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the eGullet Shopping Cart

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Whenever I get on eG Forums, I'm astonished at the global reach of our members. This got me thinking: what if we used our worldwide distribution network to do a little informal research?

Thus I present the eGullet Shopping Cart. Below you'll find a list of four dozen items, all of which would be considered staples for at least some of the folks in our Society and none of which is prepared food (unless you count bacon, coffee, bread, and a few other things as "prepared," I guess!). Your job, should you accept it, is to share with us your own staples shopping list and the cost of each item on it. Don't worry if you only get a few of the items on the list; next time you shop, you can find a few more. It's my hope that we can start a conversation about what we can and do buy and what our food costs across the regions that our Society reaches.

Before we start, a few suggestions. First and foremost, make sure that we can see where you're from, or else this thread won't mean very much. Here's how:

  • 1. click "Options" near the top of any page where your log in status is listed;
    2. click "Edit Profile Info" to go to your personal information;
    3. go to the "Your Location" field and type away.

Second, I've intentionally kept these categories pretty general; there's no specification of provenance, brand, grade, size, and so on. So, when you add your items, let us know what type they are and if they're organic, generic, choice, artisanal, and so on.

Finally, a couple of resources. Here's the XE.com currency converter, which might be useful for comparison's sake. This Holt, Rinehart, and Winston world atlas allows for you to click on continents and countries to get a sense of folks' locations.

And, without further ado, here's the base list. Coming up with a complete list is impossible, of course, so you'll want to add your own staples when you share. Weights should be 2 lb or 1 kg, and liquid measures should be 1 quart or liter; indicate any other amounts in your responses:

  • beef (chuck)
    chicken, whole
    beans (dried)
    pasta/noodles (dried)
    cooking oil
    olive oil
    sesame oil
    soy sauce

So who's in?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Chris - what a wonderful thread! I regret that my memory is so terrible I never remember what I pay for things ... but the next time I get to a regular grocery store (wholesale club prices OK?) I'll take notes.

I can't wait to see some results. Shopping in my little region of Canada and certain US states I know that the prices vary like crazy.

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Great start!

I'll play, but can you suggest specific amounts of each

Do you mean 2lb or 1Kg as more comparable?

Also should we convert to a common weight/currency?

Jack, you're right that I meant 2 lb/1 kg, not the other way around. I fixed that above. As for amounts, I've suggested weight and liquid amounts, but for other items (limes, say) we'll have to do a bit of math, I'm afraid. And can you add your location to your info so others know whence you hail?

Do you want me to convert in US and Euro?

That would be great! It's why I added the converter above.

Oh, and as for which sorts of prices: I think that warehouse, farmstand, supermarket... you name it. Getting a sense of the variety is part of what would make this really fascinating.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I'm in! This will be interesting.

question.. I can get, say, the exact same apples for very different prices depending on where I shop (supermarket, open air market, fancy greengrocers). Which price would you like? The one I actually pay, or some sort of average?

edited to add: thanks Chris, you answered my question before I even asked it.. :smile:

Edited by Chufi (log)
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Here are prices from he UK, from the Tesco web site.

Add £5 for home delivery

I've chosen mostly organic, since that is what I buy. Maybe 20% cheaper not organic.

Lining up tables is a pain!

