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The Cheapest Grocery Stores in Canada by ProvinceJune 27, 2023
With grocery prices higher than ever, Canadian shoppers are doing whatever they can in order to save money wherever they can. One of the ways that they do this is choosing affordable Canadian grocery stores to shop at.
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This is because not all stores have equal food prices. Because of that, we are going to go over some of the cheapest grocery stores in Canada.
Store With the Lowest Prices
When it comes to figuring out the grocery stores with the lowest prices, there are actually quite a few different ones in Canada. That said, even though the same stores exist throughout Canada, they might have the lowest prices in one province, but not the other. There are even some stores that are located only in certain parts of the country. This means they could have much lower prices than the other stores that are located all throughout the country. Let’s take a look at some of these stores.
No Frills is one of the different stores that is owned by Loblaws Companies Limited. You can find it in every province except for Quebec. Just like with Real Canadian Superstore, Atlantic Superstore or Shoppers Drug Mart, you can collect points with your PC Optimum card , and earn extra points when you make purchases using your PC Mastercard or debit card.
No Frills has a flyer that showcases the weekly low prices on food items as well as the non food items in their stores. They will also price match. This means that if you find something cheaper in a flyer from another store, No Frills will match their price. You can also order your groceries online and pick them up. You can even get this service for $0, if the order is eligible.
While No Frills is a Loblaws company, it is different from their other stores. The idea behind no frills is that there are no frills such as:
- No deli counters
- No name brands
- Limited store displays
These things allow the store to price their products just a little lower than the competitors. Their products may not be displayed as beautifully as other stores, but the quality is still there. This allows the customer to still get the cheapest groceries without compromising on quality.
Walmart is another great store that offers good quality products at a great price. The only place in Canada where there isn’t a Walmart is Nunavut. Other than that, you can access a Walmart flyer anywhere that you live. That said, unlike some other grocery stores, Walmart actually doesn’t price match. They do, however, have some of the lowest grocery prices in Canada.
When it comes to shopping at a Walmart Supercenter, part of the charm is that you can find more than just groceries there. They also have great deals on:
- School supplies
- Household items
- Beauty supplies
- Pet supplies
- Small appliances
- Outdoor gear
- Seasonal items
- Crafting supplies
There is so much more there as well. At Walmart you can find everything you are looking for. This is part of the reason that so many Canadians choose to shop there. The convenience of only going to one store and not multiple stores can also save you money. There may be some items that are more expensive than other stores, but overall, they are one of the most competitively priced stores in the country.
Another great grocery store that is super competitively priced is Freshco. They are the discount banner of Sobeys Inc. Not only are they priced low, but they do price match and beat the price by 1 cent as well just to help you save a little more. That said, though, currently Freshco is only located in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.
You can find all of Freshco’s prices listed in their flyer. You can also earn scene points so any potential points you can earn are also listed in the flyer. If the sale items are sold out, you can get a rain check. On top of that, they also have a double fresh guarantee. This means that if you aren’t satisfied with something you purchase, they will not only refund you the money but replace the product as well.
Giant Tiger is another really popular grocery chain. They are located all over Canada except for British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador. Just like a lot of the other grocery stores that we have discussed, their main focus is to provide your family with the best quality groceries at the lowest prices. This is one of the reasons that they also do price matching. Not only that they offer plenty of other things such as clothes, home furnishings, seasonal products and much more.
When you shop with Giant Tiger, you don’t have to actually go into the store. You can shop online and either get your groceries delivered or pick them up. Orders over $50 can be eligible for free delivery as well. You can also get free in store pick up if you order before noon. Items that aren’t perishable or not grocery can be shipped to you once they are ordered online as well.
Another perk about shopping at Giant Tiger is their GT VIP programs. Those who are registered for it get cool perks such as:
- Exclusive contests
- Exclusive sweepstakes
- Saving at restaurants
- Savings at sporting events
- Many different partnership perks
Just like No Frills, Maxiis one of the grocery stores that is owned by Loblaws . The difference is that they are a discount retailer that is only available in Quebec. Their flyer is available online. They also price match and you can order online for pick up and delivery. They even have their own coupons that you can checkout on their website.
When you scroll through their website, you can tell right away it’s very similar to Superstore. You can even earn PC points through your PC Optimum account. They also have listed all of the products that will earn you extra points. You can also earn more by using your PC Financial Mastercard or bank account, in conjunction with your PC Optimum account.
Save on Foods
Save on Foods hasn’t always been known for having the lowest prices. They often have focused a lot on quality. While this is a great thing and what a lot of people look for in a grocery store, since the increase in inflation they have also become one of the cheaper grocery stores. They have even started offering $1.49 days again on select Tuesdays throughout the year.
Surprisingly enough, Save on Foods also price matches. This is really convenient and avoids you having to go to too many stores. They also have flyers and you can collect Save on More rewards points to get free groceries or other rewards. They also offer grocery delivery and free pickup for your first 3 orders.
How to Spend Less Money on Groceries in Canada
As grocery prices climb, more people are trying to find ways to save where they can. There are a few simple things you can do in order to help you save a little money. It might not seem like much, but the more you do it then the more that you save.
Buy in Bulk
While this isn’t always the case, there are a lot of items that are much cheaper to buy in bulk. Not only that, buying them this way saves you from making a lot of trips to the store which, in turn, can save you quite a bit of money on fuel. Be sure to do your research though and make sure you are getting a good deal.
Price matching is actually pretty simple. You can do it with either a paper flyer or an app on your phone. All you have to do is show the deal when you go to pay. The price will then be changed at the till for you. This is great especially when stacked with a points offer that you can use towards free groceries. It also saves you from shopping at too many stores.
