We're comparing prices of ten grocery staples at three stores to find out where you can score the best deals.

Ally Sorrells

While Whole Foods is notorious for its hefty price tags and 'Whole Paycheck' nickname, Costco's membership fees have us wondering whether their low prices are actually worth it. And when you throw Trader Joe's into the mix, finding the best deals on groceries can get a little hazy.

To make things easier, we've done some hardcore price sleuthing to find the price breakdown for 10 essential items that you probably already have on your grocery list!

Apples

To make our lives easier, Trader Joe's lists their fruit prices per item. But since Costco and Whole Foods list the price per pound, we had to break out our math skills using the general rule of thumb that three medium-sized apples equal a pound. We also know that apples are a divisive subject, so we got the price breakdown for a few different varieties:

Honeycrisp Apples

  • Costco: $1.09/apple
  • Whole Foods: $1.16/apple
  • Trader Joe's: $1.49/apple

Fuji Apples

  • Trader Joe's: .49 cents/apple
  • Whole Foods: .50 cents/apple
  • Costco: .61 cents/apple

Looks like we'll be hitting up Costco to get our hands on some infamously expensive Honeycrisps to make a delicious Apple & Fennel Salad with Blue Cheese. As for Fuji apples, it looks like TJ's wins this round.

Related: Every Kind of Apple & What to Use Them For

Bananas

At TJ's, the low price of 19 cents per banana always has us buying more 'nanas than we need. I mean, can you really beat 19 cents a banana? Apparently, you can! Consider us schooled.

  • Costco: .15 cents/banana
  • Whole Foods: .16 cents/banana
  • Trader Joe's: .19 cents/banana

Related: 5 Ways to Use Overripe Bananas

Spring Mix

Costco *might* once again win this round, but it really depends on how much salad mix you need.

  • Costco: .25 cents/ounce
  • Whole Foods .31 cents/ounce
  • Trader Joe's: .40 cents/ounce

If you don't think you can get through a whole pound of greens before they go bad, you may just want to opt for Trader Joe's 5-ounce bag for $1.99. Whatever option you decide to go with, make sure to use up your greens in some of our best salad recipes.

Related: 5 Reasons to Buy Dark Leafy Greens

Brussels Sprouts

With all of their wonderful health benefits, we can't get enough of these little guys. Whether using them in this Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Lemon-Chile Vinaigrette & Toasted Hazelnuts or for these Garlic-Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts, we're always sure to toss a few bags into our cart before leaving the produce section.

  • Trader Joe's: .16 cents/ounce
  • Costco: .19 cents/ounce
  • Whole Foods: .25 cents/ounce

Related: How to Cook Brussels Sprouts So They're Actually Delicious

Avocados

Let's be honest, the rise in avocado prices is why we *really* wanted to write this article. Although they're notoriously expensive-and apparently aren't going to be getting cheaper anytime soon-we can't help our obsession for this Avocado Toast with Burrata or these super tasty guacamole recipes. From individual avocados to six-count bags, there are a few tactics to get your hands on the cheapest avocados out there. Here's the breakdown:

  • Whole Foods 6-count bag: .78 cents/avocado
  • Costco 6-count bag: $1.17/avocado
  • Whole Foods: $1.49/avocado
  • Trader Joe's 4-count bag: $1.50/avocado
  • Whole Foods 4-count bag: $1.50/avocado
  • Trader Joe's: $1.79/avocado

If you love avocados as much as we do, we suggest picking up the six-count bag from Whole Foods. If you think it's impossible to eat six avocados before they go bad, Whole Foods still wins this round, ringing up $.30 less than the single avos at Trader Joe's (sadly, Costco doesn't dabble with single avocados).

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Guacamole

Dried Fruit

Here's the price breakdown for three different types of dried fruit, so you can get the most bang for your buck when making healthy trail mix at home:

Raisins

  • Costco: .16 cents/ounce
  • Trader Joe's: .19 cents/ounce
  • Whole Foods: .27 cents/ounce

Cranberries

  • Costco: .14 cents/ounce
  • Trader Joe's: .31 cents/ounce
  • Whole Foods (Bulk): .31 cents/ounce

Apricots

  • Costco: .15 cents/ounce
  • Trader Joe's: .25 cents/ounce
  • Whole Foods: .56 cents/ounce

Related: Dried Fruit Compote with Green Tea & Lemon

Almonds

With 37 percent of your daily Vitamin E in a one-ounce serving, we love to keep a bag of almonds on-hand for an afternoon snack. Since nuts can get a little pricey, we know you'll appreciate this price comparison as much as we do:

  • Costco: .25 cents/ounce
  • Trader Joe's: .37 cents/ounce
  • Whole Foods (Bulk): .52 cents/ounce

With bulk almonds from Costco, you'll have good reason to start using the nut in everything from salads to bread. Here are some of our best almond recipes to make sure you put your three-pound bag of almonds to good use!

Parmesan Cheese

Whether we're sprinkling it on these Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Cauliflower or using it in Noodle-Less Butternut Squash Lasagna, we're a sucker for this Italian cheese. Here's the price breakdown for the kitchen staple:

  • Trader Giotto's Parmesan Cheese Wedge: .37 cents/ounce
  • Costco Parmesan: .67 cents/ounce
  • Whole Foods Antica Formaggeria Parmesan Cheese Wedge: $1.28/ounce

We were already big fans of Trader Joe's Italian line, but now we have even more reason to bring home a Trader Giotto's product and pretend like we're eating it from our balcony in Tuscany.

Related: 5 Reasons Cheese is Actually Good For Your Health

Quinoa

Although the prepackaged, microwavable bags of quinoa are easy, they can be loaded with weird preservatives and flavors. For more versatility, we love to keep a dry bag on-hand-whether we have plans for Almond Butter-Quinoa Blondies or a healthy quinoa salad. Here's the price breakdown:

  • Costco: .14 cents/ounce
  • Trader Joe's: .25 cents/ounce
  • Whole Foods (Bulk): .28 cents/ounce

Related: How to Cook Quinoa

Chickpeas

From Falafel to chickpea salads, a can of chickpeas is an essential ingredient for a well-stocked kitchen pantry. Here is the price breakdown (warning: the results may shock you!)

  • Trader Joe's: .05 cents/ounce
  • Whole Foods: .06 cents/ounce
  • Costco: N/A

You'll come out slightly ahead buying your chickpeas at Trader Joe's, but if you're already running into Whole Foods (for their cheap avocados, I presume) and need a can of chickpeas, these won't break the bank. As for Costco, I don't even want to talk about the level of disappointment I had after learning my local Costco didn't have chickpeas-ever heard of homemade hummus, Costco?

Related: How to Use the Liquid In a Can of Chickpeas

Nut Butters

If we could only eat one thing for a day, it would be nut butter. Full of healthy fats and satiating protein, it would keep us full (and very happy) for a while. To fuel our addiction, we made sure to stop by the nut butter aisle before leaving each store. Here's the price comparison for two different types of nut butters:

Almond Butter

  • Costco: .30 cents/ounce
  • Trader Joe's: .37 cents/ounce
  • Whole Foods: .39 cents/ounce

Peanut Butter

  • Costco: .09 cents/ounce
  • Trader Joe's: .12 cents/ounce
  • Whole Foods: .14 cents/ounce

Buying two 48-ounce jars of peanut butter from Costco seems a *bit* extra, but nut butter is one of those things that will stay good in your pantry for months-and, if you go through it at the same rate we do with all of these healthy peanut butter recipes, it'll be gone in no time!

Related: Which Nut Butter is Healthiest?

Advertisement