Wichita Metro, Grocery Store Prices Feed

Eggs prices drop, but year-over-year grocery prices are up in Wichita

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Where do you prefer to grocery shop?  Aldi, Walmart, the mainstream grocery store? 

Shoppers tend to be loyal to a particular store, we're creatures of habit after all. Some folks like Aldi because of the consistently low prices and name brands aren't a concern. Others favor Dillons because of the loyalty card and fuel points. Then there are those who do their regular grocery shopping at Walmart liking the one-stop shopping convenience for clothes, home & garden, and other general merchandise.

Here's this month's side-by-side Wichita Metro comparison of grocery store prices for Aldi, Walmart, and Dillon's (Kroger, a.k.a. the mainstream grocery store), plug in the name of the mainstream grocery store in your neck of the woods here, ie., Meijer, HyVee, Publix, Albertsons, etc.   Odds are that mainstream is going to be the most expensive of the three from week to week.

Covering the basics with a focus on store brands, this month's list, dated April 3, 2024, has 25 items, a review of essentials for this Wichita Metro grocery shop edition.

Of note, in a same-store comparison to the previous review from last month, March 5, 2024, prices are mixed.  Aldi shoppers would have spent $1.10 more for the same items purchased a month ago.  Dillons shoppers paid $1.41 more, and Walmart shoppers spent $0.60 less with this shop.    

Prices stated are online prices and for items available at the time of the review. Remember that the featured items are the store brand for each respective store unless otherwise labeled. Prices can vary from store to store, as store managers have the flexibility to adjust prices, lower or higher. Aldi does not have the flexibility of the other stores reviewed. Prices are good as of this writing and could change by the time you make that grocery run.

  • Aldi:  8011 E Kellogg Ave, Wichita, KS 67207
  • Dillons: 9450 E. Harry St., Wichita, KS 67207
  • Walmart: 11411 E Kellogg Dr, Wichita, KS 67207

Grocery Store Prices 03Apr2024 W

Takeaways from this month's price review:

  • Aldi remains the lowest in online pricing of the three stores, it's consistent every month.  Keep in mind their online prices are higher than in-store prices, so you'll spend even less than what's listed when shopping in-store. Aldi uniquely does this to cover their employee cost of personal shopping for your delivery or pickup order.  Check out the price for chicken.  It's the same chicken as the other stores, Tyson does the private labeling for Aldi under the Kirkwood brand.     Other notables, Aldi has the overall best prices for meat, such as bacon, ground beef, and lunchmeat.    
  • The Dillons online pricing is the same as in-store.  Dillons is always the highest-priced grocer overall from month to month.  Just look at all the red in the Dillons price column reflecting the highest price for a given item!  The price gap in this grocery shop, Dillons vs. Aldi was $6.44.  The Dillons price gap with Walmart was $5.58.  Dillons shoppers might be able to make up those gaps with loyalty card savings and fuel points, but it's a coin toss.  If you're curious about how the Dillons loyalty card plays a role, check out the related article link, "Mainstream Grocery vs. Discount Grocery: Dillon's (Kroger) vs. Aldi.   Of note, Dillons did NOT have the best price for any item.  There is NO green in their price column, a first since these reviews were started in late 2022.  They do have family packs of Heritage chicken breasts on sale at $2.99/lb, but that would drive up the out-of-pocket cost for budget buyers with an average family pack tray cost of $14.14.   Personal experience, Heritage chicken breasts are smaller and lower in quality vs. Tyson.
  • The Walmart online pricing is the same as for in-store.   Walmart consistently finishes second in overall price each month and in this review, they have the most green in their price column, but not on enough items to be the lowest overall.  Like Dillons, Walmart is selling family packs of chicken breasts, with a Great Value price of $2.67/lb.  The average weight of the family pack tray of 6 pounds ($11.96 avg. price) vs. the typical 2.25-pound standard Tyson tray ($8.95 avg. price). That's an out-of-pocket price gap for budget buyers of $3.01.
  • A significant drop in egg prices:  Last month, a dozen eggs would cost you $2.85 at Aldi, $2.79 at Dillons, and $2.64 at Walmart.  Compare that to this month's prices of $2.29 at Aldi ($0.56 less), $2.29 at Dillons ($0.50 less), and $2.06 at Walmart ($0.58 less).  Prices are a far cry from January 2023, when the price for eggs in the Wichita Metro was a whopping $4.99 per dozen or more!   
  • Year-over-year grocery prices are up.  An increase, even if slight, is still an increase.  The same cartload of groceries is costing you 2.75% more than it did a year ago.

