Online grocery shopping convenient, but factors may make it pric - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Online grocery shopping convenient, but factors may make it pricier

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(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The average family of four spends $900 per month on food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

While prices continue to rise, one alternative way of shopping may end up costing shoppers more money.

"I have three boys to feed and I definitely would like to feed them as cheap as I can," said Gina Burby, a shopper.

Burby said she makes sure to look at coupons and the price of groceries before she heads to the store.

"I usually gets some meats and I'll get some breads," she said. "I'll gets some fruits and vegetables."

During the winter, however, she alters how she shops.

"When it's cold outside, I prefer the online shopping," Burby said.

Over the last three years, the number of online grocery stores has exploded to more than 50.

From stores like Amazon.com and Netgrocer to brick-and-mortar stores like Stop & Shop and Shoprite, there are a number of places that offer to deliver your food to your door.

"Most of them are located in large urban centers, but it is starting to proliferate into smaller urban centers," said David Cadden of Quinnipiac University.

Cadden said it has fueled a price war on items like toilet paper and water.

"In some cases, going into the brick and mortar store could actually be more expensive," Cadden said.

Eyewitness News picked six common items that are likely in most homes and compared the price. They were Tide, a box of Oreo cookies, Cherrios, Lay's Lightly Salted Potato Chips, Scott's bath tissue and Poland Spring Water.

At Shoprite the price customers pay for the items in a store is the same that's paid online. However, there's a catch.

"There can be a delivery charge," Cadden said. "Sometimes there's a charge to pickup the carton that they use."

Stop & Shop and its online Peapod service had some price differences. Online, the Tide Eyewitness News selected was $5.49. In the store, it was $8.49. The Oreo cookies were also 79 cents more in the store.

Overall, Eyewitness News found the items on Amazon.com's Prime and Prime Pantry program to be more expensive than what's at a neighborhood grocery store.

The same bag of potato chips that costs $2 at Shoprite were nearly twice as much on Amazon.

"You want to check out if there's a minimum size on the delivery," Cadden said. "You might want to check the mileage and the cost of the gasoline to drive to and from your supermarket."

"I'd definitely go online if it's cheaper," said Bobby Dibacco, a shopper.

Cadden believes that even with the growth of online companies, neighborhood grocery stores aren't going away anytime soon.

"I think we will have brick and mortar stores," he said. "I think what you might wind up with is that they're going to try to emphasize more of an experience for you to go there."

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