With the school year well underway, I thought it would be a good time to compare prices on some groceries used to pack kids’ lunches.

I chose the items by creating an informal Facebook poll, asking parents which items they most often buy to make lunches.

Once I got the results, I broke it down by sections — processed or boxed foods, fresh foods and paper goods. I wanted to see if there’s a difference in prices at stores depending on what type of items you’re purchasing. It’s a small spot check, so there are just a few items in each category.

Walmart and Target are in close competition when it comes to the processed and boxed stuff on the list, with only a 1-cent difference between the two. What I found most surprising, though, was Bashas’ prices on paper goods. When I used the company’s club card to purchase the two items on our list, Bashas’ cost less than the other stores.

When it came to the fresh produce and chicken on our list, Walmart, Fry’s and Albertsons were all pretty close. The main price difference between stores was the cost of boneless skinless chicken breasts. The lowest was Albertsons at $1.88 per pound.

Prices on grapes varied a lot, as well. The lowest was 79 cents per pound and the highest was $2.99 per pound.

For the chart, I chose the most inexpensive of each item, usually the store brand. Prices are listed regular price first, followed by club card price where applicable. If sizes varied, I made adjustments by figuring out the unit price and multiplying it by the desired quantity.



Angela Pittenger, the Star’s “Centsible Mom,” shares tips, news stories and ideas on ways families can stretch their dollars. Follow her on Twitter @CentsibleMama or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/centsiblemama.

Centsible Mom: School lunch price check

Product Albertsons Bashas' Food City Fry's Safeway Target Walmart
Cheddar crackers - 13.7 oz 2.99 5.85/4.87 3.64 2.22/1.96 2.99/2.69 1.99 1.98
Capri Sun - 10 ct. 2.50 2.50 2.50 2.29 2.69/1.99 1.99 1.98
Peanut butter - 40 oz. 6.99 5.49 5.60 5.67 6.80/6.00 4.50 4.56
Grape jelly - 32 oz. 2.00 3.29/2.49 2.69 1.88 2.19 1.79 1.50
Wheat bread - 20 oz. 1.25 1.89/1.25 1.50 1.25 1.24 1.24 1.48
Totals 15.73 19.02/16.60 15.93 13.31/13.05 15.91/14.11 11.51 11.50
Apples 1.39 1.49 1.29 1.39 1.79/.99 1.58 1.27
Baby carrots - 16 oz. 1.69 1.69 1.29 1.69 1.79 1.69 1.48
Boneless skinless chicken breast 1.88 5.99 3.89 2.79 2.99 3.79 1.99
Grapes 1.99 1.99 .99 .79 2.99 1.67 1.78
Totals 6.95 11.16 7.46 6.66 9.56/8.76 8.73 6.52
Zipper sandwich bags - 100 ct. 2.00 1.99/1.49 3.58 3.99/2.79 3.39/1.79 2.33 1.99
Napkins - 500 ct. 4.99 3.09 3.09 4.49/3.69 3.99 4.21 4.13
Totals 6.99 5.08/4.58 6.67 8.48/6.48 7.38/5.78 6.54 6.12