By Kate Resnek
Everyone who has shopped at Market Basket or Stop and Shop knows the difference.
Their parking lots say a lot about the two retailing food giants.
Positioned only 1/8 mile from each other – one in Everett the other in Chelsea – it is a
veritable tale of cities. The gigantic and frenzied Market Basket is in direct competition with the more relaxed and smaller Stop & Shop.
Does Stop & Shop have lower prices in order to compete with Market Basket or is the
disparity in their popularity a direct cause of Stop and Shop’s higher prices?The Leader Herald looked at comparable items from each supermarket and looked at the
sales offered as well as individual prices for the same items.
Some items like iceberg lettuce, milk, and Heinz Ketchup were being sold at the exact
same price. This may have been because of the commonality of these items and the relative lack of diversity within their specific markets such as how Heinz essentially rules the ketchup market.
In almost every other category except for butter, Market Basket offered lower prices in a
one to one matchup.
The biggest difference in these supermarkets seemed to be the significant price cuts
Market Basket offered if items were bought in bulk. In these cases, as with the hot dog buns, Coca-Cola, peanut butter, and Oreos, the deals also seemed to beat Stop and Shop’s prices.
Market Basket does not even list the individual prices for these items that are on sale in a
When checked individually in the price checking machine a single two-liter bottle of
Coke still had its price listed at “3 for 4.”
Market Basket seems to be confident that its customer base is willing to buy in bulk and
customers seemed to be making use of the offers. Stop & Shop had less of these offers perhaps catering to individuals looking to buy less groceries at once.
In many cases the price difference for individual items was within a thirty to forty cent
range of difference.
The biggest difference was seen in the ability for customers at Market Basket to buy
items in bulk for greatly discounted prices. In this case some items would be more than a dollar less in cost individually than Stop & Shop.
So, if you are overwhelmed by the scene at Market Basket and don’t feel the need to buy
a month’s worth of groceries at once, Stop & Shop may be a fine choice for you.