Don't see some essential items that you think should be on the list?  Please comment.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike


Ham Prices in Wichita

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Have you bought your Easter Ham yet?

What is your favorite cut of ham, boneless, bone-in, spiral cut, hickory smoked, honey, brown sugar, or maple glaze?

Here are the online prices as of this writing for various cuts of ham at popular locations in the Wichita Metro:

Ham Prices in Wichita

Key takeaways from the list:

The highlights in gold reflect store vs. store pricing for the same product.   Dillons for example charges more than Walmart for a Farmland Hickory Smoked Ham.  Those hams average about three pounds, so you would save about $1.14 buying the Farmland product at Walmart.  Walmart also has the lowest price for the Hormel Cure 81 Ham, a savings of $0.71 per pound compared to both Dillons and Target.

If you don't like to do a lot of carving, consider a spiral-sliced ham.  Many ham options these days come with a flavoring, or glaze, honey, brown sugar, or maple for example.  But if you want a more robust ham flavor, go with a bone-in variety.  Meat on the bone usually has a deeper flavor than its boneless counterpart.  

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

Related: Food Review: Kirkland Signature Spiral Sliced Ham

Related: Food Review: Appleton Farms Spiral Ham


Kroger Delivers Convenience and Fresh for Springtime Travelers

Retailer offers quick, hassle-free options ahead of a busy travel season

CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) is sharing quick and easy spring break travel prep ideas, delivering fresh products, friendly service and affordable prices directly to customers' destinations.

"Whether you're planning a road trip to visit family and friends, gearing up for relaxation on the beach or seeking thrills at your favorite theme park, we look forward to connecting more customers to Kroger Delivery," said Rebekah Manis, Senior Director, Kroger Delivery Fulfillment Centers. "Our service enables us to meet our customers' needs during special moments like family vacations, providing exceptional friendly service from our best-in-class uniformed drivers, and a personalized shopping experience with zero-compromise on convenience, value and selection."

When preparing for vacation, the retailer recommends travelers check Kroger Delivery availability at their destination to stock up on vacation essentials when away from home. For customer's looking for easy snack and meal solutions during a getaway, be sure to check out these easy recipes from Kroger's blog, The Fresh Lane:

Take it on the road:

Make it at your destination:

Kroger Delivery brings fresh food and high-quality ingredients directly to customers' doorsteps, with zero compromise on affordability, convenience or selection. Customers can find great prices and easy recipes at Kroger.com or the Kroger app, with more than $600 in savings available in digital coupons. Customers can also take advantage of Kroger's 5X digital coupon event happening through March 26.

Save even more with Boost by Kroger Plus, the delivery membership that can save customers up to $1,000 per year on fuel and grocery delivery. Eligible customers can now try the Boost membership with a free 30-day trial and subscribe on a monthly basis for as little as $7.99. 

About Kroger

At The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), we are Fresh for Everyone™ and dedicated to our Purpose: To Feed the Human Spirit®. We are, across our family of companies, nearly half a million associates who serve over 11 million customers daily through a seamless shopping experience under a variety of banner names. We are committed to creating #ZeroHungerZeroWaste communities by 2025. To learn more about us, visit our newsroom and investor relations site.


Kroger Debuts New Our Brands Seafood Items

Affordable and easy-to-prepare seafood products for delicious, chef-curated meals at home

CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) today debuted several new Our Brands seafood products, making seafood at home more accessible and easier than ever with fresh meal solutions prepared in the oven, microwave and air fryer.

"Seafood at home has never been so quick, easy and delicious," said Juan De Paoli, vice president, Our Brands for Kroger. "Simplifying weeknight meals, elevating a family dinner or putting a new spin on a classic seafood favorite, Our Brands' new offerings have something for everyone—no expertise required. From Private Selection®, Kroger® Brand and Home Chef®, enjoy our chef-curated meal solutions."

Private Selection's new line of oven and microwave-ready options is bringing customers delicious, top-quality seafood in as little as seven minutes, including:

Also new from Our Brands are sustainably sourced seafood favorites from salmon to calamari. Introduce something fresh into the weeknight meal rotation and try:

For chefs looking to flex their seafood home cooking skills, check out these scrumptious recipes from the Fresh Lane, like deviled crab stuffed tomatoes, oven-baked salmon fish sticks, scallop corn cakes and more seafood dishes.

Kroger also offers easy-for-you seafood options at the retailer's seafood counters. Customers simply select a fish of their choice along with custom seasonings and garnishes. Selections are prepared for free in-store by associates in an oven ready bag for a no fuss meal.

For additional seafood products and savings, visit Kroger.com or the Kroger app, with more than $600 in savings available weekly in digital coupons. From ingredients and recipes to savings and rewards, customers are a swipe away from inspiration to reality.

Customers can shop these items and more in-store or through Kroger Pickup and Delivery, offering the same fresh products at the same low prices no matter how they shop. Save even more with Boost by Kroger Plus, the delivery membership that can save customers up to $1,000 per year on fuel and grocery delivery. Eligible customers can now try the Boost membership with a free 30-day trial and subscribe on a monthly basis for as little as $7.99. 

Kroger Family of Companies Rewards World Elite Mastercard® eligible cardmembers may now redeem a free one-year, next-day Boost membership or cardholders who are current annual Boost members may receive a free one-year extension of their next-day Boost membership. To learn more and redeem this Kroger Rewards World Elite Mastercard® cardmember offer visit the Boost Membership Benefits page.  

*The creditor and issuer of the Kroger Family of Companies Rewards World Elite Mastercard® is U.S. Bank National Association, pursuant to a license from Mastercard International Incorporated.

About Kroger
At The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), we are dedicated to our Purpose: To Feed the Human Spirit™. We are, across our family of companies nearly half a million associates who serve over 11 million customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and retail food stores under a variety of banner names, serving America through food inspiration and uplift, and creating #ZeroHungerZeroWaste communities by 2025. To learn more about us, visit our newsroom and investor relations site.


America’s Low-Price Leader ALDI Expands Footprint Nationwide with 800 New Stores by the End of 2028

Organic growth coupled with the completion of the Southeastern Grocers acquisition will help bring great products at the lowest possible prices to even more communities

Aldi LogoBATAVIA, Ill., – ALDI, one of the fastest-growing grocers in the U.S., today announced plans to add 800 stores nationwide by the end of 2028 through a combination of new openings and store conversions. This five-year expansion plan will bring even more communities great products at the lowest possible prices during a time when consumers are more focused than ever on saving money. As a key part of its plans, ALDI also announced the successful completion of its acquisition of Southeastern Grocers and its Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket banners, which will drive significant growth in the Southeast region over the next few years.

“Our growth is fueled by our customers, and they are asking for more ALDI stores in their neighborhoods nationwide,” said Jason Hart, CEO, ALDI. “With up to 40% savings on groceries, new customers are inspired to try us out, and existing customers keep coming back. While price is important, we earn their loyalty by stocking our shelves with only the best products and offering a quicker, easier, and more enjoyable shopping experience. With this commitment to add 800 stores in the next five years, we’ll be where our shoppers need us while positively impacting the communities we serve.”

ALDI will invest more than $9 billion over the next five years on its national expansion, adding new locations across the country. As part of its growth trajectory, ALDI will strengthen its already strong presence in the Northeast and Midwest, adding nearly 330 stores across both regions by the end of 2028. ALDI will also grow its presence in the West by adding more stores in Southern California and Phoenix — and by entering new cities, like Las Vegas.

“For more than a decade, ALDI has added hundreds of stores per year across the country,” added Hart. “This success would not be possible without our dedicated team members and supplier partners that bring our customers value and convenience every day. With our growth comes exciting opportunities for our teams and suppliers to grow with us.”

In the Southeast, the acquisition of Southeastern Grocers and its Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket banners support ALDI expansion in a key region. In addition to organic growth through new store openings, a significant number of Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarkets will convert to the ALDI format over the next several years. Starting mid-summer, ALDI will begin a phased approach to the store conversion process. ALDI anticipates that approximately 50 stores will begin the conversion process during the latter half of 2024, with the majority of these stores reopening as ALDI in 2025. As announced last August, ALDI intends for a meaningful amount of Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarkets to continue to operate under their current banners. Both ALDI and Southeastern Grocers are committed to a seamless transition and continuing to deliver excellent value and customer service to their shoppers.

"With a long history of serving the Southeast, our steadfast commitment to helping our customers stretch their hard-earned dollars has remained a constant priority,” said Anthony Hucker, President and CEO, Southeastern Grocers. “As we begin this next chapter, we will continue to deliver the quality, service and value our customers have come to expect from us.”

“With the acquisition of Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarkets, ALDI will serve even more communities in the Southeast, bringing us closer to our customers in a region where we’ve already experienced significant demand for affordable, quality groceries,” said Hart. “As we look ahead to this next chapter in our company history, both the ALDI and SEG teams will play a critical role in driving the business forward for our future collective success.”

As ALDI expands its footprint with new and converted store locations, customers can expect the same experience that keeps millions of customers shopping its aisles every month. With easy-to-shop stores that get customers in and out, shelves stocked only with the best products at even better prices, and seasonal ALDI Finds that take grocery shopping from errand to adventure, ALDI continues to earn the loyalty of new customers with every community it enters. Throughout the expansion, ALDI remains committed to making a positive impact on communities and ensuring its environmental footprint doesn’t grow with it. As part of its growth, ALDI will build and remodel stores with sustainable features such as energy-efficient LED lighting, environmentally friendly refrigeration systems, rooftop solar systems and more.

About ALDI
ALDI is one of America’s fastest-growing retailers, serving millions of customers across the country each month. Our disciplined approach to operating with simplicity and efficiency gives our customers great products at the lowest possible prices. For seven years running, ALDI has been recognized by the dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index as #1 in Everyday Low Price.* ALDI strives to have a positive impact on its customers, employees and communities by being socially and environmentally responsible, earning ALDI recognition as a leading grocer in sustainability.** In addition to helping protect the planet, ALDI helps customers save time and money through convenient shopping options via in-store, curbside pickup or delivery at shop.aldi.us. For more information about ALDI, visit aldi.us.

*According to the dunnhumby® ©2024 Retailer Preference Index.
**According to Progressive Grocer’s 2023 Top 10 Most Sustainable Grocers list.

About Southeastern Grocers
Southeastern Grocers Inc. (SEG), parent company and home of Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, is an omnichannel retailer serving customers in brick-and-mortar grocery stores and liquor stores, as well as online with convenient grocery delivery and curbside pickup throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie are well-known and well-respected regional brands with deep heritages, strong neighborhood ties, proud histories of giving back, talented and caring associates and a strong commitment to providing the best possible quality and value to customers. For more information, visit www.harveyssupermarkets.com and www.winndixie.com.


Kroger Reveals Every Bunny's Favorite Easter Candy

Retailer shares America's top-selling candies and debuts exclusive Peeps® flavor

CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) is egg-cited to share America's favorite candies ahead of Easter. The retailer revealed it expects the Easter Bunny's top picks will be chocolate, jellybeans and candy eggs in several varieties and shared a brand-new Peeps® flavor available exclusively at Kroger.

"No one has better taste in candy than the Easter Bunny who is selecting a lot of egg-cellent treats to fill baskets this year," said Carlo Baldan, group vice president of Center Store Merchandising. "No need to hunt for low prices on Easter essentials at Kroger. We have every bunny covered with affordable holiday meal staples, everyday low prices and savings on candy and gifts to make the day extra hoppy."

America's favorite Easter candies are:

Do not miss 33% off all Easter candy March 6-March 12 with a digital coupon.

Easter bunnies looking to stock their baskets can find all the essentials at Kroger, including basket basics, gift cards and more. Check out these Easter must-haves:

Kroger is also bringing customers Easter family meal options for as little as $3 per person. No matter how families celebrate, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Visit The Fresh Lane to shop Easter menus, save and get inspired.

For customers who want to spend more time perfecting baskets and enjoying egg hunts, Home Chef is making Easter easier than ever with meal bundles available to order ahead for pickup or grab at Kroger Family of Stores. Options are plentiful with varieties like a Quiche meal serving four-six, a sides-only bundle and a la carte side and protein selections.

NEW this year is Home Chef's Easter Feast ($105): A bundle for 8-12 people—as little as $8.75 per person—made of delicious heat-and-eat dishes, including two proteins, that are easy to make and ready in as little as 6 minutes. Customers can order ahead here starting March 10. The feast includes:

  • Boneless Turkey
  • Bone-In Ham
  • White Cheddar Mac & Cheese (quantity: 3)
  • Green Bean Casserole (quantity: 2)
  • Scalloped Potatoes (quantity: 2)

Find even more great prices at Kroger.com or the Kroger app, with more than $600 in savings available weekly in digital coupons. From ingredients and recipes to savings and rewards, customers are a swipe away from inspiration to reality.

Customers can shop these Easter essentials and more in-store or through Kroger Pickup and Delivery, offering the same fresh products at the same low prices no matter how they shop. Save even more with Boost by Kroger Plus, the delivery membership that can save customers up to $1,000 per year on fuel and grocery delivery. Eligible customers can now try the Boost membership with a free 30-day trial and subscribe on a monthly basis for as little as $7.99. 

Kroger Family of Companies Rewards World Elite Mastercard® eligible cardmembers may now redeem a free one-year, next-day Boost membership or cardholders who are current annual Boost members may receive a free one-year extension of their next-day Boost membership. To learn more and redeem this Kroger Rewards World Elite Mastercard® cardmember offer visit the Boost Membership Benefits page.  

*The creditor and issuer of the Kroger Family of Companies Rewards World Elite Mastercard® is U.S. Bank National Association, pursuant to a license from Mastercard International Incorporated.

About Kroger
At The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), we are dedicated to our Purpose: To Feed the Human Spirit™. We are, across our family of companies nearly half a million associates who serve over 11 million customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and retail food stores under a variety of banner names, serving America through food inspiration and uplift, and creating #ZeroHungerZeroWaste communities by 2025. To learn more about us, visit our newsroom and investor relations site.


Egg prices in the Wichita Metro have more than doubled since last summer

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Where do you prefer to grocery shop?  Aldi, Walmart, the mainstream grocery store? 

Shoppers tend to be loyal to a particular store, we're creatures of habit after all. Some folks like Aldi because of the consistently low prices and name brands aren't a concern. Others favor Dillons because of the loyalty card and fuel points. Then there are those who do their regular grocery shopping at Walmart liking the one-stop shopping convenience for clothes, home & garden, and other general merchandise.

Here's this month's side-by-side Wichita Metro comparison of grocery store prices for Aldi, Walmart, and Dillon's (Kroger, a.k.a. the mainstream grocery store), plug in the name of the mainstream grocery store in your neck of the woods here, ie., Meijer, HyVee, Publix, Albertsons, etc.   Odds are that mainstream is going to be the most expensive of the three from week to week.

Covering the basics with a focus on store brands, this month's list, dated March 4, 2024, has two additional items - the St. Patrick's Day classics of Corned Beef & Cabbage - pushing the item count up two for a total of 27 items reviewed for this Wichita Metro grocery shop edition.    

Of note, in a same-store comparison to the previous review from last month, February 4, 2024, prices are up at all stores reviewed (not including the St. Patrick's Day purchase).  Aldi shoppers would have spent $0.58 more for the same items purchased a month ago.  Dillons shoppers paid $0.65 more, and Walmart shoppers spent $1.16 more with this shop.  Part of that increase is driven by higher egg prices, more details below.  

Prices stated are online prices and for items available at the time of the review. Remember that the featured items are the store brand for each respective store unless otherwise labeled. Prices can vary from store to store, as store managers have the flexibility to adjust prices, lower or higher. Aldi does not have the flexibility of the other stores reviewed. Prices are good as of this writing and could change by the time you make that grocery run.

  • Aldi:  8011 E Kellogg Ave, Wichita, KS 67207
  • Dillons: 9450 E. Harry St., Wichita, KS 67207
  • Walmart: 11411 E Kellogg Dr, Wichita, KS 67207

Grocery Store Prices 4Mar2024 W
Takeaways from this month's price review:

  • Aldi remains the lowest in online pricing of the three stores, it's consistent every month.  Keep in mind their online prices are higher than in-store prices, so you'll spend even less than what's listed when shopping in-store. Aldi uniquely does this to cover their employee cost of personal shopping for your delivery or pickup order.  Check out the price for chicken.  It's the same chicken as the other stores, Tyson does the private labeling for Aldi under the Kirkwood brand.     Other notables, Aldi has the best prices for Tilapia, ground beef, and lunchmeat.
  • The Dillons online pricing is the same as in-store.  Dillons is always the highest-priced grocer overall from month to month.  Just look at all the red in the Dillons price column reflecting the highest price for a given item!  The price gap in this grocery shop, Dillons vs. Aldi was $9.20.  The Dillons price gap with Walmart was $4.84.  Dillons shoppers probably won't make up the gap with loyalty card savings and fuel points vs. Aldi, but will come close vs. Walmart.  If you're curious about how the Dillons loyalty card plays a role, check out the related article link, "Mainstream Grocery vs. Discount Grocery: Dillon's (Kroger) vs. Aldi.   Of note, Dillons has the best price for bacon.  They also have one day remaining on a 'sale' of Tyson Chicken Breasts, buy one package, get one free.  The average weight per package is 1.65 lbs., and the average per package price is $9.48, so when you throw in the second package free, that breaks down to chicken for $5.74/lb.  That's not a 'sale'...  
  • The Walmart online pricing is the same as for in-store.   Walmart consistently finishes second in overall price each month and in this review, they have the most green in their price column, but not on enough items to be the lowest overall.  Of note, KAKE news recently put out a news piece listing the Walmart on Pawnee as the worst grocery store in Wichita.  It was a national Top Ten worst list, and Walmart stores held 6 of the 10 spots.   
  • Egg prices in continued trend up:  Overall egg prices are up, which have been trending that way since June.  June 2023 prices for a dozen eggs were $1.06 at Aldi, $1.39 at Dillons, and $1.14 at Walmart, respectively.  Prices have more than doubled since June, which isn't good, but compare that to January 2023, a peak in high egg prices for the Wichita Metro, with large eggs averaging a whopping $4.99 per dozen.   
  • St. Patrick's Day Eats:  If you're fixing the classic meal, Aldi's has the best price for corned beef at $3.96 per pound, significantly lower than Dillons or Walmart.  The cheapest cabbage can be found at Walmart, although the price difference is negligible and hinges on which store you prefer to buy your produce from. 

Don't see some essential items that you think should be on the list?  Please comment.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike


Grocery Store Prices: KFC's Smash'd Potato Bowl vs. Shopping at the grocery store

The Bachelor on the Cheap Smashed Potato Bowl
The Bachelor on the Cheap Smashed Potato Bowl

BachelorontheCheap.com

It's a Fast Food vs. Grocery Shopping Challenge!

The typical Friday means eating out for a lot of folks, it's time to unwind after a long work week, and unwinding includes spending a few bucks on some take-out, or the drive-thru.

It's all too easy to fall into such a routine, but those takeout and drive-thru costs every week can start to add up.

This week's Fast Food vs. Grocery Shopping Challenge features KFC's new Smash'd Potato Bowl, introduced nationwide on January 29, 2024.

It's a tasty bowl of seasoned french fries and mashed potatoes covered in melted cheese and topped with bacon crumbles.  Priced at $3.49, it's delightful on its own, but according to the KFC media hype, you can make a meal of it by adding chicken nuggets for a few dollars more. 

Main ingredients for the bowl
Purchased at Aldi for $11.61

That's what I did in sampling KFC's new menu item, and it was quite enjoyable.  So enjoyable, it was deemed worthy of doing a grocery shop comparison and bonus:  A copycat recipe!

The KFC Smash'd Potato Bowl, kicked up with nuggets and a drink (making it a combo deal) cost me $8.59.  So how much can you buy at the grocery store for about that kind of money?  Shopping at Aldi, I focused on purchasing the ingredients I needed to make a copycat Smash'd Potato Bowl, selecting items I didn't already have in my pantry and fridge.

Spending $11.61, I bought seasoned french fries, chicken nuggets, and a block of Velveeta-style cheese.  Everything else I needed to create the 'bowl' I had at home in my pantry and fridge.  I did spend $3.02 more than I spent at KFC, but I will have quite a few additional eats with this shop.

Copycat Smash'd Potato Bowl
Seasoned fries, creamy mashed potatoes, a blend of melted cheese, bacon bits, chicken nuggets......

In crafting the bowl, I prepared some instant mashed potatoes per the package instructions, adding some garlic powder and onion powder to kick up the flavor profile.  The seasoned fries and chicken nuggets were done in the air fryer.  For the melted cheese, I cubed up about 3 ounces of the Clancy's CheeseMelt, combining it with about 2 ounces of shredded Colby Jack cheese, a dash of onion powder, a dash of garlic powder, and a healthy splash of whole milk in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stirring constantly, I had a nice cheese sauce in less than five minutes.  In serving up the bowl I put the seasoned fries in first, hitting them with a sprinkle of Koser salt.  On top of the fries went a healthy scoop of the mashed potato, which was topped with the melted cheese.  I chopped up some leftover bacon (reheated in the microwave) to finish the dish, along with some chopped green onion and some shredded Parmesan cheese.

Being able to customize the bowl like that made for a delightful result!

Cost Comparison

  • KFC Smash'd Potato Bowl w/nuggets and a drink - $8.59, one serving
  • Grocery Shopping at Aldi - $11.61, can make several bowls, plus create sides for other meals

For just $3.02 more, I have the flexibility to make more Smash'd Potato Bowls, and/or create a bunch of side dishes for other meals.  I made too much cheese sauce for the copycat recipe for example, so now I've got a nice cheese sauce to go with my eggs for breakfast tomorrow.  Thinking ahead, that brick of Velveeta-style cheese is going to come in handy as a nice base for an awesome queso dip and chips appetizer!  Melt that cheese along with some diced tomato, green chilies, and a few other ingredients...  It's Another Dose of YUM!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

Related: KFC's new Smash'd Potato Bowl is a MUST TRY

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Fast Food vs. Grocery Shopping, a spin on Subway's #20 - The Elite Chicken and Bacon Ranch Sub

Ingredients for a spin on a Subway sandwich
Ingredients to make a sub, aided by items I already have in my pantry and fridge.

It's another Fast Food vs. Grocery Shopping Challenge!

The typical Friday means eating out for a lot of folks, it's time to unwind after a long work week, and unwinding includes spending a few bucks on some take-out, or the drive-thru.

It's all too easy to fall into such a routine, but those takeout and drive-thru costs every week can start to add up.

This week's Fast Food vs. Grocery Shopping Challenge features a spin on Subway's #20, Elite Chicken and Bacon Ranch Sub.

toasted bread
toasty bread, melty cheese

I'm not sure what makes it "Elite", it's a good sandwich, but I wouldn't call it "Elite."  I picked one up the other day motivated by a desire to sample the new pretzel sidekick, but the participating restaurant I got my sub at, was "Out of Stock."   I'll have to do a pretzel sidekick review another day.

Subway's #20 features rotisserie-style chicken, melted Monterey cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and Peppercorn Ranch dressing.  It's a nice combination of flavors and the footlong price using the Subway app is $11.34.  So how much can you buy at the grocery store for about that kind of money?  Shopping at Aldi, I focused on purchasing the ingredients I needed to make a spinoff version of the "Elite" Chicken and Bacon Ranch sub, selecting items I didn't already have in my pantry and fridge.

Building the sandwich
Building the sandwich, adding veggies

Spending $11.52 in the grocery shop, I bought a French Baguette, boneless/skinless chicken thighs, a couple of Roma tomatoes, and a bag of Garden Salad.  For the cheese, Aldi didn't have any Monterey Cheddar, so I picked up a package of deli-sliced Colby Jack Cheddar cheese, along with a package of Pepper Jack cheese as an alternative to Peppercorn Ranch dressing.  I had regular Ranch dressing in my fridge along with everything else I needed to create the sub.  Putting my spin on a popular sub sandwich was fun, but the true beauty of the grocery shop is having all the extra eats beyond the sandwich.

Cost Comparison

  • Subway #20 - Elite Chicken Bacon Ranch Sub, Footlong - $11.34, two servings
  • Grocery Shopping at Aldi - $11.52, can make two 10" sub sandwiches, plus create sides for other meals, snacks
Adding the meat
Thanks to the grocery shop, the portions can be HUGE!

For just $0.18 more with the grocery shop, I've got so much more food!  My sandwich by the way, IS Elite.  I was able to customize my sandwich based on what I already had on hand, such as using low-sodium bacon and spicing up the chicken the way I preferred it, using my signature rub.  In addition to the bagged lettuce, I also chopped up some parsley, crushed up some garlic in a garlic press, and zested a lemon to create a quick gremolata for another punch of flavor.  Before toasting the baguette, I brushed it with a clove of garlic and dressed it with some of the bacon fat.  Just before the toast on the bread was complete, I added the cheese for a nice melt, then assembled the sandwich to include topping it with black pepper, Red Wine Vinegar, and Ranch Dressing.  The sandwich was "Another Dose of YUM!"

Chicken Bacon Ranch Sub
Now THAT is an ELITE sub!

From the shop, I've got plenty of ingredients to make another sandwich.  I've got bagged lettuce and tomato to make a couple of salads, and cheese slices to include in a charcuterie board or simply to snack on.  The best leftover from the shop, is chicken to create an entirely different meal with.  

I was able to prepare this sandwich in about the same time that it will take you to order online, go pick up your sandwich, and then return home.

Build a better sandwich
It's Another Dose of YUM!

So, does the comparison of fast food vs. grocery shopping have you rethinking the drive-thru, pickup, or delivery?  Why spend $11.34 on a not truly Elite sandwich from Subway or any other sub shop for that matter, when you can create not just one, but TWO truly Elite sandwiches for about the same money plus have leftover ingredients to make snacks and another meal to boot?

