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Old 11-30-2012, 07:12 AM   #41
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Interesting, LakeTravis, that groceries are more expensive in Austin in general. A few years ago Austin ranked as having the highest per-capita net worth in the US. I don't know if that's still true, but I'm sure it's still up there. Retailers know Austinites are well-off.

HEB is my main grocery (after Costco). And they beat in several key areas, and they have a wonderful store line (Central Market and Central Market Organics) that can't be beat in terms of quality. So between the two stores I feel like I really get my money's worth. Both businesses are on-the-ball and extremely well run.
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:41 AM   #42
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Another "Aldi Effect" person here. Costco is too far away and, being single in a condo, I don't want bulk items. I can walk to Aldi and find many things I need there that I eat on a weekly basis: oatmeal, yogurt, nuts, cheese, fresh produce of all kinds, eggs, etc. I don't eat a lot of processed or packaged food and you can get by at Aldi just fine without doing so. The quality is great and the savings are kind of incredible. . . I just wish my cats liked their brand of cat food.
Goes to show that stores vary from location to location, Costco, Aldi and probably all others. You couldn't complete all your shopping at our local Aldi, you'd have to augment from other stores to get everything needed. What they have/don't have varies from week to week too, making it even more difficult. The prices at local Aldi are very low indeed, but there are so many no name 'brands' you never know what you're getting. Wish I lived near a quality Aldi's...
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:21 AM   #43
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A little synchronicity here with all the talk about GMOs. I just happened to run into this blog post about the safety of GMOs this morning that is a bit disconcerting. In a nutshell, this doctor concludes that while we do not have convincing evidence that GMOs are wreaking havoc in humans we are a long way from being able to say they are safe and there are plausible reasons for concern.
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:05 AM   #44
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Wow! I jealous that your Costco has good fruits and veggies. Ours has ones that look pretty but usually are moldy when you get to the second layer or parts you can't see. As a result I refuse to buy any fruits or veggies there. We do better at our local grocery store.

However, we do have a Costco effect on our cooking. We tend to eat alot more at home because we buy things like their shredded chicken, Mexican cheese blend, stuffed acorn squash, spicy Indian chicken and other prepared items that make throwing together a meal easy. We read all ingredient lists and find they tend to stock some pretty high quality stuff.

We'd go more often but the lines are always long so we both tend to dodge going until were beyond desperate for an item. It's a miserable place to shop (but a fun place to browse - as long as you don't buy anything) and we both hate it. But until we can get their wonderful food other places we will continue our membership.
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:29 AM   #45
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A little synchronicity here with all the talk about GMOs. I just happened to run into this blog post about the safety of GMOs this morning that is a bit disconcerting. In a nutshell, this doctor concludes that while we do not have convincing evidence that GMOs are wreaking havoc in humans we are a long way from being able to say they are safe and there are plausible reasons for concern.
Drifting off-topic here, but....

'proving' that anything is safe is almost impossible. Relative safety is more important to me. From the linked article:

Quote:
Analysis of Monsanto’s own research and independent research by a lab in France determined that mice and rats eating Bt-toxin producing corn sustained liver and kidney damage.
Sounds scary, but... how does that compare to the safety of alternative pesticide use? Bt is used by 'organic' farmers. I don't know, but maybe the levels of Bt in 'organic' produce is higher or more harmful than what we would get in a GM crop?

And what amounts were these mice/rats fed? Even water will kill us if over-consumed.

edit/add: And does that Bt survive whatever processing our corn takes before we eat it? I just watched a documentary on corn - does Bt make it through the cooking, mashing, fermenting and distillation applied to my Jack Daniels? That might be a concern

Maybe "sounding scary" was the point of the article? At least there are references, but maybe someone else will take the time to review it. I'm going to go eat lunch.

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Old 11-30-2012, 12:21 PM   #46
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We had such a negative Costco effect on our budget (we don't need new luggage/shredder/couch but they're so cheap!) and our weight (let's eat this gallon of chocolate chip ice cream/jalapeno butter curls/circus peanut candy before it goes bad!) that we had to quit or grow up. So we quit .
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:27 PM   #47
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Vice President Biden showed up at the grand opening of our nearest Costco yesterday.
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:32 PM   #48
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Vice President Biden showed up at the grand opening of our nearest Costco yesterday.
I have a "political comment", but I'll keep quiet ...
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:34 PM   #49
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I have a "political comment", but I'll keep quiet ...
Thank you.
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:42 PM   #50
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Another "Aldi Effect" person here. Costco is too far away and, being single in a condo, I don't want bulk items. I can walk to Aldi and find many things I need there that I eat on a weekly basis: oatmeal, yogurt, nuts, cheese, fresh produce of all kinds, eggs, etc. I don't eat a lot of processed or packaged food and you can get by at Aldi just fine without doing so. The quality is great and the savings are kind of incredible. . . I just wish my cats liked their brand of cat food.
My cat loves the canned cat food! The cat litter is also a good deal. I go to Aldi once or twice a month. For us the closest Costco is 30 miles so I haven't shopped there. We don't have Trader Joes or Whole Foods close by either.
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:44 PM   #51
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No one mentioned the food samples?

