Norfolk County

Here’s how much more it costs you to buy your groceries online than in person

DEDHAM, Mass. — It’s not unusual for Naomi Ramirez to spend $300 or $400 a week on groceries for her family. She’s used online delivery services before, but she knows she’s saving money by shopping for her groceries in person.

“I feel like it’s a bit more expensive online than in the store. I feel like it’s better to just go to the store and buy what you need,” Ramirez said.

Boston 25 wanted to compare prices and find out how much more it costs to buy your groceries online versus in person. We went to the Dedham Stop & Shop to pick up these ten items:

  • Half gallon of 2% milk
  • Family Size Cheerios
  • Oreos
  • Red Baron pepperoni pizza
  • Dozen cage free eggs
  • Simply Orange juice
  • Sara Lee wheat bread
  • 2-liter Coca-Cola
  • Lays Classic potato chips
  • Skippy peanut butter

The total in-person cost was $45.76. When we used Instacart to shop for those same ten items from Stop & Shop, the price for the groceries alone was $5.44 more, and that was before adding any service and delivery fees or tip for the driver. The total through Instacart came to $55.20 with free delivery through an introductory offer.

The same ten items were $45.11 using Roche Bros. online shopping cart. At checkout, a $6.95 shop fee and $3 delivery fee was added to our total. There was also an option to tip the driver. The total for delivery via Roche Bros. came to $55.06 before a tip.

A Stop & Shop spokesperson acknowledged grocery prices are more expensive when using Instacart.

“Retailer prices in the Instacart marketplace, including Stop & Shop’s, are often higher than in-store pricing in order to cover the costs of Instacart’s platform and same day delivery services,” the spokesperson said in an email. “However, Stop & Shop offers the same everyday pricing as in-store for Pickup & Delivery orders placed on our website as well as the same prices as advertised in our weekly circular for online customers shopping our site.”

An Instacart spokesperson said online prices are set by the grocery chains.

“Retailers choose to offer different prices in-store than on the Instacart app [or] website,” the spokesperson said in an email. “Instacart has a ‘Stores to help you save’ section on the Home screen that helps customers discover value-driven stores including retailers that offer in-store pricing or loyalty savings.”

Consumer World founder Edgar Dworsky said if you’re dreading the grocery store experience, your best bet is to order online but opt to pick-up on site.

“There are some stores that will let you pay exactly the same thing as the store price and only add a small fee if you go to pick it up. That’s what I’d recommend,” Dworsky said.

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