There are plenty of stores around that have in-store coupons. There are also manufacturer coupons. While a dollar here or there may seem insignificant, they can add up quite quickly. There are plenty of coupon websites out there as well that provide you these coupons. You usually have your choice between print or mail coupons.
Shop the Flyers
When you make your weekly grocery list, shopping the flyer to make your meal plan can be a great way to reduce your costs. Not only that, you can end up finding some new recipes and expanding your palate as well.
Which is Cheaper: Costco or Walmart?
This is a tricky question to answer. Technically both of these places can be cheaper depending on the item that you are purchasing. The first reason for this is Costco sells in bulk. Depending on which item you are purchasing and how many people will be using that item. It may not always be cheaper. It really depends on the shelf life. If you do purchase it cheaper in bulk but don’t use all of it, is it actually cheaper?
When it comes to bulk grocery items like eggs, cheese, coffee, crackers, things like that, Costco is the cheaper way to go. A lot of household snacks, frozen foods and even everyday foods like yogurt and pasta can also be much cheaper. In cases like this, buying in bulk can save you lots of money.
Walmart on the other hand, has very competitive prices. When it comes to things like toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning supplies, they are actually much cheaper than you would expect them to be. A lot of this comes from the fact that there is a much wider selection at Walmart than there is at Costco.
The Difference Between Walmart and Supermarkets
There are actually quite a few differences between Walmart and supermarkets. The first is that Walmart is a supercenter. The definition of a supercenter is that it’s a large discount department store that also has a large grocery selection. A supermarket is defined as a self-service shopping center that has a wide variety of groceries and household items.
If you break that down a little further, you will notice that, even though you can get groceries at Walmart, there are still plenty of things that you are unable to get there. These are things that you could find at a supermarket.
On the other hand, a Walmart supercenter is like a one stop shop. You can get pretty much everything you need there. There are electronics, housewares, cosmetics, clothes and everything in between. You can get most things you need there, there may just be the odd thing that you need to grab somewhere else. Especially things like deli meats or more rare items.
Grocery Price Comparisons
When it comes to finding the best grocery prices where you live, the best way is by using an app. Essentially, how these apps work is that you enter your postal code and it shows you the flyers in your area. From there you just enter in the item you are looking for and it will show you all of the stores with that item on sale and what the price is. You can then either choose to shop at that store or screen shot it and use it to price match. Keep in mind though, not all of these apps show you the regular prices, just the sale items.
The top 5 recommended apps to compare prices are:
- Grocery King
- My Grocery Deals
While all of these apps are technically different and have their own features, they are great for grocery price comparisons. It may not seem like a lot, but paying attention to the price differences can end up saving you quite a bit of money in the long run.
Most Expensive Grocery Stores in Canada
Since we have already discussed the cheapest grocery stores in Canada, it only makes sense that we also discuss some of the most expensive grocery stores in Canada. A lot of these stores have a variety of more organic products than the stores we discussed above. While all the stores focus on quality and competitive produce prices, having a wider selection can make a big difference to shoppers. Especially in the off season when farmers markets aren’t running, having access to quality produce is important, even if there’s a slight addition to your grocery expenses.
This is an example of an expensive grocery store. This chain is actually only located in British Columbia as well. Because it’s such a specialized store. That said, there are plenty of items here that you can’t find anywhere else. They have a deli, fresh bakery and everything is organized by food category throughout the store.
Just like other stores, Thrifty Foods has a flyer to show you all the sales. They also allow you to shop online and pick up your order. They even offer catering, floral arrangements, cakes, as well in store shopping delivery.
While you may have heard that Loblaws is the largest grocery chain in the country, Sobeys is actually the second largest grocery chain in Canada. They offer plenty of services on their website including online shopping, recipes, their flyer as well as other useful information. They also show you ways to save money as a Soberys customer. That said, they are a little more expensive because of the variety of foods and displays that they offer. This helps set them apart from other grocery store chains.
This is a grocery store that specifically operates out of Ontario and Quebec. They have stores all over, including in southern Ontario. And, while they may not have the best prices, they are the third largest grocer in Canada. This means that they must be doing something right.
On their website you have access to their flyer, but there are also some recipes there as well as coupons. You can even order your groceries online through their app. Through there, you also have access to their rewards program, Thunderbucks. You can also browse through Metro’sgrocery options which range from everyday items to specialty grocery items as well.
While there aren’t as many Safeway’s as there used to be, it’s still a popular place to shop. This can be surprising even though their grocery prices are a bit higher, but Safeway prides themselves on their customer service. They also have speciality bakeries, a full deli, florist and they keep their aisles stocked and organized.
Also of these specialities that other stores don’t have, set them apart. They also have other items that others don’t carry. Specifically certain baked breads as well as pre-made meals in the deli.
This is a chain of supermarkets that specifically serves Southern Ontario. Just like Thrifty’s, their parent company is Sobeys. Because they are specific to one area of Canada, this makes them more unique. It also allows them to offer more specific items in their ailes as well.
When you take a look at Longos, you can see they strive to provide their customers with quality products. Right on their site you can find flyers as well as breakdown on every department in their store. They have a deli department as well as a floral department. They even offer cooking classes.
You can also shop online at Longos and have your groceries delivered or you can pick them up in store. They even have thank you rewards that allow you to earn points when you shop and earn discounts on your future purchases.
This is just a brief overview of all the grocery stores in Canada with the most and least expensive prices. It doesn’t begin to scratch the surface though, on the grocery stores out there. We didn’t even mention Food Basics or even Pricesmart Foods. There are plenty of independent and less well known stores all over the country. That said, before you go grocery shopping, check to see what the store sells, what their policies are and if they offer the price points that work for you.