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priceBAM launches Android and FireOS mobile apps

priceBAM is proud to announce the launch of the official mobile apps for Android and FireOS devices!  We have worked a long time to bring you the best experience of priceBAM on your phone or tablet.

You can download the app from the Google Play store for your Android device by clicking on the following image link or scanning the QR code:

You can download the app from the Amazon Appstore for your FireOS device by clicking on the following image link or scanning the QR code:

What do our new mobile apps offer?

  • View recently submitted prices by community members for various grocery items.
  • Scan barcodes with a built-in barcode scanner (you can also use the ZXing barcode scanner) to quickly determine recent prices for the scanned item.
  • View item information - PLU/barcode numbers, images, GMO status, sizing information, and more!
  • If you do not see your grocery item, then you can help contribute by adding item information.
  • View store information - recent prices for the store, address, phone numbers.
  • Locate stores close to your current location.
  • View map of stores near you using the built-in Google Maps integration.

As always, priceBAM is a work in progress.  You will not find every grocery store in the country in our database nor will you find most grocery store shelf items in our database nor will you find many prices.  Consequently, we welcome you to contribute to our database by adding item information, adding store information, and adding pricing information.  This will help you and other price conscious shoppers in our community!

You can also view our mobile app FAQ for additional information.

We welcome any feedback with our apps!

Major announcement coming soon

We're sorry we haven't provided many updates recently, but priceBAM has been busy working on a major new and exciting way of interacting with priceBAM for quite a while.  priceBAM will release this new feature and extension in the next few days.  We appreciate your patience!

priceBAM has also made a number of bug fixes and improvements in the meantime.  One of the improvements will require you to reset your password if you already have a priceBAM account.  Click on the "Sign In" link in the upper right hand corner of the page.  Then click on the "Forgot Password" link and follow the instructions to reset your password.  You will then be emailed a link to reset your password.

priceBAM Now Supports Nearly All Item Identifiers Used by Grocery Stores

priceBAM supports a wide array of item identifiers.  These include:

  • PLU codes (conventional)
  • PLU codes (organic)
  • PLU codes (GMO)
  • UPC-A 12 digit barcodes
  • UPC-A 12 digit local store use/variable weight barcodes prefixed by "2"
  • EAN-13 13 digit barcodes
  • EAN-13 13 digit local store use/variable weight barcodes by "02"

These item identifier types likely represent over 90% of all item identifiers used by grocery stores to identify grocery items.

Our recent update to priceBAM now expands coverage to the following item identifiers:

Retailer assigned PLU codes are unique PLU codes assigned by a store or store chain in which a "standard" PLU code is not assigned.  For example, a grocery store may have a unique grape variant that cannot be assigned to any of the "standard" grape PLU codes - and thus the grocery store assigns a retailer assigned PLU code to it for tracking purposes.

EAN-8 barcodes are shorter eight digit barcodes (compared to the longer, "regular" 12 digit UPC-A and 13 digit EAN-13 barcodes) that are in use in many entities.

For example, Trader Joes extensively uses EAN-8 barcodes for products that are unique to their store chain.

Local store use barcodes (those prefixed by a "4" for UPC-A items and "04" for EAN-13 items) are similar to local store/variable weight barcodes prefixed by a "2" or "02".

 

These barcodes are unique to the store and/or store chain.

What does this mean for you?  This means you can record a larger array of items with different barcodes or PLU codes in priceBAM.  We would estimate that at least 95% (and that's a very conservative estimate) of all grocery store food item identifiers use the identifiers that are now supported by priceBAM!  Feel free to start adding new items to our database and record their prices!

priceBAM's Third Annual Informal Survey of the Cost of a Classic Thanksgiving Dinner - 2014 Edition

Thanksgiving Dinner ImageIt is that time of year again where we get stuffed to the gills with turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and more!  But do you ever wonder how much your Thanksgiving dinner costs?  Do you ever wonder if there is a price difference among your local neighborhood grocery stores?  The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) addresses these questions every year with their annual informal survey of the cost of a classic Thanksgiving dinner.

