper than the most expensive store we checked out, Cub Foods. One notable example was coffee. At Woodman's, an 11.3 ounce can of Folders Classic Roast cost $3.59, but at Cub Foods it cost $3.99. So naturally we wanted to know why.
Professor Stiegert says, "They work really hard on bringing in larger products, larger boxed and processed items into the store."
Also, they work on a cash or debit card basis only.
But what about food quality? You might think that higher priced stores have higher quality items, but that's not necessarily true.
Professor Stiegert says, "You're often times not paying for better food you're paying for store ambience and you're paying for the experience."
But, no matter where you shop, there are ways to cut down on price. Just ask mom's like Laura. She says, "I look in newspaper ads that come out, I look online occasionally."
Another tip when your looking for the best deal, no matter what grocery store you're in, experts say, you need to look high and look low on the shelves.
Also, like Laura says, watch your kids and make sure you're "not grabbing everything your child puts in the cart."
And if you really want to cut costs, write a list.
Laura says, "It was my New Year's resolution to start a meal plan and to actually eat the food in our house."
For exact prices of our study at WKOW, check out our Grocery Spreadsheet of prices. Also, you can watch a full interview with Professor Kyle Stiegert on the food industry at large.
We did contact Cub Foods for a comment after our story and here is their response:
"Supervalu and Cub Foods are actively working to reduce everyday prices in our stores, through targeted price investments as well as several new initiatives. For example, we recently began to implement our "Fair Price Plus Promotion" strategy, which will combine lower every day prices with aggressive sales and promotions on a wide variety of products. To offer our greatest value, we want to point out that our customers can find enormous savings on everyday items through our vast selection of low-cost, high-quality private brand products in our stores."