                                       £/kg              $/lb
beef (chuck)              organic      5.00              3.93
bacon                     organic      9.95               7.82
chicken, whole            organic      4.24               3.33
salmon                     fillet      6.48               5.10
shrimp  organic, peeled, jumbo        18.00              14.15
cabbage        organic    1.29    1.01
carrots        organic    0.90    0.71
chiles                    6.40    5.03
corn            each      0.29    0.23
garlic    each organic    0.22    0.17
mushrooms    organic baby 6.54    5.14
olives                    4.75    3.74
onions    organic cooking 1.04    0.82
potatoes   organic baking 1.00    0.79
squash                    1.52    1.20
apples     organic cox    1.75    1.38
bananas        organic    1.29    1.01
coconuts          each    0.39  
lemons                    0.96    0.75
limes            each     0.16  
mangoes    each organic   0.79  
oranges                   0.75    0.59
tomatoes   organic        1.96    1.54
beans (dried)  Haricot    1.46    1.15
flour          organic    0.65    0.51
pasta       organic penne 1.78    1.40
rice     organic basmati  2.36    1.86
sugar                     0.72    0.57
cooking oil ltr org sunflower 1.66    1.31
olive oil    ltr org EVOO     5.40    4.25
sesame oil                    5.52    4.34
soy sauce                     5.87    4.62
vinegar              malt     0.58    0.46
butter    organic unsalted    3.28    2.58
cream    organic              3.10    2.44
eggs  organic large FR each   0.24  
yogurt    organic greek       1.20    0.94
milk    organic SS            0.62    0.49
cinnamon  ground    11    8.65
paprika    ground   31    24.38
pepper  black corns 16    12.58
saffron            436   342.85
vanilla             85.5   67.23
beer    Alsace        1.11    0.87
bread basic white     0.40    0.31
coffee Java ground    9.60    7.55
juice OJ litre        0.38    0.30
tea premium teabags   3.20    2.52

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Chris - what a wonderful thread!  I regret that my memory is so terrible I never remember what I pay for things ... but the next time I get to a regular grocery store (wholesale club prices OK?) I'll take notes.

Same here. I need to go to the store and take some notes and refer to a sales receipt! Maybe this will help me remember prices in the future, and be able to recognize a bargain when I see one.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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I stopped at Costco to get a few things, and then needed to stop at the regular supermarket (for the pharmacy), so I did some price comparisons:

Milk (1%), 1 gallon: Costco $2.05 Supermarket $3.59

Butter: Costco $6.05 for four pounds Supermarket $3.49/lb.

Flour Tortillas: Costco $2.99 for 36 Supermarket $1.69 for 12

Eggs: Costco 2 18-packs $2.99 Supermarket $1.69 for 18 (or 2.38 for 2 18-packs)

Shredded cheese: Costco $5.29 for 2 pounds Supermarket $2.25 for 8 oz ($9/2 lbs.)

Asparagus at the supermarket was $1.99/lb (from Chile)

Chuck roasts were $2.98/lb, but I did nab a package that was reduced for quick sale for $1.24/lb. (Reduced for quick sale happens with the meat get to two days of it's "sell or freeze) by date.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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The beef and chicken are Kosher.

beef (ground, 500g) 13NIS 2.75USD 1.60GBP

chicken, whole 26NIS 5.51USD 3.19GBP

artichokes 1kg 4.99NIS 1.05USD 0.61GBP

apples (1kg) 8NIS 1.69USD .98GBP

lemons (1kg) 7NIS 1.48USD .86GBP

mangoes (in season, 1kg) 3NIS .63USD .36GBP

Jaffa oranges (1kg, in season) 2NIS .42USD .24GBP

tomatoes (right now, 1kg) 2.15NIS .45USD .26GBP

asparagus (300g) 14NIS 2.97USD 1.72GBP

Red, green and yellow peppers (1kg) 6NIS 1.27USD .73GBP

Flour (all purpose 1kg) 2.75NIS .58USD .33GBP

rice 1kg (persian white rice) 3.50NIS .74USD .43GBP

white sugar 1kg 7.89NIS 1.67USD .96GBP

honey 1kg 36NIS 7.62USD 4.40GBP

evoo olive oil (1ltr) 30NIS 6.36USD 3.68GBP

fruit yogurt (1 individual container) 3.50NIS .74USD .43GBP

sheep yogurt (850g) 17.19NIS 3.64USD 2.11GBP

sheep labane (250g) 8.99NIS 1.90USD 1.10GBP

cinnamon (100g) 7NIS 1.48USD .86GBP

bread (artisanal/gourmet bread 1kg) 12NIS 2.54USD 1.47GBP

coffee (1/4kg, gourmet coffee) 45NIS 9.54USD 5.52GBP

juice (orange 2liters, freshly squeezed Jaffa oranges) 18NIS 3.81USD 2.21GBP

mango juice 1 liter 4NIS .84USD .49GBP

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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This thread is a wonderful idea.

It would be interesting to compare reports from the same city, state or region to see how different costs are when members shop at different stores, buy in bulk, chose organic over conventional, visit the local farmers's market...

