I bought the same groceries at Wegmans, Whole Foods, and ShopRite, and one was clearly the most expensive

Which store came out on top — Wegmans, ShopRite, or Whole Foods? Hollis Johnson

Where I live in suburban New Jersey, I have plenty of options for buying groceries.

Within just four miles of my house, my options include Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, multiple local and regional chains, and even big-box retailers such as Target and Walmart.

In addition to the chains, I have a local natural-food store, a fish market, and Indian and Asian markets for more specific items.

With so many options, it can be hard to judge which store offers the best bang for your buck. I recently visited three supermarkets in my area and bought the same 14 basic grocery staples to see which one had the best prices.

My three picks were Wegmans, a Northeastern grocery chain recently ranked the No. 1 supermarket in America; ShopRite, another popular Northeastern chain; and Whole Foods.

For this experiment, I chose 14 items that my family eats on a regular basis, including yogurt, cheese, onions, avocados, and chicken.

Here’s what the prices looked like at each store:

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It was difficult to buy the exact same items at each store, so I adapted to the selections available. For instance, ShopRite did not have loose plain yams, so I ended up getting a fancier and more expensive red sweet potato. For cheddar cheese, each store had different selections and sizes of the standard sharp cheddar, so I tried to get blocks of roughly the same weight. For grapes, Wegman’s was out of the usual $US1.99 per pound red grapes, so I had to get the green grapes for a dollar more.

But despite these slight variations, it was clear that Whole Foods was the most expensive grocery store of the three. The price difference was most evident with raspberries, which Whole Foods offered only in organic options, which naturally cost more. But items such as apple juice, crackers, and chicken also cost a hair more at Whole Foods than at the other two supermarkets.

On the other hand, Whole Foods did offer better deals than the others on kale, carrots, and cheese.

All in all, I spent $US56.38 on my trip to Whole Foods, compared with $US49.38 at Wegmans and $US48.29 at ShopRite.

You’ll have to judge for yourself which chain offers the highest-quality groceries, but as far as cost goes, you’re better off at Wegmans or ShopRite.