Comparison Shopping Gloucester’s Big Three Supermarkets Stop and Shop, Market Basket and Shaws

I’ve wanted to do this for a long time.  Real world comparison of staple items that I always buy and have on hand.  The 5 items were selected ahead of time, not knowing what the prices would be at all three places and without prejudice as to what I thought might be cheaper at one store or another.

The 5 items are Granny Smith Apples, Chobani Yogurt, Store Brand Almonds, Store Brand Plain Soy Milk, Store Brand Peanut Butter.

Round 1: Chobani Yogurt-

Stop and Shop $4.99

Market Basket $4.99

Shaws $6.49

Round 2: Granny Smith Apples

Stop and Shop $1.69 Lb

Market Basket .99 Lb

Shaws $1.17 Lb

Round 3: 40 Oz Store Brand Peanut Butter

Stop and Shop $5.19

Market Basket $4.99

Shaws $5.69

Round 4: Almonds Store Brand

Stop and Shop $8.98 Lb (On Sale) Normally $9.98 Lb

Market Basket $5.05 Lb

Shaws $10.87 Lb

Round 5: Plain Soy Milk Store Brand

Stop and Shop $2.79

Market Basket $2.50

Shaws $3.49

Again remember I did not pre-scout these items to select things that would have outrageous price differences but picked them before I entered the first stop.

My guess that Market Basket was most often much cheaper was confirmed and confirmed by a mile.

If you bought one unit of each of these items at each of these stores your total would be

Stop and Shop $23.64

Market Basket $18.52

Shaws $27.71

The difference of $9.19 more money for the five items at Shaws over Market Basket is ASTOUNDING.  That is nearly 50% more money.  It would cost you 27% more to purchase the same items at Stop and Shop over Market Basket.

I don’t know about you but when the banks pay you what amounts to negative returns on your money after fees, 27% or 49% savings on your money is HUGE!

This took a while to compile and label each image, I hope it helps you make informed decisions on where to shop.

31 comments

  • THANK YOU, Joey. I’m going to be guided accordingly.

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  • Thanks for this comparison, Joey! Very helpful information!

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  • I would love to shop at Shaws or Stop & Shop more often because there are no lines, but I just can’t afford to! Market Basket is just far less expensive and honestly their produce is far superior…my guess is the other stores do less business and their produce just sits. Market Basket HAS creeped prices up since they first opened, but still lowest in town. Thanks Joey for a good unbiased look at the prices!

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  • It depends on what you buy, you also have to figure on how long the items last. I buy organic and shop mostly at stop and shop some items I can only get at market basket. For the items I buy the prices are compareble between the two but the produce at stop and shop continually outlasts what I buy at market basket so to me the extra $ is made up by not throwing out what I bought only a few days ago.

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  • MB has lower prices on Romaine Lettuce, but it’s not tender, and goes by in a few days. There are other items such as chicken and meat and sale items that make the drive up the hill worthwhile. Even though I’m a “price shopper,” the best thing about Market Basket is their different variety of brands and products on the shelves. When I have a big gallery opening, I’ll find the time to go to Market Basket. That’s their herring and sour creme you’re eating!

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  • Pretty much confirms what I anecdotally noticed. I don’t really comparison shop. I just look at the price on the screen as I sign my name and look at the pile of stuff in my cart. I often have to shop off island but I do try to shop at Market Basket here because when I see the number I still cannot believe it. 50% is awesome, but when I am in the western suburbs of Boston I am sometimes getting half the grocery cart, that being a 100% or doubling of stuff in the cart so when I walk out of Market Basket I feel like I am stealing.

    Another example of the embarrassment of riches we have out here. Market Basket is out in front right now, but the gap closes. Competition makes for lower prices.

    Now if we could get a nice market in the dead IGA spot in Rockport. A nice veggie, meat, wine and beer and also those essentials like garlic which we are now having to drive all the way into Gloucester for. I would pay a higher price for the convenience. What is going to happen first? An upscale market at the IGA or the demo of the Cape Ann Tool Company? July 4 and I’ll take the under. I lose, I am going to be pissed.

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  • I can walk to Shaw’s but don’t anymore since the prices have climbed so much higher. Plus I find the produce at Stop & Shop and MB much fresher.

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  • The other thing I love about Market Basket is that they are always expanding their variety of organic and health food products

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  • The almond comparison is flawed. Nature’s Promise is S & S’s organic/natural food line and pricier. There are cheaper almonds at S & S, usually in the produce section. Take the almonds out of the equation and MB still wins, but not by so much.

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  • Wow!! nice work Joey…….If I was saving nickels and dimes I suppose I would stick to S&S just out of habit. But if this is true of most items then its not even close. MB savings over the course of a year is astronomical !

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  • I shop at all 3 and sometimes in Beverly if I’m down there. One store doesnt have everything I want, this has been a great project, Thanks Joey!

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  • I despise S&S and Shaw’s for their price gouging, and have been doing a most of my shopping at Market Basket, since Seabrook was the closest location….I know ..the gas thing and all.. But, it’s the principle…

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  • still prefer Stop and Shop..better quality, fresher produce, nicer meats

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  • I was going to point out the organic almonds too but someone beat me to it. I’m sure in general MB is cheaper but the selection and quality just isn’t there. I buy mostly store brands and MB just doesn’t carry much of a line. The MB brands I’ve tried were awful. Also I use the gas rewards points from S&S and usually save at least $1 a gallon. I save up the points and go monthly. Lastly, for me my time is money also. I can be in and out of S&S in less than 45 minutes for a week’s worth of shopping and I don’t know the other two stores well enough to do that. Thanks Joey for taking the time to do this for us!

