'grocery shopping' on Serious Eats

Poll: Do You Buy Store Brands More Often Than Name Brands?

According to a new study from Consumer Reports, some inhouse store brands are just as good as or even better than name brand counterparts. Of course, many of the products by Great Value, Kirkland Signature, and other store brands come from the same big plants as those producing the name-branders. But sometimes there's that voice inside that insists you should buy Heinz over any seemingly identical wannabe. Do you usually opt for store brands over name brands? Take the poll! » More

Culinary Ambassadors: Grocery Shopping in Wisconsin

Our shopping priorities go: local and organic (CSA, co-op, farmers' market), then local (farmers' market and Woodman's), then just organic (co-op and Woodman's). However, there are things (like bananas) that I do not buy from any of the above categories. When I lay it out like this, it sounds like a lot of work, but I actually enjoy the challenge of finding foods that align with our philosophy and taste great but don't drain our bank account. More

Grocery Shopping in the U.S.

I have never been a daily, fresh-to-the-market shopper. I dream that I would love to be, but using EBT for most of one's groceries tends to cause one to peruse the weekly ads and menu plan around them. I'll tell you, the day Sam's Club started accepting EBT last year was a day of great rejoicing in my house. More

Favorite Chats with a Grocery Store Cashier?

I often leave Trader Joe's thinking I've become best pals with the checkout person. They just say the darnedest things. Like last night, when I bought bananas. I could have sworn they were green when I first grabbed them; they were patently yellow-green by the time we reached the checkout. "Bananas are just, crazy. They're IN-sane. They're like the Mel Gibson of fruit," my cashier said. More

Hispanic Foods Moving Out of the 'Ethnic Aisle'

Hispanic products may no longer be hiding in supermarket aisle corners like the gluten-free breads and Manischewitz yolk-free noodles. Several major chains are expanding their specialty offerings to capture business from Latinos, the country's fastest-growing population and already almost one-sixth of the U.S. total in 2008, according to this MSNBC report. Walmart is in the process of converting two stores (one in Phoenix, the other in Houston) into Supermercados aimed at Hispanic shoppers. According to the Walmart website, the Houston store opened in late April and has a bakery with over 40 traditional sweet breads and fresh corn tortillas, and a meat department with milanesa (kind of like the Hispanic schnitzel), fajitas, and arrachera (similar to skirt steak). This... More

How To Save Money at Supermarkets

The Consumerist shares some tips from Consumer Reports for how to save money at the supermarket—such as choose store brands, use a bonus card, and clip coupons—but the comments from readers on how they save money are more informative and detailed than the post itself. Readers discuss their favorite stores, best store brand items, checking circulars in print and online, and more. What are your tips for saving money at the supermarket? Related Recession Grocery Shopping: What Are You Doing Differently? Where Americans Are Cutting Corners: Food... More

Asian Markets Attract Budget-Minded Chefs

Photograph from Jeremy Bautista on Flickr Shopping at the Asian grocery chain H-Mart might be like a frenzied afternoon at Marshalls—piles of Fuyu persimmons, jars of kimchi, and stacks of slimy fish all compete for space—but the prices put Whole Foods to shame. Granted, you won't always know where your food came from (probably somewhere in Asia) but the products are diverse, inspiring, and recession-friendly. That's why D.C.-area chefs like Michel Richard of Citronelle and Central are flocking to H Mart and Super H Mart, according to Melissa McCart in the Washington Post. She notes that at a conventional grocery store, shoppers might find one or two brands of condiments, but at H-Mart, the variety is comparable "to the... More

Grocery Ninja: Agave Nectar, Not Just for Hippies

Agave has a gentle, lilting sweetness. The Grocery Ninja leaves no aisle unexplored, no jar unopened, no produce untasted. Creep along with her below, and read all her mission reports here. Photograph from Kenn Wilson on Flickr In my all-girl middle school in Asia, the cool girls were either naturally blessed with willowy figures or were striving (and darn close) to attaining the "ideal" BMI of 17. During this "I will fit into a size zero or die trying" period in my life, I completely cut out all added sugar (and fat) from my diet. This, of course, didn't mean I lost my sweet tooth. I simply replaced all the natural sugars in my diet with artificial sweeteners. I promptly... More