We here at priceBAM also wonder about the cost of your traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  Consequently, we introduce our third annual informal survey that is patterned after the AFBF survey.  Our first annual survey is here and our second annual survey is here.  Our annual survey demonstrates the power of priceBAM to help you find the best prices and provides another reliable source that will help you estimate your Thanksgiving dinner costs.

Methodology

Please note that our price survey is an informal and non-scientific survey.  Our price survey was conducted in the Bellevue, Washington area.  Bellevue is a suburb located east of Seattle on the eastern shore of Lake Washington.   We surveyed five supermarket stores (local stores of large store chains) that are all within a three mile radius of each other:

The price survey was conducted on November 16, 2014.  When national brands could not be compared (for example, milk), we used store brands.  Sale prices were used in lieu of regular prices.  Club prices were not used.  However, special deals - for example, a free turkey for $100 spent - were not used.

Our survey is patterned after the AFBF survey and uses most of the items listed in the AFBF survey.  The AFBF survey does not compare like brands.  Rather, it does not specify the brand or any specifics of products in purchased.  In contrast, our survey does attempt to select national brands wherever possible because it makes for a more valid and easier comparison.  The AFBF survey also has a category for miscellaneous items.  AFBF does not release the list of items and the amount of these items for each of these miscellaneous items.  Accordingly, our survey does not incorporate these miscellaneous items.

The following is the list of items surveyed among the supermarkets (except for Whole Foods where we use a different section - see below for more details).  We note the general name of the category in the first column and the corresponding national brand item (or local store item) surveyed in the second column:

Items Surveyed (for Fred Meyer, QFC, Safeway, and Walmart Neighborhood Market)
Item Category National Brand (or Store Brand)
Turkey, 16 lbs Butterball premium young turkey
Rolls, 12 Store brands, various national brands
Carrots, 1/2 lbs Carrots (loose)
Celery, 1/2 lbs Celery (bunch) - various varieties
Whipping cream, 8 oz Cool Whip Original Whipped Topping
Cubed stuffing, 12 oz Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Turkey
Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs Sweet potato - various varieties
Whole Milk, 1 gallon Store brands
Fresh cranberries, 12 oz Ocean Spray Fresh Premium Cranberries
Frozen green peas, 1 lb Birds Eye C&W Petite Peas
Pumpkin pie mix, 29 oz Libby's Pumpkin Mix
Pie shells (2) Keebler Ready Crust Graham Pie Crust


We surveyed different items for Whole Foods Market. Obviously, Whole Foods caters to a different clientele and purports to offer higher quality and organic/natural products. Organic items were chosen over conventional items whenever possible. The Whole Foods brand (365 Everyday Value or 365 Organic) was chosen over national brands except for the pumpkin pie mix.

The following is the list of items surveyed at Whole Foods Market.  We note the general name of the category in the first column and the corresponding Whole Foods items surveyed in the second column.

Items Surveyed (for Whole Foods Market)
Item Category Whole Foods Item
Turkey, 16 lbs Whole Foods Market Organic Young Turkey
Rolls, 12 Franz Old Fashioned Dinner Rolls
Carrots, 1/2 lbs Organic carrots (loose)
Celery, 1/2 lbs Organic celery (bunch)
Whipping cream, 7 oz 365 Everyday Value Real Dairy Light Whipped Cream
Cubed stuffing, 10 oz 365 Organic Stuffing Mix (with cranberries and chicken flavor)
Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs Organic sweet potato
Whole Milk, 1 gallon Whole Foods Market Organic Whole Milk
Fresh cranberries, 7.5 oz naturipe Organic Cranberries
Frozen green peas, 1 lb 365 Organic Green Peas
Pumpkin pie mix, 17.6 oz Pacific Organic Pumpkin Puree
Pie shells (2) Arrowhead Mills Graham Cracker Crust

 