Chris's proposal reminds me very much of The Hungry Planet, a book that I would nominate as best food-related publication of 2005.*

*Various food writers contribute essays to a project realized by a husband-wife team who traveled throughout the world documenting the food habits of families who they introduce standing next to a week's supply of groceries. Tallied in the margins are the family's weekly expenses, offered in tandem with national statistics. Chad, Greenland, Australia, Germany.... Absolutely fascinating and wonderfully illuminated by the photographs.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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All prices sourced from the local supermarket or greengrocer unless otherwise stated.

beef (chuck)        $8.00    $2.66
bacon               $11.00   $3.66
"chicken, whole"    $4.29    $1.43    (Supermarket mass fed chicken)
salmon              $27.00   $8.98    (Tasmanian Salmon Filets)
shrimp              $15.00   $4.99    (Large, uncooked, green shrimp)
cabbage             $2.00    $0.67
carrots             $1.00    $0.33
corn                $1.00    $0.73    (for pack of 2)
garlic              $3.00    $1.00    ($1.50 for pack of 500gm)
mushrooms           $6.00    $2.00    (button & flat)
onions              $1.00    $0.33    (brown, cooking)
potatoes            $1.50    $0.50
squash              $1.50    $0.50
apples              $3.00    $1.00    (From $3 - $6 or so depending on type)
bananas             $2.00    $0.67
lemons              $5.00    $1.66
limes               $-.--    $-.--    (Varies too much from place to place)
oranges             $2.00    $0.67    (Navel)
tomatoes            $7.00    $2.33    (Truss tomatos. These were $3 or so just a month ago :()
beans (dried)       $4.00    $1.33    (Red Kidney)
flour               $1.00    $0.33
pasta/noodles       $2.00    $0.67
rice                $1.00    $0.33    (in 25kg lots)
sugar               $1.50    $0.50
cooking oil         $2.00    $0.67    (Canola)
olive oil           $10.00   $3.33    (EVOO)
butter              $2.80    $0.93    ($1.40 for 500gm, "european" style cultured)
cream               $7.50    $2.49    (About $2.50 for 375mL)
eggs                $2.50    $1.83    (per dozen, non free range)
yogurt              $4.00    $1.33
milk                $1.25    $0.86    (AUD per L, USD per quart, non organic)
beer                $3.00    $2.20    (per bottle of mid range)
bread               $4.00    $2.93    (per loaf)
juice               $2.00    $1.38    (AUD per L, USD per quart, non organic)

PS: I am a guy.

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Hey, I'll play! :biggrin: Okay, the majority of these prices are from the local supermarket (Von's), for the most generic/on sale version of the product, unless noted. Just for grins I multiplied almost *everything* out to the price for either two pounds' or one quart's worth (as appropriate to the item). Obviously few non-commercial bakers buy a quart of vanilla extract at a time (and besides, I assume commercial bakers buy at wholesale prices through specialized suppliers rather than from a supermarket), but it amused me to see what a full quart of supermarket vanilla extract might cost.

beef (chuck) $5.98

bacon $6.72

chicken, whole $1.98

salmon $11.98 (atlantic fillets, color added)

shrimp $13.98 (frozen uncooked in-shell)

cabbage $1.38 (bok choy)

carrots $1.29 (raw fresh)

chiles $2.98 (fresh jalapenos)

corn $2.98 (frozen)

garlic $3.98 (fresh raw)

mushrooms $2.80 (plain white button mushrooms

olives $17.28 (Mezzetta jarred Calamatas)

onions $1.38

potatoes $1.32 (red-skinned potatoes)

squash $1.98 (acorn squash, whole)

apples $1.98

bananas $1.38

lemons $2.49

oranges $1.00

tomatoes $5.98

beans (dried) $1.38

flour $0.40 (Gold Medal AP unbleached)

pasta (dried) $1.38 (Trader Joe's)

rice $1.92 (Botan Calrose--pro-rated from 5lb bag)

sugar $1.60 (granulated white sugar--prorated from 5lb bag)

cooking oil $2.88 (store brand canola oil)

olive oil $8.32 (store brand evoo)

sesame oil $20.80 (Sun Luck)

vinegar $4.48 (Star red wine vinegar)

butter $7.00 (store brand unsalted stick butter)

