If you like discounted food prices then Walmart must be your favorite place to do grocery. Their rollback prices set them apart from other chains and they have a great variety of organic and non-organic food to buy. Bushels of veggies and carts of fruit. Walmart has everything you need under one roof. Which sounds like a marketing slogan. But on close inspection, it turns out that not every food item sold there is cheap or even healthy.
10. Organic Food
Now a lot has been said about organic food and whether it’s really healthier or tastier than non-organic food. But people’s appetite for organic food hasn’t abated. But organic food is more than just a fad. It’s been going strong for years and contributes over $40 billion to the grocery industry every year. So if you prefer to buy organic, you’re not alone. Just try to find somewhere else to do your organic food grocery than Walmart. Organic food is always more expensive than its non-organic counterpart. This has to do with the short shelf life that organic veggies and fruit have. Because neither chemical fertilizers nor pesticides are used, the produce tends to perish quicker. So naturally, the price tag attached to each item is a bit steeper than the tomatoes or eggplants which grew with the power of chemical nutrients. But Walmart takes this a bit further than other chains. Walmart tends to value its organic produce higher than other stores such as Trader Joe’s or Aldi. Which brings up a question about the wisdom behind these steep prices. Is it because Walmart appreciates organic onion more than the other folks? Or is it because Walmart knows the time and effort that goes into growing organic food in green farms and feels the need to pay those organic farmers for their hard work? The answer, of course, is no and no. It’s all about increasing the margin profit and capitalizing on something that people seem to relish and willing to pay more for. Namely, organic food. So you’re better off looking for your organic tomatoes somewhere else.
9. Non-organic Food
You know everything we said up there about organic food? Well, guess what? It also applies to non-organic food. Yes, even the carrots that were food hormones and the milk that is probably loaded with antibiotics is also overpriced. But why, Walmart? Obviously, because it can. People just got used to going to the chain to do their weekly shopping. And that includes buying groceries. There’s plenty to choose from, all the produce is fresh and the prices are reasonable. Or so it appears. Until you happen to visit a rival chain, stroll down the fresh produce section and look at the prices there. It’s at that exact moment when you’ll realize that Walmart has probably been overcharging you for carrots and onions for years. Not just with their high prices but also the low quality of their food. Out of all 68 chains reviewed by Consumer Report, Walmart always reserves a bottom place on the list. The report found that the food was not as fresh as advertised and the quality of the vegetables, fruit, and meat was very low. So is it that Walmart food suppliers cheat it and provide sub-standard food? Or is the problem more complex? It turns out that Walmart fresh produce section has come as an afterthought. The section always faces understaffing problems. So staff from other sections fill in during peak shopping hours. And when it’s not your section you don’t really care about the quality of the product you stock the shelves with.
8. Pure Vanilla Extract
Now that we’ve covered general foods both organic and non-organic, let’s dive in your cart and see what overpriced items you’re about to take to the cashier. One of the first things to pop up is the bottle of pure vanilla extract. Now this one has a price tag that is way higher than you should pay for it. And we get it. All chains tend to use weekly flexible prices on their items. It’s a proven strategy to increase business. Some days Costco will be promoting big price cuts on dairy products and fresh meat. But what you may not know is that other products carry that cut in prices to keep the chain from losing. So if the dairy products are 30% off today, that means that the fruits will get a few cents each to balance things out. And all this is normal and acceptable almost. We can’t always compare prices between chains and go buy milk at Costco and veggies at Walmart. But what defies comprehension is that certain items are always sold for a higher price at Walmart than other chains. One of those is the pure vanilla extract. For some reason, Walmart thinks this stuff is being underestimated and undervalued by other chains and it needs to make up for that oversight. But the truth is, you can always get the pure vanilla extract at almost half the price if you head over to Costco. So that’s another item you should not seek at Walmart.
7. Maple Syrup
Maple Syrup. Canada’s gift to the world. Ask anyone who can’t start their day with a couple of pancakes for breakfast about maple syrup and watch them wax lyrical. Their eyes grow languid and both passion and yearning fill up their voices as they recite a litany of qualities that make this molten gold so loved by millions of people. But as we all know maple syrup isn’t cheap. The bottle is priced as if it’s full of real liquid gold not the juice of some leafy tree. Not that we’re complaining. We know it’s well worth every cent we pay for it. Unless of course, we’re buying it from Walmart. Because then we’d be paying a few bucks more than at other chains. Which really leaves the maple syrup lovers with two options. Either go to knock-off syrups that taste almost the same but doesn’t cost as much. I mean, the kids won’t know the difference as they smother their waffles and pancakes with the stuff. We even heard that corn syrup does a good job of masquerading as the real thing and no child is the wiser. Both Log Cabin and Aunt Jemima make some good stuff that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. The other option is to shop for maple syrup elsewhere other than Walmart. We hear that Costco doesn’t guard its maple syrup as jealousy as Walmart and will part with it for a fair price.