Results


Item
Fred Meyer QFC Safeway Walmart
Results from our Classic Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey (for Fred Meyer, QFC, Safeway, and Walmart)
Turkey, 16 lbs (price per lb) $2.19 $2.19 $1.59 $1.18
Rolls, 12 (price per package) $3.99 $4.39 $2.49 $2.28
Carrots, 1/2 lbs (price per lb) $0.59 $0.99 $0.69 $0.581
Celery, 1/2 lbs (price per lb) $0.69 $0.99 $0.89 $0.741
Whipping cream, 8 oz (price per package) $1.00 $1.49 $2.49 $0.98
Cubed stuffing, 12 oz, 2 boxes (price per box) $1.25 $1.49 $2.29 $1.25
Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs (price per lb) $1.29 $1.69 $1.99 $0.88
Whole Milk, 1 gallon (price per bottle) $3.29 $2.99 $3.59 $3.38
Fresh cranberries, 12 oz (price per package) $2.00 $2.99 $2.99 $1.98
Frozen green peas, 1 lb (price per bag) $2.00 $2.49 $2.49 $2.28
Pumpkin pie mix, 29 oz (price per can) $2.99 $3.99 $3.49 $2.88
Pie shells (2) (price per package) $1.99 $2.49 $2.39 $1.78
Total Cost $61.21 $67.91 $54.14 $42.02

1Walmart did not have bulk/loose carrots or celery available for sale.  Instead, it only had prepackaged carrot and celery hearts.  We thus took a prorated amount based on the weight of the package.

NOTE: The store(s) with the lowest cost for an item category has the particularly cell highlighted in bold for that particular item category.

Item Whole Foods Market Price (Total Price)
Results from our Classic Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey (for Whole Foods Market)
Whole Foods Market Organic Young Turkey (price per lb), 16 lbs $3.99 ($63.84)
Franz Old Fashioned Dinner Rolls (price per package) $3.49
Organic Carrots, 1/2 lbs (price per lb) $0.49 ($0.99)
Organic Celery, 1/2 lbs (price per lb) $0.99 ($1.99)
365 Everyday Value Real Dairy Light Whipped Cream, 7 oz (price per package) $3.99
365 Organic Stuffing Mix, 10 oz (price per package)1 $3.00
Sweet potato, 3 lbs (price per lb) $2.49
Whole Foods Market Organic Whole Milk, 1 gallon (price per package) $5.49
naturipe Organic Cranberries, 7.5 oz (price per package)1 $3.99
365 Organic Green Peas, 1 lb (price per package) $1.99
Pacific Organic Pumpkin Puree, 17 oz (price per package)1 $3.00
Arrowhead Mills Graham Cracker Crust, 2 (price per package) $2.99 ($5.98)
Total Cost $109.49

1 Note the package sizes differ (most notably being smaller) from the package sizes used in the survey for QFC, Fred Meyer, Safeway, and Walmart Neighborhood Market.

Analysis

Similar to the previous surveys, there was a wide price discrepancy among the stores.  However, the story stayed similar to previous years.  Walmart is again the runaway price leader this year.  It beat the other grocery stores by the largest margin ever - 28% lower in price than the next least expensive grocery store (Safeway).  Safeway once again came in second although it once again did not have the lowest price in any item category.  QFC lagged far behind this year and demonstrated a significant price increase year over year.  In fact, QFC's prices were 61% higher than Walmart's prices!  Don't ever let anyone tell you grocery comparison shopping cannot save you money!

The results once again demonstrate that turkey dominates the overall price of a Thanksgiving dinner.  Special consideration should be given to selecting a turkey at the lowest price.  Over one-third of the total bill is contributed by the price of the turkey!  Walmart's turkey prices are a little less than half the price of the same exact item at both QFC and Fred Meyer!  You can save slightly over $16 just by purchasing the 16 lb turkey at Walmart instead of Fred Meyer and QFC!  However, turkey prices are lower than last year by a significant amount (at least for Walmart), albeit turkey prices increased from $1.08 just two years ago.  There is clear price inflation in regards to turkey.

