Online grocery shopping will cost you more than walking the aisles

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Those high prices are starting to cool. US Bureau of Labor Statistics released new April 2023 data showing inflation is up 4.9%. The Federal Reserve targets 2%. Getting food on the table is still busting many of your budgets. How you get your groceries in Southwest Florida could make a big difference in the price tag.

It costs a lot of dough to get bread, but bread is, fortunately, getting a little cheaper. New numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show groceries cost 7.1% more in April 2023 compared to the year before. In March, it was 8.4%.

But shoppers like Roger McCullough, a Fort Myers resident, say that’s still expensive.

“Grocery shopping has gone up quite a little bit,” McCullough said. “Walmart, Publix… no matter where you go.”

Since the pandemic started, many started scrolling online instead of strolling down the aisles for their groceries. According to a 2022 Gallup poll, 28% of Americans order their groceries online for pickup or delivery at least once a month. But that convenience comes at a cost.

For almost two years, WINK News Consumer Reporter Andryanna Sheppard has tracked in-store grocery prices for the same ten items at the same Target, Walmart, and Publix in Fort Myers. Honey Nut Cheerios at Target cost 50 cents more online. Over at Walmart, Nature’s Own butter bread will cost you 30 cents more for pickup.

But at Publix, you’ll spend more for nine out of the ten items on the list. The most expensive difference: Dove deodorant. In-store, it was $3.17, thanks to a $2 coupon. Online, it costs $5.73. No coupon was offered.

The same cart in-store at Publix would cost around $70.19. Online for pickup, the price jumps to around $75.98.

McCullough will stick to his list, and he’ll stick to pushing a cart around the store.

“We just watch what we buy,” McCullough said.

Sheppard reached out to all three grocery stores asking why some items were more expensive online than in person. None have responded.

Regardless, if you’re looking to save money putting food on the table, going down the aisles yourself is the way to go. But there’s no harm in using the online cart as a digital shopping list.

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