NBC 15 takes you inside the local grocery war

Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013 --- 7:30pm

Google “grocery stores in Madison”and you're immediately met with a number of options. It can be overwhelming for any consumer to decide which store to choose.

Madison is home to a handful of grocery stores, including Hy-vee,Woodman's, Metcalfe's, and Copps. The list gets even bigger when you include specialty stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods and c-ops like the Willy Street Food Co-Op. So for now, let's just focus on the first four.
With the ever-growing price war among Hy-vee,Woodman's, Metcalfe's, and Copps, it can be time consuming to determine which is the cheapest. So, NBC 15 hit the aisles for you, bringing along a typical grocery list.
We rang up the same five items (same sizes, same brand) at each of the four stores:
1. Dean's 1% Milk-1 gallon
2. Pepperidge Farm Italian White Bread-20oz loaf
3. Eggland's Best-1 dozen large eggs
4. Cheerios-8.9oz box
5. Land O'Lakes Butter-8 half sticks

*Note: none of the items were on sale at time of purchase
The total price was the lowest ($14.41) at Woodman's and the highest ($16.61) at Metcalfe's.
Everyone likes a good deal, but is saving a couple of bucks the sole factor in deciding which store to choose? Customers NBC 15 spoke with say other factors are just as, if not even more, important when choosing where to buy groceries. While price was key, a majority of local consumers tell us quality is more important.

And luckily, if you're looking for quality, Madison shoppers can choose to to be picky, but that wasn't always the case.

We sat down with Kyle Stiegert, an Agricultural & Applied Economics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a look at how what stores need to do to stay competitive.

"If you have a completely captive market of consumers and you know they're not gonna switch, you have a lot of leverage in what you can price your products” says Stiegert.

But, consumers like that are few and far between, which is why you'll see stores vying for your loyalty using everything from in-store incentive cards to staying open all hours of the day.

Make a list of each store in your area. Jot down, next to each store name, its operating hours, if double coupons are accepted, and if they carry any specific brands you can't live without.

Then, tune into NBC 15 this Wednesday, November 27, at 6pm to find out which smartphone apps save you the most money, no matter which local store you decide to shop at.

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