Other trends include:

  • Milk prices have considerably increased this year unlike last year when it dropped significantly.  This mirrors an overall trend in rising dairy prices over the past year.
  • Processed food (such as pie shells, pumpkin pie mix, and cubed stuffing) prices seems to have stabilized in comparison to the year before.
  • With the exception of milk, prices have stabilized across the board for all item categories.  This is surely a welcome relief to families struggling across the country.
  • However, an examination of prices show an increase in prices from 2-12% over a two year period.

Walmart was the consistent price leader in nearly all item categories - and most importantly, in the turkey category.  However, Fred Meyer was the price leader in a few categories due to sales on a few items, so it still pays to find store specials in your area.  Obviously, this is where priceBAM can help!

In regards to Whole Foods, it is quite obvious that items purchased at Whole Foods are more expensive than those bought in traditional grocery stores.  The total cost is over twice the cost of a traditional grocery store.  The gap between stores that sell conventional (non-organic) products and Whole Foods seems to have widened this year.  Whether the additional cost is worth it based on the supposed increased quality and safety of the products is subject to debate and can only be answered by the grocery shopper.  However, year over year changes in the prices charged by Whole Foods seems to be limited again this year.  Whole Foods seems to have done a good job in limiting the price increases.

Conclusion

This survey demonstrated the wide price disparity among stores in a local area.  Walmart was the clear total price leader, but you can find specials in other grocery stores.  It pays to do some comparison shopping especially for the turkey.  If you combine smart, targeted shopping along with judiciuous use of coupons and other incentives, you can feed a family of ten on a very limited budget.

Finally, this survey demonstrates the power of priceBAM!  We need your help in adding prices to the database.  Sharing your prices helps you identify pricing patterns in your local stores and also helps others.  You can start by creating an account (click on the create account link on the top of the page) and creating your own shopping trip.  If you want to mimic our Thanksgiving dinner shopping list, you can do so by looking at our shopping list (which has been stripped of store brands for milk and dinner rolls as well as turkey because it is a local store item.  Its identifier differs from store to store).

We welcome your comments and suggestions!  Is this what you want to see from priceBAM in the future?  Let us know!

priceBAM's Second Annual Informal Survey of the Cost of a Classic Thanksgiving Dinner - 2013 Edition

Thanksgiving Dinner ImageIt is that time of year again where we get stuffed to the gills with turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and more!  cheeky  But do you ever wonder how much your Thanksgiving dinner costs?  Do you ever wonder if there is a price difference among your local neighborhood stores?  The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) addresses these questions every year with their annual informal survey of the cost of a classic Thanksgiving dinner.

We here at priceBAM also wonder about the cost of your traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  Consequently, we introduce our second annual informal survey that is patterned after the AFBF survey.  Our first annual survey is here.  Our annual survey demonstrates the power of priceBAM to help you find the best prices and provides another reliable source that will help you estimate your Thanksgiving dinner costs.

Methodology

Please note that our price survey is an informal and non-scientific survey.  Our price survey was conducted in the Bellevue, Washington area.  Bellevue is a suburb located east of Seattle on the eastern shore of Lake Washington.   We surveyed five supermarket stores (local stores of large store chains) that are all within a three mile radius of each other:

The price survey was conducted on November 3, 2013.  When national brands could not be compared (for example, milk), we used store brands.  Club prices and sale prices were used in lieu of regular prices.  Thus, the lowest price listed for an item was used although special deals - such as a free turkey for $100 spent - were not used.

Our survey is patterned after the AFBF survey and uses most of the items listed in the AFBF survey.  The AFBF survey does not compare like brands.  Rather, it does not specify the brand or any specifics of products in purchased.  In contrast, our survey does attempt to select national brands wherever possible because it makes for a more valid and easier comparison.  The AFBF survey also has a category for miscellaneous items.  AFBF does not release the list of items and the amount of these items for each of these miscellaneous items.  Accordingly, our survey does not incorporate these miscellaneous items.

