Competition Leads To Lower Prices, More Quality Products

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — With last month’s arrival of Trader Joe’s at 72nd Street and Broadway in Manhattan, the Upper West Side now has a huge selection of specialty grocery stores.

So, CBS 2’s Wendy Gillette hit the aisles Thursday to find out where you can get the best bang for your buck.

Whole Foods, Fairway, Trader Joe’s, Gristedes … there are a lot of options these days on the Upper West Side. So, where can you find the best deals?

Gillette spent the day grinding out the prices using an undercover camera at four neighborhood grocery stores. She shopped at Gristedes on 96th Street, Whole Foods on Columbus Avenue & 98th, Fairway on Broadway in the 70s and the new Trader Joe’s two blocks away.

Some in the neighborhood said more grocery stores moving in will mean more deals.

“I think the prices are much more competitive. Prices generally go lower in the stores for almost every item,” resident Carolyn Martino said.

So how do they stack up?

Let’s start with your morning Joe, which is cheapest at Trader Joe’s. One pound of French roast ground coffee runs $6.99, tied with Fairway. The price at Whole Foods jumps to $10.99 and Gristedes, which only stocks the Starbucks brand, tops the list at $14.49.

You also get more bread for your bread at Trader Joe’s, a half dozen rolls are about half the price there compared to Whole Foods, though Gillette didn’t do any taste tests to see if the product there is half as good.

Boneless skinless chicken breast is cheapest at Fairway, with Trader Joe’s coming in second.

A gallon of milk is the same everywhere, except Gristedes, where it’s a whole dollar more.

When it comes to strawberries, a pound is only $2.99 at Trader Joe’s, compared to $3.49 at Fairway, $3.99 at Gristedes and $4.99 at Whole Foods.

However, not everyone is always looking for the cheapest price.

“I’ll take a little bit pricey, over … for convenience,” one shopper said.

But if your bottom line is the bottom line here’s the results of our grocery trip, comparing 10 common items:

Trader Joe’s: $37.22, compared to $42 at Fairway, $56 at Whole Foods, and topping out the list, Gristedes at more than $60.

So Trader Joe’s wins this unscientific price war on the Upper West Side. But the outcome is a message for all consumers: Shop around to get the best deals for you and your family.

Gillette also saw big savings at stores like Trader Joe’s and Fairway that only offer generic brands for popular products like cereal and juice.

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