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New Data Reveals America's Cheapest Grocery Stores—and Costco Isn't Even in the Top 10

On the hunt for the best grocery deals? A new study found the chains with the lowest-priced essentials.

With so many different grocery chains and local grocers spread throughout America nowadays, finding the retailers with the absolute best prices isn't always the easiest task. Luckily, a new study was just released that pinpoints the cheapest grocery stores in the country. And spoiler alert: the beloved warehouse club chain Costco didn't even make the top 10.

This new study was conducted by BravoDeal, a site that compiles discount codes, coupons, and offers for online shoppers. The site used the data science platform Kaggle to identify the 12 most frequently purchased grocery items—such as eggs, bread, milk, chicken breast, frozen pizza, and laundry detergent—from 11 of America's major grocery chains.

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Finding the cheapest version of each product for corresponding weights, it then calculated the average weekly cost that a household with three members would pay for those 12 common grocery items at each grocery chain. Finally, BravoDeal ranked the 11 grocery chains from cheapest to most expensive using the price data.

Unsurprisingly, the discount retailer Aldi took the crown as America's most affordable grocery store with an average weekly cost of $43.48 for the 12 grocery essentials. BravoDeal said that Aldi had the cheapest prices for bread with its L'Oven Fresh loaves selling for $1.29, as well as the cheapest egg prices with a 12-pack selling for $1.71.

aldi exterior
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

Another discount chain, Lidl, took second place with an average weekly cost of $54.24. BravoDeal said that the retailer had the most affordable frozen pizza ($3.47) out of all the grocery chains, but Aldi had cheaper prices for all other grocery essentials.

Meanwhile, Trader Joe's landed in third place with an average weekly cost of $60.58. BravoDeal specifically cited the chain's competitive prices for a loaf of white bread ($1.99) and crunchy peanut butter ($2.49). Coming up behind Trader Joe's, respectively, was Albertsons ($63.18), Walmart ($64.98), Target ($65.38), Kroger ($65.78), Publix ($70.19), Whole Foods ($73.98), and Sam's Club ($106.47).

The least affordable grocery chain of all in the study turned out to be Costco, which came in 11th place with an average weekly cost of $267.94. It's important to note that Costco and Sam's Club operate differently from most other grocery stores since they primarily sell bulk products that tend to be more expensive. So, you may find yourself paying more per shopping trip at both grocers, but the products you buy may also last you a far longer time.

costco card and cart with groceries
dennizn / Costco

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Even though Costco and Sam's Club weren't found to have the cheapest weekly grocery essentials in the study, the data showed that they do offer very competitive prices for certain items. BravoDeal said that Sam's Club had the cheapest boneless, skinless chicken breasts at $2.68 per pound. The study also noted that Costco offers "some of the lowest-priced products per unit" like its three-liter olive oil bottles priced at $0.18 per ounce.

Of course, how much customers actually pay for their weekly essentials at these 11 chains will vary widely depending on what's on their grocery list and how many people they're buying for. Still, the BravoDeal data offers helpful insights on where consumers may be able to find the best deals for key items as grocery costs continue to rise.

As BravoDeals founder and CEO Marco Farnararo noted in a statement about the findings: "With the cost of living having spiked for many households across the nation in the years following the pandemic, many are looking to save wherever they can."

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe