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 10 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. Recently, 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. Its website states that the new line is honest, easy and affordable. But is it always a better bargain? Check out our side-by-side comparison of mom “must-haves” to compare receipts.

1. Milk (2-perent half gallon)

  • Simple Truth organic: $4.09 (6.39 cents per ounce)
  • Conventional milk: $2.99 (4.7 cents per ounce)

Bottom line: Conventional wins the price war on milk.

2. Cereal (12-ounce box)

  • Simple Truth Toasted Oats cereal: $2.59 a box (21.6 cents per ounce)
  • Cheerios: $3.19 a box (22.8 cents per ounce)

Bottom line: Simple Truth is the better bet for breakfast.

3. Yogurt

  • Simple Truth strawberry, 1 percent milk fat yogurt: $1.19 (19.8 cents per ounce)
  • Yoplait Original in strawberry: 60 cents each (10 cents per ounce)

Bottom line: Conventional dairy keeps more pennies in your pocket.


4. Eggs

  • Simple Truth cage-free, grain-fed eggs: $3.47 per dozen (28.9 cents each)
  • Ordinary Grade A eggs: $1.69 per dozen (14.1 cents each)

Bottom line: Make more omelets with conventional eggs.

5. Pasta

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

  • Simple Truth 100-percent whole-grain spaghetti: $2.39 per box (14.9 cents per ounce)
  • Mueller’s 100-percent whole-grain spaghetti: $2.39 per box (18 cents per ounce)

Bottom line: Save more money with organic pasta in your pantry.

6. Marinara sauce

  • Simple Truth: $3.29 per jar (13.2 cents per ounce)
  • Ragu Traditional: $1.68 per jar (7 cents per ounce)

Bottom line: Ragu goes in the cart, for a savings of almost 50 percent.

7. Nutrition bars

Whatever you call them, nutrition bars, energy bars or cereal bars – they make snacking, for busy families, better.

  • Simple Truth’s fudge graham flavor: $1 each
  • Fiber One’s Chewy for Kids: 0.73 cents per ounce

Bottom line: Conventional keeps more coins in your account.

8. Bread

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

  • Simple Truth’s 100-percent whole grain bread: $3.69 per loaf (13.2 cents per ounce)
  • Brownberry Smooth Texture 100-percent whole-grain bread: $3.19 per loaf (14.5 cents per ounce)

Bottom line: Brownberry beats out Simple Truth by a just a bit.

9. Peanut butter

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

  • Simple Truth’s creamy variety: $4.79 per jar (26.6 cents)
  • Jif Creamy Peanut Butter: $2.99 per jar (16.6 cents per ounce)

Bottom line: Jif packs savings along with that protein.

10. Apple juice

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

  • Simple Truth’s brand: $3.39 per jug (0.05 cents per ounce)
  • Mott’s apple juice: $3.49 per jug (0.06 cents per ounce)

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

This article originally appeared in a May 2013 edition of Metro Parent.

  • 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.

    • Stacey W.

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


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