Price Comparisons: Organic vs. Conventional Foods

Organics have traditionally been more expensive, but growing availability and grocery store brands may help narrow the gap. We compare costs on 9 staples.

Price Comparisons: Organic vs. Conventional Foods

Often, stores tout lower price as an advantage of their store brands – and, increasingly, organic foods are being added to the lineup. For instance, Kroger, a chain that’s pretty popular here in southeast Michigan, jumped on the bandwagon, revealing its Simple Truth brand of organic and natural foods. Meijer, another favorite grocery chain among Michiganders, also has its True Goodness organics brand, which offers a variety of options, too.

Meijer’s website notes its line of organics is, “free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives,” making it attractive to many parents. Kroger’s website states that its Simple Truth line is honest, easy and affordable. But are these organic offerings always a better bargain? Check out our side-by-side comparison of mom “must-haves” to compare receipts.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Prices do change regularly at both stores.
  • There may be special deals depending on the week that could impact price (and save you some money). Be sure to check out your local store for the latest – or the weekly ads online and in your mailbox.
  • Some items listed below weren’t available from both organic brands, so we made comparisons where we could to give you an idea of how they match up.

Happy shopping!

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1. Milk (2-perent half gallon)

  • Simple Truth organic: $3.49 (5.45 cents per ounce)
  • True Goodness organic: $3.69 (5.76 cents per ounce)
  • Conventional milk (at Meijer): $2.41 (3.8 cents per ounce)

Bottom line: Conventional wins the price war on milk.

2. Cereal (12-ounce box)

  • Simple Truth Toasted Oats cereal: $2.79 a box (23.3 cents per ounce)
  • Cheerios: $3.39 a box (28.3 cents per ounce) at Kroger

Bottom line: If you’re shopping at Kroger, Simple Truth is the better bet for breakfast.

3. Yogurt (32-ounce container)

  • Simple Truth vanilla, low fat: $2.79 (8.72 cents per ounce)
  • Dannon vanilla, low fat: $2.99 (9.34 cents per ounce) at Kroger

Bottom line: Simple Truth dairy keeps more pennies in your pocket when grocery shopping at Kroger.

4. Eggs (Grade A)

  • Kroger:
    • Simple Truth cage-free: $3.99 per dozen (33.3 cents each)
    • Ordinary Grade A eggs: $2.49 (20.8 cents each) at Kroger
  • Meijer:
    • True Goodness cage-free: $3.89 per dozen (32.4 cents each)
    • Ordinary Grade A eggs: $1.59 (13.2 cents each) at Meijer

Bottom line: Make the most budget-friendly omelets with conventional eggs, with slightly better deals at Meijer.

5. Pasta

A pantry staple, pasta tends to find its way on to the table at least once a week.

  • True Goodness: $1.99 (12.4 cents per ounce) for 16-ounce box
  • Barilla 100-percent whole-grain spaghetti: $1.39 (10.5 cents per ounce) for a 13.25-ounce box at Meijer

Bottom line: Save more money with conventional pasta in your pantry at Meijer.

6. Marinara sauce (24-ounce jar)

  • True Goodness: $2.29 (9.5 cents per ounce)
  • Ragu Hearty Traditional: $1.77 (7.4 cents per ounce) at Meijer

Bottom line: Ragu goes in the cart, for a savings of just over 50 cents.

7. Bread

From French toast to PB&J, bread is a must-have on most everyone’s list.

  • Kroger:
    • Simple Truth’s 100-percent whole-wheat bread: $3.99 (15.3 cents per ounce) for a 26-ounce loaf
    • Brownberry 100-percent whole-wheat bread: $3.49 (14.5 cents per ounce) for a 24-ounce loaf at Kroger
  • Meijer:
    • True Goodness: $3.99 (20 cents per ounce) for a 20-ounce loaf
    • Brownberry 100-percent whole-wheat bread: $4.29 (17.9 cents per ounce) for 24-ounce loaf at Meijer

Bottom line: Though loaf sizes varied, when broken down, Brownberry at Kroger beat out its Simple Truth by a just a bit – and the same was true of Meijer.

8. Peanut butter

A lunchtime standby for most moms, peanut butter packs a protein punch worthy of the pantry.

  • Kroger:
    • Simple Truth’s creamy variety: $3.99 per 16-ounce jar (24.9 cents per ounce)
    • Jif Creamy Peanut Butter: $2.69 per 16-ounce jar (16.8 cents per ounce)
  • Meijer:
    • True Goodness creamy variety: $3.99 per 18-ounce jar (22.2 cents per ounce)
    • Jif Creamy Peanut Butter: $2.49 per 16-ounce jar (15.6 cents per ounce)

Bottom line: Jif packs savings along with that protein. If choosing between the two organic brands, Meijer’s True Goodness gets moms more ounces for less money.

9. Apple juice

This childhood favorite can be found year-round in fridges everywhere.

  • Simple Truth’s brand: $2.99 per 64 fluid ounce jug (4.67 cents per fluid ounce)
  • Mott’s apple juice: $3.19 per 64 fluid ounce jug (4.98 cents per fluid ounce)

Bottom line: Save cash by purchasing the organic apple juice.

This article was originally published in 2013 and has been updated for 2016.

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Comments
  • I think the point is being completely missed regarding organics. People don’t buy them because they are somehow nutritionally different than conventional products (they aren’t different nutritionally). They are buying them because they want to buy products that are free from pesticides, among other additives (hormones and antibiotics), and GMO’s. Pesticides are known carcinogens. GMO’s long-term effects are still being studied, and so far, the few studies that have been published are indicating some negative findings. Who wants to eat something and then 15-20 years later find out that it was the cause of a serious ailment, like for example, cancer? The cost of organics, while more expensive, are worth it. Would you rather pay thousands and thousands of dollars for cancer treatment, hospitalization, loss of income; or would you rather pay more for foods that could drastically reduce your cancer risk? We can spend $4-$5 on coffee drinks at Starbucks, $40+ to take our families out to eat, but we can’t spend the extra to provide safer food to them? So while yes, conventional foods are cheaper, they aren’t safer. I do understand not everyone can afford everything organic. I can’t, but I try to buy organic when possible. So many places are selling organics cheaper. Walmart and Aldi’s are both selling more inexpensive brands of organics now. I can get a bag of organic carrots at Walmart for $.98 (the conventional are $1.24 at my store, more expensive than the organic), I can get organic bananas for $.68/lb compared to the $.65/lb for the conventional. Aldi’s carries organic grass-fed ground beef for $4.99, which isn’t bad considering how high beef prices have skyrocketed in general. I can find a lot of organics cheaper than regular because they tend to be marked down quicker than those conventional products. Organics are just becoming more in demand in my area. If you are shopping at Whole Foods, you’ll spend more. Kroger’s tends to have a lot of sales on their Simple Truth organic line. Not to awfully long ago, I ended up with a bunch of free Simple Truth products due to a special campaign and coupons. I got blackberry pomegranate soda, peanut butter protein bars, parmesan garlic natural popped chips, frozen raspberries, 1/2 gallon of milk, frozen blueberries, and vegetable chips. Good stuff.

    Reply
    • Stacey W.

      Thanks so much for your comment! You bring up some great points.

      Reply

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Price Comparisons: Organic vs. Conventional Foods
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