The following is the list of items surveyed among the supermarkets (except for Whole Foods where we use a different section - see below for more details).  We note the general name of the category in the first column and the corresponding national brand item (or local store item) surveyed in the second column:

Items Surveyed (for Fred Meyer, QFC, Safeway, and Walmart Neighborhood Market)
Item Category National Brand (or Store Brand)
Turkey, 16 lbs Butterball premium young turkey
Rolls, 12 Store brands, various national brands
Carrots, 1/2 lbs Carrots (loose)
Celery, 1/2 lbs Celery (bunch) - except for Walmart
Whipping cream, 8 oz Cool Whip Original Whipped Topping
Cubed stuffing, 12 oz Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Turkey
Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs Sweet potato - various varieties
Whole Milk, 1 gallon Store brands
Fresh cranberries, 12 oz Ocean Spray Fresh Premium Cranberries
Frozen green peas, 1 lb Birds Eye C&W Petite Peas
Pumpkin pie mix, 29 oz Libby's Pumpkin Mix
Pie shells (2) Keebler Ready Crust Graham Pie Crust


We surveyed different items for Whole Foods Market. Obviously, Whole Foods caters to a different clientele and purports to offer  higher quality and organic/natural products. Organic items were chosen over conventional items whenever possible. The Whole Foods brand (365 Everyday Value or 365 Organic) was chosen over national brands.

The following is the list of items surveyed at Whole Foods Market.  We note the general name of the category in the first column and the corresponding Whole Foods items surveyed in the second column.

Items Surveyed (for Whole Foods Market)
Item Category Whole Foods Item
Turkey, 16 lbs Whole Foods Market Organic Young Turkey
Rolls, 12 Maninis Classic Dinner Roll
Carrots, 1/2 lbs Organic carrots (loose)
Celery, 1/2 lbs Organic celery (bunch)
Whipping cream, 7 oz 365 Everyday Value Real Dairy Light Whipped Cream
Cubed stuffing, 10 oz 365 Organic Stuffing Mix (with cranberries and chicken flavor)
Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs Sweet potato
Whole Milk, 1 gallon Whole Foods Market Organic Whole Milk
Fresh cranberries, 7.5 oz naturipe Organic Cranberries
Frozen green peas, 1 lb 365 Organic Green Peas
Pumpkin pie mix, 17.6 oz Pacific Organic Pumpkin Puree
Pie shells (2) Arrowhead Mills Graham Cracker Crust

 

Results


Item
Fred Meyer QFC Safeway Walmart
Results from our Classic Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey (for Fred Meyer, QFC, Safeway, and Walmart)
Turkey, 16 lbs (price per lb) $2.19 $2.19 $1.59 $1.48
Rolls, 12 (price per package) $4.29 $4.39 $4.29 $2.98
Carrots, 1/2 lbs (price per lb) $0.59 $0.99 $0.69 $0.50
Celery, 1/2 lbs (price per lb) $0.79 $0.69 $0.99 $1.241
Whipping cream, 8 oz (price per package) $1.93 $1.25 $1.49 $0.97
Cubed stuffing, 12 oz, 2 boxes (price per box) $1.49 $1.25 $1.33 $1.25
Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs (price per lb) $0.99 $0.99 $1.50 $0.88
Whole Milk, 1 gallon (price per bottle) $2.99 $2.99 $3.09 $2.68
Fresh cranberries, 12 oz (price per package) $2.50 $2.50 $2.99 $1.98
Frozen green peas, 1 lb (price per bag) $1.50 $1.99 $3.19 $2.28
Pumpkin pie mix, 29 oz (price per can) $2.50 $3.29 $2.99 $2.88
Pie shells (2) (price per package) $1.89 $1.79 $3.19 $1.78
Total Cost $61.18 $61.35 $54.87 $47.64

1Walmart did not have bulk celery available for sale.  Instead, it only had prepackaged celery hearts available in 16 ounce bags.  We thus took a prorated amount based on half of the package, i.e. 0.5 pounds.

NOTE: The store(s) with the lowest cost for an item category has the particularly cell highlighted in bold for that particular item category.