If you do some menu planning and eat at home say 5 lunches & 5 dinners, you can buy fresh produce, fruits, fish, meats & dairy at Costco & not waste anything. You may have to freeze some stuff.

I find that you have to make a list or you'll come home with more than what you need.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:07 PM   #52
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Oh, right, I forgot about the cheese! Awesome cheese.

We found that cutting the big blocks of cheese in say four pieces, and then vacuum packing three of them, the vacuum packed ones last for up to the sell-by date if not longer. That's how we handle the larger quantity.

And, yes, the parmesan is incredible.
We've gotten the shredded parmesan and vacuum packed it. I don't know if this will always happen, but the last sealed bag of parmesan didn't last as long as the others before it molded. It could have been because we went through a dry spell on its use so moisture formed in the bag. I made smaller bags this last time so we'll see how they do.
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:35 AM   #53
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Costco is one of the reasons we can "afford" Paradise. Many food items are HALF the cost of equivalents in the food stores. Typical banana prices at the food stores are $1.20 to $1.30/lb. At Costco, 3 lb for less than $2.00. If I occasionally have to pitch the last banana because it has gotten too ripe, it's still a bargain at Costco vs food store prices.

I too have noticed the "Costco" effect. Maybe it's the fear of spoilage of the large quantities sitting in the fridge or on the pantry shelf, but we go out to eat much less often of late. Saves a lot of money. We still have our Sams card, but don't shop there nearly as often. Bought tires elsewhere a couple of years ago and just bought tires at Costco. Will never buy tires anywhere else but Costco. Good prices and GREAT (fast) service.

RE: "Organic" foods, vs. GMs, etc.: I've never seen a peer-reviewed study in which the health "benefits" of "Organic" have been proven. It makes sense that a lack of additives COULD be a good thing. Still, it's a theoretical consideration as near as I can tell. I'm not "against" organic and "for" GM, I'm just sayin'... And, as always, YMMV.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:35 AM   #54
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Costco is one of the reasons we can "afford" Paradise. Many food items are HALF the cost of equivalents in the food stores. Typical banana prices at the food stores are $1.20 to $1.30/lb. At Costco, 3 lb for less than $2.00. If I occasionally have to pitch the last banana because it has gotten too ripe, it's still a bargain at Costco vs food store prices.

I too have noticed the "Costco" effect. Maybe it's the fear of spoilage of the large quantities sitting in the fridge or on the pantry shelf, but we go out to eat much less often of late. Saves a lot of money. We still have our Sams card, but don't shop there nearly as often. Bought tires elsewhere a couple of years ago and just bought tires at Costco. Will never buy tires anywhere else but Costco. Good prices and GREAT (fast) service.

RE: "Organic" foods, vs. GMs, etc.: I've never seen a peer-reviewed study in which the health "benefits" of "Organic" have been proven. It makes sense that a lack of additives COULD be a good thing. Still, it's a theoretical consideration as near as I can tell. I'm not "against" organic and "for" GM, I'm just sayin'... And, as always, YMMV.
I get the fact that food would cost more on the islands, but bananas at $1.20 a pound at grocery store? I don't get it since bananas are grown locally there and consumed there. I am a banana eater here in mid west and they are 45 cents a pound and the banana plantations are thousands of miles away from here. I guess I would be scared to find out what a pound of hamburger costs at the local grocery store there.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:58 AM   #55
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Aldi Effect +1

BTW... wonder what the price of Ramen Soup is at Costco?

FWIW... re: Genetics... IMO, this should be mandatory viewing, for those concerned with the future. The video is no longer available (copyright), but the article is there. The video is often aired on LinkTV... next airing Dec 27. It may still be available on some sites...