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

Related: Food Review: Subway #20 Elite Chicken Bacon Ranch Footlong hold the Sidekick

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Grocery Store Prices in the Wichita Metro, comparing Aldi, Dillons, Walmart - Valentine's Day 2024 Edition

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Where do you prefer to grocery shop?  Aldi, Walmart, the mainstream grocery store? 

Shoppers tend to be loyal to a particular store, we're creatures of habit after all. Some folks like Aldi because of the consistently low prices and name brands aren't a concern. Others favor Dillons because of the loyalty card and fuel points. Then there are those who do their regular grocery shopping at Walmart liking the one-stop shopping convenience for clothes, home & garden, and other general merchandise.

Here's this week's side-by-side Wichita Metro comparison of grocery store prices for Aldi, Walmart, and Dillon's (Kroger, a.k.a. the mainstream grocery store), plug in the name of the mainstream grocery store in your neck of the woods here, ie., Meijer, HyVee, Publix, Albertsons, etc.   Odds are that mainstream is going to be the most expensive of the three from week to week.

Covering the basics with a focus on store brands, this week's list, dated February 5, 2024, has an additional item - Valentine's Day Chocolates - pushing the item count up one for a total of 26 items reviewed for this Wichita Metro grocery shop edition.    

Of note, in a same-store comparison to the previous review of January 3, 2024, prices are mixed (not including the Valentine's Chocolate purchase).  Aldi shoppers would have spent $0.40 less for the same items purchased a month ago.  Dillons shoppers paid $0.80 less, and Walmart shoppers spent $0.62 more with this shop.  In a year-over-year comparison, the average price for a cartload of groceries is down 1 percent, but keep in mind, that February 2023 was a time when egg prices were still quite high and just starting to drop, averaging $4.59 per dozen in the Wichita area (down from $4.99 per dozen in January).  

Prices stated are online prices and for items available at the time of the review. Remember that the featured items are the store brand for each respective store unless otherwise labeled. Prices can vary from store to store, as store managers have the flexibility to adjust prices, lower or higher. Aldi does not have the flexibility of the other stores reviewed. Prices are good as of this writing and could change by the time you make that grocery run.

  • Aldi:  8011 E Kellogg Ave, Wichita, KS 67207
  • Dillons: 9450 E. Harry St., Wichita, KS 67207
  • Walmart: 11411 E Kellogg Dr, Wichita, KS 67207

Grocery Store Prices Valentine Edition W

Takeaways from this week's price review:

  • Aldi remains the lowest in online pricing of the three stores, it's consistent week over week. Keep in mind their online prices are higher than in-store prices, so you'll spend even less than what's listed when shopping in-store. Aldi uniquely does this to cover their employee cost of personal shopping for your delivery or pickup order.  Check out the price for chicken.  It's the same chicken as the other stores, Tyson does the private labeling for Aldi under the Kirkwood brand.  Also of note, get your Valentine's Day Chocolate at Aldi!  Not only do they have the lowest price at $9.98, it's a bigger box!    
  • The Dillons online pricing is the same as in-store.  Dillons is always the highest-priced grocer overall from week to week.  The price gap in this grocery shop, Dillons vs. Aldi was $8.07.  The Dillons price gap with Walmart was $4.09.  Dillons shoppers probably won't make up the gap with loyalty card savings and fuel points vs. Aldi, but will come close vs. Walmart.  If you're curious about how the Dillons loyalty card plays a role, check out the related article link, "Mainstream Grocery vs. Discount Grocery: Dillon's (Kroger) vs. Aldi.   Of note, Dillons has the best price for eggs, onions, and canola oil.  They also have Heritage Farms boneless/skinless chicken breasts priced at $2.99 per pound, but the brand does not have favorable reviews compared to Tyson, citing smaller breasts, and lower quality chicken.
  • The Walmart online pricing is the same as for in-store.   Walmart consistently finishes second in overall price from week to week and in this review, they have the best prices for chicken broth, milk, and sugar. 
  • Egg prices back on the rise:  Overall egg prices are up, which have been trending that way since June.  June 2023 prices for a dozen eggs were $1.06 at Aldi, $1.39 at Dillons, and $1.14 at Walmart, respectively, an overall increase of about 44 percent.

Don't see some essential items that you think should be on the list?  Please comment.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

Related: Grocery Store Prices - Super Bowl 2024 Wichita Watch Party Edition