6. Organic Milk
OK, it’s time to look into organic milk and how high Walmart values it. But first, we need to find out why organic milk is always more pricey than normal milk. It’s not that the organic milk farmers are trying to cash in on the organic food craze. Organic milk means raising fewer cows and feeding them more expensive food. This means steer clear from genetically modified food and milk them less often than other cows. This is why your organic milk tastes better. But it also comes at a price. The farmer produces less milk and sells to Walmart at a relatively higher price than non-organic milk. Walmart turns around and slaps a hefty price tag on the organic milk carton. And if you compare prices as you should between different chains you’ll find Walmart organic milk always on the pricey side. Aldi, for example, sells organic milk for much less than Walmart. Even Whole Foods notorious for its high prices, still doesn’t put such a price tag on organic milk.
5. Imported Farmed Shrimp
Shrimp is delicious seafood that has found its way to numerous recipes over time. Even processed food might contain shrimp even if you didn’t recognize the taste. Those finger-length crustaceans are packed with protein and healthy nutrients. That is, assuming they grow in the wild seas roaming free and eating their natural food. But that’s not the case with the huge bags of imported shrimp that you find in Walmart and other retailers. They are cheap and loaded with lots of farmed shrimp. Not just that, but they also come from Asian and South American countries. Warm water shrimp is tastier than cold water ones or so the foodies would have us believe. So what could go wrong with a cheap buy like that? Apparently, everything. First off, these shrimp that grow in Thailand farms involve child labor. Every time you buy one of those large bags of frozen shrimp you’re paying someone who used children to work on their farms in unhealthy conditions. But that’s not the whole story. Shrimp that comes from Latin America and also Asia is not adequately supervised by health officials in these countries which means the shrimp might pose a risk to your health when you consume it. They include bacteria and traces of antibiotic which are not the kind of things you’d like to be placed on a plate in front of you.
4. Snack Food
If you love snacks then you must have a field day at Walmart. Their ‘Great Value’ packs offer a snacker all they ever wanted. Inexpensive snacks that come in various shapes, packages, and sizes, and you won’t burn a hole in your pocket when you fill up your cart to the brim with the glossy packages. And who can blame you? The stuff is tasty and cracks just right in your mouth when you’re binging on that Netflix series. So why are we against buying from Walmart? Because you can get better deals at the dollar stores. As usual, purchasing things from the large retailer always comes at a cost. Even small things like snacks always get a few cents added to the price tag. So from a purely financial perspective, you’ll save a few bucks buying your snacks from dollar stores. But it’s not just the price tag. Dollar stores take snacks to extreme heights. That means you can find there brands and flavors you won’t find in the large chains. So the more time you spend browsing the more snack gems you’re bound to find. And some of those exotic flavors are worth a try or two.
3. Big Burly
This is Walmart’s answer to the eternal question: what will I have for breakfast this morning? And while it doesn’t hurt to have something different for breakfast every now and then. But when it’s called Big Burly you need to think twice. The full name of the culprit is The Great Value Big Burly Breakfast Sandwich. Now supposedly the ‘great value’ part of the name is supposed to mean low cost which is a great draw for customers. But what does ‘big burly’ stand for? We’ll need to look under the packaging to find out. First, we’re faced with two slices of toast. In between, there’s over a half pound of bacon, processed cheese, and fried eggs. That’s some serious heart-busting saturated fat right there. And if you’re going to start your day with this vicious attack on your heart what will you be having for lunch? Concentrated cholesterol swirled in a glass of melted fat? So it’s not about the price tag this time. This is purely for health reasons that you should say no to this monstrosity. I mean even fast food chains have healthier options for breakfast than this one.
2. Low-cost Pork
When a retailer grows so big and takes control over a big chunk of the market, you know that at some point prices will be laid on the table and someone has to carry more than their fair share of the burden. In this case, Walmart lays its terms and the pork farmers have to pay the price. In order to please its customers who expect prices to be low in Walmart, the giant retailer forces the pork farmers to sell their pork at a low price. In fact, it’s so low that they barely make any profit. But what can you do when you supply pork to Walmart? It’s not like you can simply find another buyer willing to buy the tons of pork you produce every year. And these margins of profit have been declining over the years. And while this doesn’t affect the average customer directly, it still affects the pork farmers drastically. Yes, we all want to get our hands on inexpensive pork, but at what cost?
1. Ground Beef
And finally, it’s time to turn our attention to ground beef. We left this one to last simply because it’s a popular purchase in the meat section and also because it’s the one most customers buy believing that it’s the cheapest among all the retailers. Which couldn’t be further from the truth. As usual, it pays to compare prices between retailers in order to know for sure if your favorite chain isn’t ripping you off. In the case of ground beef, Walmart isn’t the cheaper. Not by a long mile. In fact, Adli has always been reported to be selling ground beef at lower prices. Sometimes one dollar less per pound. Which is a lot to save if you buy a lot of ground beef every week.