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Which items have seen the most price fluctuation at the grocery store?

Grocery Store
Posted at 4:15 AM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 08:30:11-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Six weeks ago the 7 News Price tracker team began tracking the prices of five items at five different grocery stores across Western New York.

We're tracking the following items:
1 lb ground beef (80/20)
Dozen eggs
Gallon 2% milk
White bread
Toilet paper

The tracking we're doing isn't an exact comparison, because brands and sizes can differ from store to store, but it gives us an idea of what's happening with many of the items people buy each week.

Of the five items we've been tracking, the prices of two have stayed relatively consistent over the weeks.

There hasn't been much fluctuation in the price of white bread or toilet paper, no matter where you're shopping.

The other three items, however, have seen changes over the weeks.

The cost of eggs at the five stores we tracked ranged from $1.99 to $2.99.

A gallon of 2% milk cost between $2.29 and $3.86.

And ground beef has been arguably the most interesting to track. As a matter of fact, when we asked shoppers what they saw the biggest changes in, that's one product they mentioned.

"Beef. I know ground beef is getting really expensive now. Pretty much any type of meat really. I just see the prices keep going up and up," said Julian Colon, who we spoke to outside of one store.

At the stores our team checked, a pound of ground beef ranged between $4.19 to $9.54. Both those prices were tracked at Aldi, which means that store had the largest price change in ground beef.

Over six weeks, the cost of ground beef changed at every store except Walmart. It wasn't the lowest price we saw in that time frame, but it was the most consistent. The price for 1 lb of ground beef at Walmart stayed at $5.14 every week during the time we tracked.

UB Associate Professor Charles Lindsey says it's not surprising that Walmart's prices stayed the same. It's actually part of the store's design. But don't expect to see sales there like you do at some other grocery stores.

"They have made this their identity over the years," explained Lindsey. "Look - we're an every day low price player. We're going to beat the competition on price. You're not going to have to worry, it's not going to be up and down. It's pretty much going to be the same low price day in and day out."

Other stores use different pricing models where their every day prices are typically higher, but unlike Walmart they offer a lot of sales. When that happens, you can often beat Walmart's price on different items, but you have to do your homework and know what to buy and when.