Mon. Mar 4th, 2024

If you live in Ontario, you’re likely all too familiar with the weekly struggle of rifling through flyers and chasing sales in pursuit of an affordable grocery bill. So naturally, many residents turn to budget-friendly stores like No Frills and Food Basics to try and save money.

But how much are we really saving? Narcity decided to compare the two supermarkets to find out which one offers a better deal.

We put together a grocery list of everyday items that are likely to make their way into many a fridge and pantry each week. And to ensure our comparison was as accurate as possible, we only chose products of the same weight or quantity and the shopping was done on the same day (Thursday, April 20). In each case, we opted for the cheapest product available.

Grocery haul at Food Basics. Right: Grocery haul at No Frills.Grocery haul at Food Basics. Right: Grocery haul at No Frills.Rhythm Sachdeva | Narcity, Samantha Peksa | Narcity

And while it’s important to note prices are subject to change at any time and may vary from location to location, some of the differences were striking. There were a number of sales on products like olive oil, cheddar and yogurt that really helped bring the total cost down.

In fact, the same Astro Yogurt at Food Basics cost $1.98 versus $3.47 at No Frills due to a sale. Unfortunately, it was completely sold out by the time I got there (while No Frills had rows and rows of it).

Here are some of the other products we compared:

2% Milk

\u200b2% Milk at No Frills. Right: Lactantia 2% Milk

2% Milk at No Frills. Right: Lactantia 2% Milk

Samantha Peksa | Narcity, Instacart

The opening round of this battle between food retail giants kicked off with a comparison of one of the most commonly purchased items — 1 litre of milk. Both Food Basics and No Frills stocked the same product with two different brands, Lactantia and Neilson.

We discovered a 20-cent price difference.

  • Food Basics: $3.69
  • No Frills: $3.49

Cheese

\u200bCheddar cheese at No Frills. Right: \u200bCheddar cheese at Food Basics.

Cheddar cheese at No Frills. Right: Cheddar cheese at Food Basics.

Samantha Peksa | Narcity, Rhythm Sachdeva | Narcity,

The next round of this battle was for my favourite grocery item: a block of cheddar cheese. We both picked up a 400g block each, enough for several grilled cheese sandwiches for the rest of the month.

No Frills’ cheddar cheese was from President’s Choice, and Food Basics’ was Black Diamond. The sale at Food Basics led to a significant price drop. However, it’s worth noting that Food Basics’ original price of the cheese, at $7.49, was higher.

We discovered almost a $2 price difference.

  • Food Basics: $4.88
  • No Frills: $6.99

Eggs

\u200bEggs at No Frills.

Eggs at No Frills.

Samantha Peksa | Narcity

We were eventually greeted by the sight of rows upon rows of white cartons and knew it was time for eggs. We picked up cartons of 12 each, the brands were Selection at Food Basics and Prestige at No Frills.

The price difference was only a few cents.

  • Food Basics: $3.69
  • No Frills: $3.73

Red onions

Red onions at Food Basics. Right: Red onions at No Frills.

Red onions at Food Basics. Right: Red onions at No Frills.

Rhythm Sachdeva | NarcitySamantha Peksa | Narcity

We then decided to move on to produce. Our next item on the list was onions. Since picking up a bag of onions each would’ve led to different weights, we both picked up three red onions each for an accurate comparison.

We discovered almost a 30-cent difference.

  • Food Basics: $3.45
  • No Frills: $3.73

Ground chicken

\u200bGround chicken at Food Basics. Right: Ground chicken at No Frills.

Ground chicken at Food Basics. Right: Ground chicken at No Frills.

Rhythm Sachdeva | Narcity, Samantha Peksa | Narcity

Most households need chicken, right? But, finding a similar weight packaging of most chicken was incredibly complex.

We ended up settling for the closest comparison we could find of ground chicken which was 450g at Food Basics and 454g at No Frills.

Even so, the price difference felt very surprising at more than $1.50.

  • Food Basics: $6.49
  • No Frills: $8.00

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil at Food Basics. Right: Extra virgin olive oil at No Frills.

Extra virgin olive oil at Food Basics. Right: Extra virgin olive oil at No Frills.

Rhythm Sachdeva | Narcity, Samantha Peksa | Narcity

In the next round of our grocery price comparison, we turned to a kitchen staple — 1 litre of extra virgin olive oil. Both Food Basics and No Frills carried the product, and we made sure to select the same quantity for each. The brands were Irresistibles and Gallo.

We discovered a $1 price difference.

  • Food Basics: $11.99
  • No Frills: $12.99

Bread

\u200bBread section at Food Basics. Right: Bread at No Frills.

Bread section at Food Basics. Right: Bread at No Frills.

Rhythm Sachdeva | Narcity, Samantha Peksa | Narcity

After that, we moved on to bread, a household staple that can’t be missed. We opted for a standard 600g loaf at both stores and found that the price difference was quite small.

At Food Basics, we bought the bread from Dempster’s and at No Frills, we bought the bread from Country Harvest.

  • Food Basics: $3.39
  • No Frills: $3.49

Spaghetti

Spaghetti at No Frills. Right: Spaghetti from Food Basics.

Spaghetti at No Frills. Right: Spaghetti from Food Basics.

Samantha Peksa | Narcity, Rhythm Sachdeva | Narcity

We shifted our attention to one of the most beloved and versatile staples in any pasta lover’s pantry: spaghetti. We knew we couldn’t overlook this classic.

At Food Basics, we bought 900g of spaghetti from Selection and at No Frills, the spaghetti was no name brand. There was a price gap of 50 cents, and the no name pasta actually ended up being more expensive.

  • Food Basics: $1.79
  • No Frills: $2.29

Frozen vegetables

\u200bFrozen vegetables at Food Basics. Right: Frozen vegetables at No Frills.

Frozen vegetables at Food Basics. Right: Frozen vegetables at No Frills.

Rhythm Sachdeva | Narcity, Samantha Peksa | Narcity

I buy these to toss in my rice and noodles for a more balanced meal, and I’m hoping the average Canadian can relate.

The packet contains a variety of veggies like carrots, peas, corn and mushrooms. We purchased a 750g packet from President’s Choice at No Frills and Selection at Food Basics. The price difference was significant.

  • Food Basics: $3.29
  • No Frills: $4.99

Butter

Butter at No Frills. \u200b

Butter at No Frills.

Samantha Peksa | Narcity

For many households, butter is an essential ingredient that can be used in a wide variety of dishes.

With this in mind, we knew that we had to include it on our lists. After carefully surveying the options, we settled on a standard 454g package. We had bought butter from the Selection brand at Food Basics and picked up the no name brand at No Frills. They both came up to the exact same price.

  • Food Basics: $6.49
  • No Frills: $6.49

Bananas

Bananas at No Frills.

Bananas at No Frills.

Samantha Peksa | Narcity

We knew we needed some fruit on our list somewhere and felt that bananas might be safest. Both stores sold bushels of bananas of eight each, and it felt like the perfect number for both snacking and banana bread baking.

We found a 32-cent price difference.

  • Food Basics: $2.00
  • No Frills: $1.68

The winner

Grocery bill at No Frills. Right: Grocery bill at Food Basics.

Grocery bill at No Frills. Right: Grocery bill at Food Basics.

Samantha Peksa | Narcity, Rhythm Sachdeva | Narcity

All in all, when we compared the total cost at both stores, Food Basics came up to $51.15, and No Frills checked out at $58.83. This means the winner of this particular grocery war was Food Basics with the cheaper haul and $7.68 in comparative savings. Not bad!


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By admin