MexDFmagazine

News, features, and commentary from the biggest city in the Americas, Mexico City.

The Cost of Convenience: Superama vs. Wal-Mart

Their stores are more conveniently located, but you'll pay more.

Superama: Their stores are more conveniently located, but you’ll pay more.

Just how much of a premium are you paying if you do your grocery shopping at Superama?

Plenty.

The advantage of Superama is its convenience; its disadvantage is price.

So we decided to investigate the price differences on groceries at a Wal-Mart Supercenter versus Superama — which in case you don’t know, happens to be part of Wal-Mart de Mexico.

(Yes, some of us can also shop at Soriana, Sumesa, or Comercial Mexicana, but the purpose of this research is to show how prices can differ at the same company — in this case, Wal-Mart de Mexico, depending on which of its stores you shop at.)

Based on monitoring of prices over the past month, we’ve noted that prices fluctuate a lot — especially in the produce department.

And it’s difficult to say exactly how much you’ll save by shopping at Wal-Mart versus Superama, because price differences vary from one product category to the next. But based on our research of prices, we think it’s fare to say you can expect a 15% saving by choosing Wal-Mart — and sometimes, much more than that.

Our survey compares prices on the same day, at the Wal-Mart in Del Valle (Felix Cuevas) as well as the two Superama stores in the Condesa.

We found savings almost across the board, though we did find a few products where prices were identical, or nearly so.

And just as a note, this is not meant to be a comparison of all products — this is merely a sampling of items, to give you an idea of the difference.

In all cases below, the first number is the price at Wal-Mart; the second the price at Superama. And the difference is how much extra Superama charges over the Wal-Mart price. (All prices are in pesos.)

First, let’s look at fruit/vegetables (price per kilo). This is where the biggest savings can be found:

       Product         Wal-Mart     Superama      Difference

  • Plums              34.50              39.90                +15.7%
  • Kiwi                 45.90              49.90                 +8.7%
  • Peaches           34.90             54.00               +54.7%
  • Nectarines       34.90             54.00               +54.7%
  • Bananas          11.50              14.50               +26.1%
  • Mango             15.50              18.90               +21.9%
  • Pineapple        16.50             19.60                +19.4%
  • Watermelon      8.50               9.90                +16.5%
  • Papaya              9.90              19.90               +101%
  • Lemon (agrio)   9.90             13.50                +36.4%
  • Lemon (persia)  7.90              8.90                 +12.7%
  • Avocado                             47.90      56.90     +18.8%
  • Bell pepper (green)             27.90     29.90     +7.2%
  • Bell pepper (red/orange)     45.90    47.90      +4.4%
  • Cucumber                            8.90        11.90     +33.7%
  • Tomato Saladet                   9.90       17.90      +80.0%
  • Tomato Bola                       17.50      27.90      +59.4%

At the deli/meat section, we found a narrower gap in prices:

  • Peñaranda salami                             37.90     42.90    +13.2%
  • Peñaranda chorizo pamplona           37.90     40.90    +  7.9%
  • Oscar Mayer weiners                        51.50     54.50    +  5.8%
  • Oscar Mayer bologna                       32.00     32.50    +  1.6%
  • Johnsonville sausages (6-pack)       52.90      53.90    +  1.9%
  • Johnsonville deli bites (salami)        36.90     39.90    +  8.3%
  • Johnsonville breakfast sausages      42.00     42.00         —

Cereal, however, is notably cheaper at Wal-Mart:

  • Cheerios (480 g)                 32.90   45.00       +36.8%
  • Froot Loops (210g)            31.90    36.90       +15.7%
  • Froot Loops (470g)            45.90    54.90       +19.6%
  • Corn Pops (560g)               45.90    54.90       +19.6%
  • Frosted Flakes (510g)         29.90    39.90       +33.4%

Assorted other products:

  • Ocean Spray juices (1L)                        15.70    17.90     +14.0%
  • Lala Orange Juice (1L)                          16.25    21.00      +19.2%
  • Monster Energy Drink                          24.90   31.00      +24.5%
  • Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (206g)       15.90    17.00    +6.9%
  • Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (411g)       28.40   34.50    +21.5%
  • Kraft Log Cabin maple syrup (450g)    29.00   32.00     +10.3%
  • Kraft Log Cabin maple syrup (951g)    39.90   49.90     +25.1%
  • Nature Valley peanut bars                   29.00   39.00     +34.5%
  • Empanadas (panadería)                         8.50      9.90     +16.5%
  • Rice (deli, per 100g)                              3.75      3.99     +6.4%
  • Tortillas (corn, per kilo)                         9.50      10.50   +10.5%
  • Alpura yogurt (150g)                             3.02       4.20        +39.1%
  • Aunt Jemima waffles                          34.00          43.00   +26.5%
  • Wine – Viña Maipo (assorted)              72.00        80.00     +11.1%
  • Wine – Concha y Toro (asssorted)       74.00        80.00     +8.1%

We did find three products that came out the same:

  • Milk, Lala or Alpura (1L)                 14.00     14.00
  • Bimbo white bread (medium)          21.00     21.50
  • Lays Stax potato chips                    21.50     21.50

And as for the panadería (bakery section), we found that prices are generally about 15% less across the board at Wal-Mart.

(FRIDAY UPDATE: Since first posting this story three days ago, Superama has lowered the prices on nectarines, to equal the price of Wal-Mart. But that’s just one product. The rest maintain their difference in price as noted earlier in the week.)

So, Superama may win for convenience, but based on our results, we recommend stocking up at Wal-Mart whenever possible.

The other advantage to Wal-Mart is of course product selection. It’s rare that you can go to just one Superama and find everything that’s on your list; at Wal-Mart, this is not a problem. Plus, Wal-Mart offers a much larger selection of prepared foods than does Superama.

And if there’s one other tip we can give, it’s this — learn math!

Grocery stores in the U.S. and Canada these days typically display prices along with the “unit cost” (price per 100g, for instance), so you know which size box gives you the best value. There’s no thinking necessary.

But though it’s generally assumed that buying in quantity gives you a lower per unit cost, at Superama, this is not always true. We found a number of products — including Lala orange juice, cereal, soft drinks, and macaroni and cheese — where it’s possible to buy in smaller quantities, and get a better per unit price than by buying the larger boxes.

So, be an informed shopper. The savings can really add up!

Twitter: @mexdfmagazine

One comment on “The Cost of Convenience: Superama vs. Wal-Mart

  1. Pingback: Superama’s Insane Price of the Week | MexDFmagazine

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This entry was posted on July 9, 2013 by in Business/Industry, Food and Drink and tagged , .
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