Grocery Ninja: Kaya, Coconut Egg Jam

The Grocery Ninja leaves no aisle unexplored, no jar unopened, no produce untasted. Creep along with her below, and read all her mission reports here. I believe the simplest dishes are also the easiest to mess up. Take the plain omelet, for instance, or just steamed rice—both are so clean of flavor, so unadulterated, that there's nothing for you to hide your mistakes behind. No cloak of smoky spices, no razzle-dazzle of MSG—just the purest expressions of egg and grain. And so it is the case with kaya—a rich, fragrant custard that South-East Asians like to slather, along with a generous dollop of salted butter, on their morning toast. Made with eggs, coconut milk, and sugar, there are many, many... More

Grocery Ninja: Chicha Morada, Peruvian Purple Corn Drink

The Grocery Ninja leaves no aisle unexplored, no jar unopened, no produce untasted. Creep along with her below, and read all her mission reports here. The Russian housemate adores mulled cider. This wouldn’t be a problem except, come fall, my usually easy-going housemate morphs into a mulled cider dictator and gets monopolistic about fridge space – insisting that there is no room for any other kind of beverage. No oj, no soy milk, no nothing save for yet another jug of mulled cider. And while I used to love the stuff, palate fatigue is real… and I have no use for it on my cereal. Hence, this year, us housemates are plotting an intervention: employing the logic of gradually weaning... More

Recession Grocery Shopping: What Are You Doing Differently?

With budgets tightening across all economic strata in this country, many families are selectively bypassing organics to save money, according to the New York Times' Andrew Martin. The question that I find even more pressing is whether people are going to stop shopping at farmers' markets across the country, which are generally more expensive than both conventional and organic supermarkets. What are serious eaters everywhere doing to save money? Are organically and/or locally grown produce still important to you? As Martin put it, are consumers going to decide they can no longer afford to let their conscience dictate their shopping list? I for one will not stop supporting my local farmers. I have always felt that local and sustainable... More

Do You Know How Much You Really Spend on Food?

©iStockphoto.com/fotofrog The San Francisco Chronicle surveyed 30 Bay Area food shoppers to see how many actually knew their monthly food expenditures. While many wing it, throwing out random estimates, others could quantify to an exact dollar amount. My favorite part is when one woman munched on her "CCOF Certified Organic Shinko Asian Pear" for $1.45. While logging the steep price in her records, she listened to a report on credit default swaps. Which category do you fall under? The "wing it" or the "tally up receipts" crowd?... More

Our Groceries Are Quietly Shrinking

Photograph from Consumerist At the grocery store, the purchasing power of our dollars isn't the only thing that's shrinking. Manufacturers are quietly downsizing the quantities in packaged food, often while holding prices steady, all in response to the rise in commodity and fuel costs. A few examples: Kellogg's cereals have an average of 2.4 fewer ounces per boxTropicana orange juice containers decreased from 96 ounces to 89 ouncesWrigley's 17-stick PlenTPak has been replaced by the 15-stick Slim PackSpreads (butter, mayo) and ice cream containers have decreased in size overall The story, in Time magazine, says that people are more sensitive to price than they are quantity, which explains why manufacturers are trying to slip the changes by us. "Most... More

Generic = Savings

Top 5ive Items to Always Buy Generic, from SmartMoney.com: "According to a 2005 study by Consumer Reports, opting for some store-brand or generic products can easily save you 50% — without cutting quality. In fact, some store brands, also known as private-label brands, are produced by the same big-name companies churning out the products you know and love, says Joanna Pruess, author of Supermarket Confidential." Trader Joe's fans in the house, can I get a what-what?... More

For Those with Barcode Scanners Lying Around...

Grocist, which keeps track of your scanned-in packages as you discard them, puts together an automatic grocery list for your household. Someday they hope to integrate with Peapod or send relevant coupons your way. I wouldn't run out and buy a barcode scanner, but if you happen to own one... Personally, I favor Post-Its.... More

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