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  • I don’t understand why Shaw’s would not want to compete for the customer. I’ve been in a Shaw’s twice in the last year, and that was only because I needed one item and it was in my travel path. Aside from the pricing, the slow turnover of stock because of the lack of business (caused by the pricing) is reason enough not to shop for anything fresh in there.

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  • Can’t afford to pay that much of a difference. Love Market Basket but don’t forget to take your clean reusable bags… Save Mother Earth…. Bring them everywhere even clothes shopping….

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  • I’ve been a DeMoulas/Market Basket shopper all my life (since DeMoulas first opened in Wilmington and that was where my mother shopped when I was a kid). I have, based on where I was living at the time, been forced to shop at Shaws, and I reiterate forced. Like Starsquiggle, I also despise Shaws for their price gouging, especially in the inner city where many people use public transportation and don’t have the luxury of convenient traveling to an alternative. I’ve never really shopped at Stop & Shop so can’t comment on them.

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  • Having the privilege to raise 5 kids has been a wonderful lesson in grocery shopping, can’t tell you how many times while doing my normal grocery shopping people asked me if I was having a party due to the over packed grocery cart – I’d just tell them everyday was a party at our house. I can tell you that absolutely hands down Market basket is way cheaper than Shaws or Stop and Shop. when I have all the kids home, a rare occurrence these days, the difference can be as much as $150 a week and not only that I don’t worry as much about going for what’s on sale, I buy what I want to buy and it’s still cheaper.

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  • In Round 4 Almonds Store Brand.
    You have the almonds listed at $8.98 (On Sale)

    The Photo shows them at $4.49 (On Sale)
    If I use that amount the total difference between S&S and MB is $00.63.

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  • I must agree, produce and meats may be a bit more quality at the other stores..so, ok, a higher price is justified..but, $6.49 opposed to $4.99 for something like Chobani Yogurt …WTF

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  • That’s Joey, blogger extraordinaire and fiscal guardian of Cape Ann! Bravo sir!

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  • I am surprised this could be news to anyone. What it costs to fill your cart at MB is what it costs to fill the kiddie seat at Shaws. For many years people drove to Danvers, for Pete’s sake, to shop at MB. That’s like 30 miles round trip and an hour on the road. Its only amazing that neither Shaws nor S&S has taken the cue and stepped up to the competition plate. If they don’t there will soon be lots more vacant big box space in Gloucester.

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    • I had a strong suspicion but wanted to confirm it. There have been many times I’d expressed this sentiment only to have Stop and Shop lovers tell me there was no difference. Wanted to take the pictures of the items at each store to confirm.

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  • Is it true that MB is paying little or no taxes to the City of Gloucester (for several years) as the incentive for it to be built here? If this is the case, they can give the food away until they put one or both of the other stores out of business, then charge whatever they like!

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    • They have many other stores all over the Northeast in which they routinely charge lower prices. Why would it be any different here?

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      • Joey…Christine is just one of the people who oppose anything good for Gloucester…I am sure that she opposes Jim Davis’ hotel and opposes any changes to waterfront zoning, lest things become more vibrant and fun…MB prices are the same here, Danvers, Rowley etc. …people like her buy into the lies circulated by the few…she is a fool…I am sorry to make it personal, but TRUTH is more important.

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  • I grew up in the city. 5 kids in the family. We had Star Market, Johnny Food Master and Demoulous.. My parents were not bargain shoppers and shopped at Star Market.
    I moved up here and found that everything costs more money.. I used to make the weekly trip down to Danvers and Peabody to do my shopping to save money.
    Thanks goodness Market Basket came to Cape Ann.
    The prices are getting higher everywhere.I look at prices both In the flyers and at the store. Some things can be found on sale at Stop n Shop and Shares for less money. If you have a card.
    Market Basket does not do double coupons and tracks your buying.Many times you have to look for prices. Not everything is la beled and more and more the price on the shelf does not match the product.
    I have found that the dates on the meats are not accurate at Market Basket. They are spoiling 2 -3 days before the date. I don’t like that. I hate waste.
    I now shop what is on sale between Market Basket and Stop n Shop. I never really liked IGA. Usually dirty , dusty cans and expired dates covered with stickers. I hate having to drive 51/2 miles to go grab an onion .
    Can’t wait for a grocery store in Rockport. I will still watch prices but in a pinch, I’ll only have to drive 1.5miles.

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  • My only complaint with Market Basket is their Tuna Salad. It is very soupy, like it has too much water added (water is cheaper than Tuna). It used to be great, but the last three times I bought it it literally squirted out of the sandwich bun when I bit into it. Otherwise we love Market Basket, Tip: Get there early in the morning (we go to Danvers they’ll let you in at 6AM) when they are just getting ready to open.No long lines at all, mostly just very pleasant employees scurrying to get the store ready.

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  • And now…. you can “support market basket” by “boycotting market basket” WOO HOOO!!! the Genius behind market basket employes.

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