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Food-Basket Survey Guides Consumers

Feb. 16, 2009 — Savvy shoppers have a little help from the Licensing and Consumer Affairs Department, thanks to a recent food-basket survey.
The survey was done the last week in January and compares staples at each island's largest stores. It was conducted by selecting a number of identical items, by category: produce, dairy, baby products, meats, fish, poultry and common beverages.
While Licensing has 100 items on its survey list, the same items are not always available at all stores. This makes it impossible for licensing to know if prices are up or down since the last survey.
"It's hard to say," said Licensing Commissioner Kenrick Robertson.
Nonetheless, the information on each survey is useful to the consumer, Robertson said.
"We want to arm the public with the kind of information that will help families stretch their hard-earned dollars and get the best bargains they can," he said.
On St. Thomas, prices on 40 items were compared at Pueblo Long Bay, Pueblo Sub Base, Plaza Extra and Food Center. Food Center was the most expensive, with the basket running $139.30. Pueblo and Plaza Extra stores were similar, with Pueblo's Long Bay store the cheapest at $120.78. Pueblo's Sub Base store food basket totaled $121.95 and Plaza Extra's $123.19.
On St. Croix, 42 identical items were surveyed at Pueblo's La Reine and Golden Rock locations and Plaza Extra locations in Frederiksted and Sion Farm. The lowest-priced food basket was found at Pueblo La Reine for $122.18. Following close behind was Pueblo in Golden Rock at $122.61. In third place was Plaza Extra in Frederiksted with a food basket totaling $125.84. Plaza Extra in Sion Farm had the highest-priced food basket at $128.57.
Inspectors found prices within the Pueblo supermarket chain on both St. Thomas and St. Croix were more uniform than in prior surveys.
Twenty-six identical items were selected for the survey in two major supermarkets on St. John. Dolphin Market food basket was the lower of the two, coming in at $75.58, while Starfish Market's food basket was priced at $81.32 for the same items.
One of the few items found at all stores on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John, Holsum white bread, was the same price at $3.09 a loaf. Country Heart whole wheat bread was also the same at $3.89 a loaf.
However, the price of a head of broccoli was all over the place, and topped out at $5.59 at Starfish Market on St. John. By comparison, St. John's Dolphin Market charged $3.95.
For St. John residents, it may be worth the trip to St. Thomas's Plaza Extra store, where broccoli was $2.49 a head. It ran $2.79 at Pueblo's Long Bay and Sub Base stores. At Food Center, shoppers paid $3.39 for a head of broccoli.
On St. Croix, broccoli was cheapest at Plaza Extra's Frederiksted store with a price of $2.39 a head. The Plaza Extra store in Sion Farm charged $3.39. At Publeo La Reine, the price ran $2.79 a head, while it was $2.99 a head at Pueblo in Golden Rock.
Except for five pounds of potatoes and lemons, Dolphin Market was uniformly cheaper on fruits and vegetables than Starfish Market. Dolphin's potato prices ran $5.95 for five pounds, but Starfish charged $5.49. Lemons were the same price at both stores — $1.
Those same five pounds of potatoes on St. Thomas ran $3.99 at Plaza Extra, $4.39 at both Pueblo stores and $4.99 at Food Center.
On St. Croix, five pounds of potatoes were a low of $2.99 at Plaza Extra in Sion Farm, $3.50 at Plaza Extra in Frederiksted and $4.39 at both Pueblo stores.
Robertson expressed gratitude to members of the community who willingly shared pricing information and concerns.
"In these times of economic uncertainty, it is especially important that we remain vigilant in monitoring prices on goods and services in order to provide information to consumers so that they can make informed decisions on spending their hard-earned money," he said.
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Feb. 16, 2009 -- Savvy shoppers have a little help from the Licensing and Consumer Affairs Department, thanks to a recent food-basket survey.
The survey was done the last week in January and compares staples at each island's largest stores. It was conducted by selecting a number of identical items, by category: produce, dairy, baby products, meats, fish, poultry and common beverages.
While Licensing has 100 items on its survey list, the same items are not always available at all stores. This makes it impossible for licensing to know if prices are up or down since the last survey.
"It's hard to say," said Licensing Commissioner Kenrick Robertson.
Nonetheless, the information on each survey is useful to the consumer, Robertson said.
"We want to arm the public with the kind of information that will help families stretch their hard-earned dollars and get the best bargains they can," he said.
On St. Thomas, prices on 40 items were compared at Pueblo Long Bay, Pueblo Sub Base, Plaza Extra and Food Center. Food Center was the most expensive, with the basket running $139.30. Pueblo and Plaza Extra stores were similar, with Pueblo's Long Bay store the cheapest at $120.78. Pueblo's Sub Base store food basket totaled $121.95 and Plaza Extra's $123.19.
On St. Croix, 42 identical items were surveyed at Pueblo's La Reine and Golden Rock locations and Plaza Extra locations in Frederiksted and Sion Farm. The lowest-priced food basket was found at Pueblo La Reine for $122.18. Following close behind was Pueblo in Golden Rock at $122.61. In third place was Plaza Extra in Frederiksted with a food basket totaling $125.84. Plaza Extra in Sion Farm had the highest-priced food basket at $128.57.
Inspectors found prices within the Pueblo supermarket chain on both St. Thomas and St. Croix were more uniform than in prior surveys.
Twenty-six identical items were selected for the survey in two major supermarkets on St. John. Dolphin Market food basket was the lower of the two, coming in at $75.58, while Starfish Market's food basket was priced at $81.32 for the same items.
One of the few items found at all stores on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John, Holsum white bread, was the same price at $3.09 a loaf. Country Heart whole wheat bread was also the same at $3.89 a loaf.
However, the price of a head of broccoli was all over the place, and topped out at $5.59 at Starfish Market on St. John. By comparison, St. John's Dolphin Market charged $3.95.
For St. John residents, it may be worth the trip to St. Thomas's Plaza Extra store, where broccoli was $2.49 a head. It ran $2.79 at Pueblo's Long Bay and Sub Base stores. At Food Center, shoppers paid $3.39 for a head of broccoli.
On St. Croix, broccoli was cheapest at Plaza Extra's Frederiksted store with a price of $2.39 a head. The Plaza Extra store in Sion Farm charged $3.39. At Publeo La Reine, the price ran $2.79 a head, while it was $2.99 a head at Pueblo in Golden Rock.
Except for five pounds of potatoes and lemons, Dolphin Market was uniformly cheaper on fruits and vegetables than Starfish Market. Dolphin's potato prices ran $5.95 for five pounds, but Starfish charged $5.49. Lemons were the same price at both stores -- $1.
Those same five pounds of potatoes on St. Thomas ran $3.99 at Plaza Extra, $4.39 at both Pueblo stores and $4.99 at Food Center.
On St. Croix, five pounds of potatoes were a low of $2.99 at Plaza Extra in Sion Farm, $3.50 at Plaza Extra in Frederiksted and $4.39 at both Pueblo stores.
Robertson expressed gratitude to members of the community who willingly shared pricing information and concerns.
"In these times of economic uncertainty, it is especially important that we remain vigilant in monitoring prices on goods and services in order to provide information to consumers so that they can make informed decisions on spending their hard-earned money," he said.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.