cream $5.76 (whipping cream)

eggs $6.08 (liquid low-fat egg substitute)

yogurt $2.74 (lowfat plain yogurt)

milk $1.49 (1% milk)

cinnamon $20.80

paprika $17.92

pepper $17.92

vanilla $112.00 (pro-rated from 2 fl. Oz. for 6.99)

beer $4.16 (domestic microbrew--$6.29/4-12oz bottles)

bread $4.16 (2.99/24-oz multigrain loaf)

coffee $18.56 (Millstone whole-bean coffee)

juice $2.00 (Organo-groovy berry 100% juice blend

tea $3.65/20 teabags (couldn't find a bulk tea price!)

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Figures I'd follow Ellen into this exercise.

This is the first of several posts you will see from me on this subject, as I don't buy all of these staples on every grocery trip and don't always pay attention to the prices of the ones I do buy.

But I will advise you as to location and type of price. Prices will be expressed as per Chris' instructions. My main shopping venues are, in order of frequency of patronage:

--A Super Fresh supermarket at 10th and South streets, the closest major supermarket to me.

--An Acme supermarket at 1400 East Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia, about a 20- to 25-minute walk from me. This store is part of the dominant supermarket chain in metropolitan Philadelphia and usually has better (or at least more) sale prices than does Super Fresh. The two stores' regular prices are comparable.

--The Reading Terminal Market, three blocks north of me at 12th and Filbert. I refer you to the ongoing "Reading Terminal Market" thread on the Pennsylvania board to get a feel for this emporium, one of America's finest public markets.

--The Ninth Street ("Italian") Market, which I can go through on the way to the Acme or from the Acme to the Super Fresh and Whole Foods. If you saw the first "Rocky" movie, you've seen this bit of authentic Philly.

--A Whole Foods Market across 10th Street from the Super Fresh. They don't call this chain "Whole Paycheck" for nothing.

Today I bought:

bacon $5.98 (Acme, store brand, sale price)

coffee $5.36 (Super Fresh, Maxwell House French roast, sale price)

juice $1.38 (Acme, Langers, strawberry-peach/strawberry-watermelon blend, sale price)

Yesterday, I picked up (*observed the prices on) the following items at the Reading Terminal Market:

carrots $0.98* (loose, large carrots; all prices Iovine's Produce unless otherwise noted)

garlic $5.98

mushrooms $3.98 (plain white button mushrooms)

$5.98 (Crimini)

$9.98 (shiitake)

tomatoes $1.98 (US dry quart [volume], grape variety, O.K. Lee Produce, sale price)

More dispatches from the field on the next shopping trip.

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I think that what we call Persian rice here is probably Basmati rice.

The Persian varieties are champa, rasmi, anbarbu, mowlai, sadri, khanjari, shekari, doodi, and others. I don't speak Parsi, so I don't know what they are in English and I am not sure if these types are available elsewhere.

I will have to ask a Persian friend of mine here.

We import our rice from the US, Thailand, Korea and India.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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I can give you a list from Hilo, Hawai'i!  But, like SuzySushi said, do you want to include sale/wholesale/club prices?  And what about farmers markets?  Most of my produce comes from there locally. :)

Should I be giving prices for what I buy or for what's commonly available? Should I make a trip to a supermarket for this survey?

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I can give you a list from Hilo, Hawai'i!  But, like SuzySushi said, do you want to include sale/wholesale/club prices?  And what about farmers markets?  Most of my produce comes from there locally. :)

Should I be giving prices for what I buy or for what's commonly available? Should I make a trip to a supermarket for this survey?

My list are things that I buy and have in the house right now. You shouldn't have to make a special trip.

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I second the recommendation for Hungry Planet, and the excitement I have about this thread, which reminds me very much of the book. I'll be participating; I do a majority of my grocery shopping at individual shops in Pittsburgh's Strip District, but also go to Giant Eagle, our primary local chain, from time to time. I will provide prices from both.

One price I can give you is that of beer. :biggrin: A six-pack of 12-(US)ounce Straub bottles is $7.50 at most any bar and the carryout near my house. A case of 24 16-ounce bottles is $15.99 to $17.99 plus a bottle deposit of $1.50.


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