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Which Grocery Store Is The Least Expensive (In Boston)?

Illustration of a cart full of groceries with a long receipt next to it

It depends on what you buy. Below we compare bananas, milk, and chicken across nine different stores in the city. It shows that Whole Foods has one of the least expensive bananas, Trader Joe's doesn't seem to sell chicken wings, and Star Market and Foodie's sell the most expensive milk.

🍌 Some stores only sell bunches instead of single bananas. Bunches typically range from 4-6 bananas and are outlined in the product description. We took the bunch price and divided it by the highest amount of bananas in the bunch to get the lowest price per banana.

🥛 Milk price is for 1 gallon of whole milk from the store brand.

🐓 Price is for chicken wings per pound.

🛒 Some stores do not display prices online, such as Tropical Foods and Daily Table. Stores like Market Basket, Cotsco, BJ's, Wegman's, and Walmart, may have cheaper prices, but weren't included because they are outside of the city. And for the stores that we did include, their online prices may be higher than the in-store prices for the same product.

🌱 Whole Foods is considered one of the most expensive grocery stores. So we highlighted it to make it easier to compare to other brands.

In our home, we used to shop at different stores to get everything off of our list. For example, we used to buy our plantains at Tropical Foods, it's a local supermarket that sells hard-to-find Caribbean and African foods. We also loved buying bulk nuts from Trader Joe's. They were delicious, raw, and had an excellent price. Finally, Cotsco (which is a small drive outside of Boston) has the best toilet paper. It's thick, soft, and also comes at an unbeatable price.

As our family grew, driving to different stores wasn't fun anymore.

How Many Grocery Stores Do You Use?

  • 1

  • 2

  • 3+

  • None! We grow our food or use the farmers' market.

We ended up using grocery delivery, and saw our grocery spending almost double. We believe this is partly due to naturally rising costs over the years due to inflation.

According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), Suffolk county families (which includes Boston) spent an average of $1,156.33 on groceries a month in 2023. Here's the breakdown:

Family Size

Food Spend

a grandparent and grandchild



a dad with two children smiling while laying on a bed looking up



a dad carrying a baby while dancing with his other two children



"family" written in the sand at a beach



a couple lovingly embracing each other outside



a dad wears a baby on his shoulder while the mom smiles close by



parents carry their children on their backs



a family of five sit on a couch and pose



a mom gently holds her newborns feet in her hands



p=parent, c=child; food spend per month

These numbers would probably be different depending on the ages of the children (and their appetite). EPI assumes that children ranged from 4 to 16 years old. They also utilized the "low-cost plan" from the USDA (US Department of Agriculture), "which assumes that almost all food is bought at a grocery store and then prepared at home." In other words, these families don't eat out.

In regards to family size, EPI included a single person with no children as a family, but we didn't include them (sorry!). We also realized that toiletries may not be considered a part of a grocery budget, even though they are often sold at grocery stores. Now that you have a better understanding of what is (and is not included in this data), do you think these numbers accurately represent your family's food budget?

Until next time...

Love The Journey,

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