Walmart vs. Target - Grocery Price Comparison

I love doing price comparisons. I pick two stores, make a list and add up the prices at both stores. I always learn something in the process.

My latest endeavor was to compare grocery prices at two shopping meccas, Walmart and Target.



As in my previous price comparisons, I consider it very important to compile a list of items before entering either store, so that a store's sale prices don't influence my judgement.

Here's the list: taco shells, walnuts, eggs, cake mix, frosting tub, ice cream bars, chocolate syrup, hot dogs, buns, corn chips (round), salted butter, 10lbs. bag of flour, premium coffee (12 oz.), Lucky Charms, frozen buffalo chicken strips, Kraft macaroni and cheese, Progresso soup, fresh spinach, baking powder and a half-pound of cheddar cheese.

For most items, I compared the price of the cheapest available version of that item, often the store's label, but for some things, I specified a particular brand name.

Here's what I found:

Target had Old El Paso Taco shells for $1.42. Walmart had the same taco shells for the same price. However, they also had a cheaper option, generic shells for a buck.

Did you know that boxes of taco shells have been largely replaced by "taco dinner kits" which contain an envelope of taco spices?

The next item was chopped walnuts. Target had them for $2.84, Walnut had a similar bag for $3.18.

In the case of eggs, Target had a dozen for $1.19.

Walmart had 18 packs for the very beatable price of $2.38, and their dozens were $1.62.

Target had instant cake mix for the super-duper low price of $1.00. However, Walmart had cake mix for even less. It was brand name too.






The matching tub of frosting mix was $1.50 at Target, $1.62 at Walmart. Did you know that the frosting cost more than the cake mix?






Somehow, not only did cake and frosting end up on the list, but also ice cream bars and chocolate syrup. The ice cream bars were $3.19 for six at Target, $2.88 at Walmart.






Klondike bars were the cheapest at both places, by the way.

The (generic) chocolate syrup was $1.49 at Target, a penny less at Walmart.






If you were just throwing a cake, frosting, ice cream bars and chocolate syrup party on the day I did this price survey, you'd pay a total of 24¢ less at Walmart for that quartet of treats.

The next two items were hot dogs and buns.

Target's cheapest hot dogs were 95¢ for a pack, Walmart had the same dogs for 88¢ a pack.






The buns were a little bit more, $1.19 at Target, $1.18 at Walmart.

Did you know that the buns cost more than the hot dogs?


Next I checked the price on corn chips, in a round configuration.

Target had a 22oz. "Fiesta Size" for $3.99. Walmart had a 20 oz. bag, also labelled "Fiesta Size" for $3.18.






Next I priced a pound of butter. Target had them for $2.50, 48¢ less than Walmart's cheapest butter.

Next I priced 10 lb. bags of flour. Target had them for $3.49. Walmart didn't have a store brand in the 10 lbs. size. Their cheapest was Gold Medal brand for $4.64. They also had a fancy plastic bag flour for a bit more.






A premium coffee was the next item. Target had a 12 oz. bag of Starbucks coffee for $7.49. The Starbucks at Walmart was $7.78, but they had a similar bag of Dunkin' Donuts coffee for $7.18.






Boxes of Lucky Charms were difficult to compare. Target had a 16 oz. box for $3.29, but Walmart had an 11.5 oz. box for $2.84. Walmart's box was cheaper, but Target easily wins this one if you compare the price per ounce.






Walmart had a larger bag of Buffalo chicken strips, and they still beat Target's price by a $1.06.






Target had a slightly better price for Kraft Mac & Cheese, beating Walmart's price by 9¢. Maybe you can see in the photo above, Walmart was actually sold out of the original flavor Kraft mac & cheese when I visited. Also, I specified that this comparison be for the brand name mac and cheese, but I should mention that Target had a secondary brand for 47¢, and Walmart had a box for 36¢!






Walmart had a cheaper bag of spinach. 2¢ cheaper and one ounce heavier.






Target had a cheaper can of Progresso soup, although it was corn chicken chowder, so that might be a deal breaker. All of the Progresso soup at Walmart was the same price: $1.98.






Baking powder was the same price at both Target and Walmart, but at Target, the $1.14 can was larger. I'm a fan of big cans, so Target gets the win on this one.






The last item on my shopping list was a pound of cheddar cheese. Target didn't have full pounds of cheese, so I added the price of two 8 oz. packages: $4.50. Walmart didn't have cheap 8 oz. blocks of cheese, but they had cheap pounds: $4.38.





It was a close race! Did you keep track?

Walmart had a lower price on eleven items, Target had a lower price on seven items, and two were close enough to call a tie.

The total price difference? Fifty Nine Cents. In favor of Target.






It's not an absolute win for Target, because the package sizes varied a bit. For example, you'd leave Walmart with a little more buffalo chicken, chips and spinach. But I have to admit, I've been swayed by Walmart's relentless "lowest price" marketing. On April 19th, for these 20 items, it wasn't true.

Target wins.

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