Learn to Grocery Shop the Right Way, For the Right Price


Michelle Sanders

Trader Joe’s is a great grocer with low prices, but you’ll have to deal with the long lines.

Grocery shopping in Manhattan is expensive. The cost of restocking can add up quickly, especially when you have to make the trip every few weeks. To help make sure that your trips to the store aren’t breaking the bank, WSN checked out some major grocery stores within two miles of campus to determine the most cost-effective option. Based on a list of 15 basic items, we identified the cheapest and most expensive places to shop near NYU.

The list was comprised of:

  • 1 gallon of milk
  • 1 quart of orange juice
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • Loaf of whole-wheat bread
  • 1 pound of butter
  • 1 pound of broccoli
  • ½ pound of shredded cheese
  • 6 ounces of chocolate
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • 1 pound of tomatoes
  • 1 pound of green bell peppers
  • 1 pound of rice
  • 1 pound of chicken
  • 1 pound of coffee
  • 1 pound of apples
  • 1 pound of potatoes

Fairway Market $

This massive supermarket on 30th Street and 2nd Avenue is the cheapest store we tested. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, it is also the cheapest supermarket in Manhattan. Fairway Market has constant sales which helped the store secure first place in our rankings — more than half of the items on our list were on sale. The only downside is its location in Kips Bay, so you may opt to bike or take the bus. The total for all the groceries came out to $38.10.

Trader Joe’s $

Right next to Palladium and U-Hall, Trader Joe’s loses to Fairway by an insignificant 32 cents. However, unlike Fairway, Trader Joe’s suffers from incredibly long lines and a limited selection. Coming in as second cheapest, the total for all the items was $38.42.

Essex Street Market $

On Essex and Delancey, Essex Street Market is different from the other entries in that it is not a grocery store. Instead, it’s a large common area that hosts up to 20 small businesses. The three grocers and four fish and meat merchants provide a wide variety of supermarket staples and  Latino and Asian staples, while the other 13 businesses sell gourmet products. Finding the best prices among the multitude of vendors requires practice, but the general total came to $39.56.

Gristedes $$

Short lines and two locations right next the Square make Gristedes a convenient option for shopping after class. However, the store’s mediocre selection is pricey, even with the 10 percent student discount. The total added up to $47.30.

Whole Foods $$$

Whole Foods is convenient and familiar. It’s close to the upperclassman dorms around Union Square and is easily accessible by subway or bus. Unfortunately, Whole Foods lives up to its reputation of being pricey. Despite its long lines and less-than-amazing selection, it was one of the most expensive stores tested, with the grand total coming to $51.31.

Westside Market $$$

Open 24/7, Westside Market’s short lines and location next to Third North and Founders make it a convenient choice for students living on Third Ave. The store has an extensive selection of high-end products. Yet this convenience and range comes at price — a very high one. With a total of $52.55, Westside Market was the second most
expensive store.

Food Emporium $$$

Steer clear of this expensive store, which has the highest prices despite its lackluster selection. There are plenty of cheaper and better alternatives nearby, with Trader Joe’s right across the street. Ringing in as most expensive, the total came out to $54.63, almost $20 more expensive than our cheapest option.

A version of this article appeared in the Feb. 22 print edition. Email Shiva Darshan at [email protected].