Sunday, August 28, 2011

Back-to-school: Grocery Store who's-who

September is almost here, and so is the need to get the cupboards and fridge full without spending much.

In South-Western Ontario we have a few major grocery stores: No Frills, Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Food Basics, Metro, Sobey's and Price Chopper. There are a few others, but I'm not as familiar with them. This is my personal assessment of their merits:

Cost (*=in expensive, ***=very expensive)
Quality of produce/variety of food
Likelihood of having discounted food (*=unlikely- ***=very likely)
No Frills
Fair. Depending o the location this store doesn't carry the biggest variety but the food quality will usually last 5-7 days if you pick carefully.
* stuff moves fast, but the sales tend to be good.
Poor quality. Unless you pick carefully your produce is unlikely to last more than a few days. However, depending on the area FB can have a great selection of international foods at very good prices
Real Canadian Superstore
Good. Usually good quality and good selection. However, they often run out of sale items so be prepared to ask for rain-checks.
** *Almost always discounted produce, bread, and dry foods available
Great. I'd say the best quality and selection in our area, but you will pay a premium for it.
*** If you're looking for a good selection of marked down food, this is your store. I often check it out before grocery shopping elsewhere because they mark stuff down steeply and early. Just get to know which day they mark stuff down. For us it is Tuesdays.
Good. Good selection and quality.
* (Exception is Metro seems to have good meat discounts, otherwise they are about the same).
Price Chopper
Poor: inexpensive but there is little selection and poorer quality so choose carefully.

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