Item Whole Foods Market Price (Total Price)
Results from our Classic Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey (for Whole Foods Market)
Whole Foods Market Organic Young Turkey (price per lb), 16 lbs $63.84 ($3.99)
Maninis Classic Dinner Roll (2 packages) $9.98 ($4.99)
Organic Carrots, 1/2 lbs (price per lb) $0.49 ($0.99)
Organic Celery, 1/2 lbs (price per lb) $0.99 ($1.99)
365 Everyday Value Real Dairy Light Whipped Cream, 7 oz (price per package) $3.99
365 Organic Stuffing Mix, 10 oz (price per package)1 $3.00
Sweet potato, 3 lbs (price per lb) $1.99
Whole Foods Market Organic Whole Milk, 1 gallon (price per package) $3.29
naturipe Organic Cranberries, 7.5 oz (price per package)1 $3.99
365 Organic Green Peas, 1 lb (price per package) $1.99
Pacific Organic Pumpkin Puree, 17 oz (price per package)1 $2.99
Arrowhead Mills Graham Cracker Crust, 2 (price per package) $5.98 ($2.99)
Total Cost $112.51

1 Note the package sizes differ (most notably being smaller) from the package sizes used in the survey for QFC, Fred Meyer, Safeway, and Walmart Neighborhood Market.

Analysis

Similar to last year's survey, there was a wide price discrepancy among the stores.  Walmart is again the price leader this year, albeit its price advantage over Safeway shrunk from 20% to 15%.  Safeway once again came in second although it once again did not have the lowest price in any item category.  If you shopped for the lowest priced items among all four stores, you would have paid $45.59!  Again, it proves that you can save money if you carefully plan your shopping trips.  However, it does show that prices have increased rather remarkedly from last year.  The same strategy would have cost you $37.91!

The results once again demonstrate that turkey dominates the overall price of a Thanksgiving dinner.  Special consideration should be given to selecting a turkey at the lowest price.  Over one-third of the total bill is contributed by the price of the turkey!  Walmart's turkey prices are a little less than half the price of the same exact item at both QFC and Fred Meyer!  You can save over $11 just by purchasing the 16 lb turkey at Walmart.  It is important to note that turkey prices at Walmart have risen $0.40 per pound from last year, a 37% increase!

Other trends include:

  • Milk prices have dropped considerably this year
  • Processed food (such as pie shells, pumpkin pie mix, and cubed stuffing) prices have increased by a significant percentage
  • With the exception of milk, prices have increased across the board for all item categories, although prices for items in certain stores may not have increased.

Walmart was the consistent price leader in most item categories.  However, Fred Meyer and QFC were the price leaders in a few categories, so it still pays to find store specials in your area.  Obviously, this is where priceBAM can help!

In regards to Whole Foods, It is quite obvious that items purchased at Whole Foods are more expensive than those bought in traditional grocery stores.  The total cost is approximately twice the cost of a traditional grocery store.  Whether the additional cost is worth it based on the supposed increased quality of the products is subject to debate and can only be answered by the grocery shopper.  However, year over year changes in the prices charged by Whole Foods seems to be limited.  Whole Foods seems to have done a good job in limiting the price increases.

Conclusion

This survey demonstrated the wide price disparity among stores in a local area.  Walmart was the clear total price leader, but individual stores were price leaders on certain items.  It pays to do some comparison shopping especially for the turkey.  If you combine smart, targeted shopping along with judiciuous use of coupons and other incentives, you can feed a family of ten on a very limited budget.

Finally, this survey demonstrates the power of priceBAM!  We need your help in adding prices to the database.  Sharing your prices helps you identify pricing patterns in your local stores and also helps others.  You can start by creating an account (click on the create account link on the top of the page) and creating your own shopping trip.  If you want to mimic our Thanksgiving dinner shopping list, you can do so by looking at our shopping list (which has been stripped of store brands for milk and dinner rolls as well as turkey because it is a local store item.  Its identifier differs from store to store).

We welcome your comments and suggestions!  Is this what you want to see from priceBAM in the future?  Let us know!

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