by Jim Ashby, General Manager
Our merchandising staff and department managers regularly stay aware of prices at other stores, but a few times every year we conduct a formal competitor price comparison. The comparisons for this article are from late December and early January.
I am very pleased to report that for the first time ever the Co-op basket of products was less than at any of the other stores surveyed.
The graphic at left compares prices of grocery products between the Co-op and four of our local competitors: Fred Meyer, Whole Foods, and Haggen and Safeway, which are both owned by Albertsons.
We take our commitment to sharing honest information seriously, so we don’t ask department managers to tailor their lists to make us look good and the information hasn’t been edited before publication to improve how we compare to other stores.
The brands used in the comparison started primarily in the natural products industry but are now available in all kinds of stores.
Comparisons for wellness and produce are included at the end of this blog post.
That’s right, the cost of the comparable basket of products at the competition was as much as 6 percent higher than the Co-op.
Even Fred Meyer, which has historically been our toughest price competition, was slightly higher than the Co-op.
Natural products have been the fastest growing segment of the grocery business for many years. Every company in this intensely competitive industry is focused on attracting and retaining natural-food shoppers. As a relatively small community-owned business, maintaining competitive prices with the larger chains has always been a challenge. It is very gratifying that we’ve been able to deliver superior value for your shopping dollar in this very tough competitive market.
One way co-ops like ours are able to stay competitive is by working together to realize some of the benefits of the big chains.
The development of the National Co-op Grocers (NCG), a co-op of co-ops, allows us to leverage the buying power of co-ops nationwide. This leverage makes it possible for NCG to negotiate a very good supply agreement with our major supplier as well as develop the cost-saving Co+op Deals and Co+op Basics programs.
How we compare to Whole Foods is worth noting since this is the first time they’ve been included.
The Whole Foods total basket cost was $63.56 higher than the Co-op for the 203 grocery and body care products we carry in common.
Given their reputation, it was not surprising to see that Whole Foods came in higher overall, but it was somewhat surprising to see they carried fewer national brand products in common with the Co-op than either Fred Meyer (235) or Haggen (251).
Five years ago, the Co-op board and management set a strategic goal of improving access to healthy food. We’re very proud that our combination of competitive prices in every department, strong Co+op Deals promotions, and the broad range of everyday low-priced items in the Co+op Basics program have gotten us closer to achieving this important goal. We believe it is testament to the power of community ownership as well the as the strength of cooperation among cooperatives.
Smart Shopping at your Co-op explains how to maximize your shopping dollars and save even more money at the Co-op. If you have questions about these savings opportunities, just ask any Co-op staff. We’re always happy to help. Thanks for your support.
Grocery Price Comparison
Across the board, we beat all competitors' prices in the grocery department.
Whole Foods: prices were 3.5% higher on 105 total common products
Safeway: prices were 6% higher on 65 total common products
Haggen: prices were 4.2% higher on 101 total common products
Fred Meyer: prices were 0.7% higher on 119 total common products
Produce Price Comparison
Only Fred Meyer had prices lower than the Co-op in the produce department. With Haggen coming in at a whopping 20.7% higher than the Co-op.
Whole Foods: prices were 6.5% higher on 54 total common products
Haggen: prices were 20.7% higher on 49 total common products
Fred Meyer: prices were 6.7% lower on 44 total common products
Wellness Price Comparison
Once again, only Fred Meyer had lower prices than the Co-op in the wellness department.
Whole Foods: prices were 3.5% higher on 181 total common products
Haggen: prices were 2.1% higher on 179 total common products
Fred Meyer: prices were 3.7% lower on 192 total common products