The World According to Monsanto | Watch Free Documentary Online
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:07 PM   #56
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Just for yucks here what $19.04 bought at Aldi yesterday. It still amazes me that I can buy a huge bag of groceries for that price.
Head of cauliflower
Two cartons of fresh blueberries
One large bag of baby carrots
1 large tub Fage 0% Greek yogurt
8 large Red Delicious apples
One oversize container of old fashioned oats
One large tub of shredded Parmesan cheese
100 count ziploc-style sandwich bags
1 large European dark chocolate bar
1 huge bag of chex-mix style snack
Dozen eggs

I try to try something new each time and so far haven't been disappointed. This time it was the chex-mix snacks. The bag was about 4 x the size of the name-brand chex-mix for about 1/3 the price, the contents of the mix was exactly the same, and the taste was super fresh, crunchy, and all around better than the "real" chex mix.
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:58 PM   #57
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I get the fact that food would cost more on the islands, but bananas at $1.20 a pound at grocery store? I don't get it since bananas are grown locally there and consumed there. I am a banana eater here in mid west and they are 45 cents a pound and the banana plantations are thousands of miles away from here. I guess I would be scared to find out what a pound of hamburger costs at the local grocery store there.
Mulligan, you are both right and wrong about bananas here in Paradise. Yes, they are grown locally, but only the so-called "apple bananas". The kind of bananas you are familiar with are NOT grown locally. The "normal" bananas are shipped in from similar growers as your $.45 variety. But HERE, in the food stores, those $.45 bananas are $1.19 or $1.29. I suppose the biggest factor is that Hawaii is THE MOST isolated inhabited spot on earth (excludes Antarctica since it is not truly "inhabited"). Costco can sell them for less (perhaps) because they ship in large volumes and have pricing pressure on producers (only the shipping costs are different). This is wild speculation on my part.

Now, let me blow your mind. The apple bananas are MORE expensive locally than "normal" bananas! Don't know for certain why, but they are.

Oh, and hamburger runs almost $4.00/lb though it tends to be a loss leader item (like milk - which just crossed the $5/gal threshold at COSTCO!).

My best guess as to why locally grown produce tends to be as expensive or MORE expensive as shipped-in produce: Local land for growing is very high priced (alternative use for the land tends to dictate the actual price of land here). Also, labor costs are high here. A banana boat loader or cutter in India or Philippines or Brazil probably doesn't expect to make $8 to $10/hour or more as they would here.

As a side note, there was a time less than 20 years ago when Hawaii was a major producer of pineapple and sugar cane. Now almost all of that is gone. Primarily, the reason is labor costs became non-competitive with the rest of the world. Pineapples are still grown for the tourists, but not for local consumption or export as they used to be. Sad, really. Hawaii has priced itself out of self-sufficiency in food production. Too bad we don't have oil (well, we do have sun-tan oil, heh, heh).

So endeth today's lesson. YMMV
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:01 AM   #58
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We were Price Club's members before it became Costco. So, it goes back 30+ years.

Costco always has excellent prices and high quality. If they carry something I need, I would buy there without bothering to check elsewhere. However, we have found that our grocery need has greatly diminished compared to when we were raising two teenagers, and Costco huge packages of fruits/veggies/meats became too much for us. So, we started to buy more groceries from other stores like Sprout, Fresh & Easy, and Trader Joe's.

Regarding wine, I happened to watch a CNBC report on how Costco has become the #1 wine retailer in the US. It has a lot of purchasing power, and many wine producers have to kowtow to it. Costco only marks up 15% on wine as whatever else it sells, hence its wine bottles are good buys. However, as I buy mostly wines under $10, Costco's selection of wine is too rich for me, and I do not get wine there often.

And talk about food in Hawaii, in my recent visit to Kona, as we stayed in a timeshare and had a kitchen, we did some grocery shopping at the local Costco as well as a couple of smaller grocery stores. My, veggies and fruits were expensive!

Even on the big island where there's more land, I think the higher labor rate is a reason locally grown food is expensive. Driving across California, where one sees fruit and nut orchards extending to the horizon, one must ask how many workers are needed to tend to all those trees and pick the harvest. Yes, the cheap immigrant laborers, whether legal or illegal, must be a main reason our mainland food is so cheap, compared to that in Hawaii as well as European countries.

A side note: Why is gasoline only $3.99 at Kona Costco, which is less expensive than in California? Something is very wrong! And I mean the higher price in California, not the lower price in Hawaii, of course.
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:32 AM   #59
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If I occasionally have to pitch the last banana because it has gotten too ripe, it's still a bargain at Costco vs food store prices.
Really ripe bananas can still be thrown in a smoothie or used to make muffins/banana bread. Just throw them whole in the freezer. Let them thaw a bit when ready to use and then smoosh them out of the peel. Or you can unpeel and freeze whole in a container.
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:59 AM   #60
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I have a Walmart neighborhood market next door to the condo where I live. I love it !

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