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Grocery price comparisons — corporations weigh in

Winn-Dixie, Presidente, Price Choice and Publix explain price choices

Ashley Montgomery | 11/7/2013, 9 a.m.

Last week, our lead story compared the prices of six staple items at four local grocery stores. Surprisingly, the most shopped-at store by the Black community, Winn Dixie, had the highest prices. This week, The Miami Times wanted to get a closer look into the decision-making and exactly why customers choose the stores that they do.

According to last week's exclusive report, we know that the current cheapest grocery store for six staple items was Presidente Supermarketers. Following-up on this investigation we spoke with local managers, spokespersons as well as customers who frequented the stores.

Winn-Dixie’s items totaled to $29.72, Presidente’s total amounted to $24.93, that’s a $4.79 difference. Many of the brands included in the report were "house" brands as well as Women, Infant and Children’s [WIC]-approved items.

Presidente accountant and troubleshooter, Afausto Alvarez, said he stands behind the brand that his company has built over the years.

“We base our prices according to the market; we also base our prices in volume,” he said.

By definition, pricing by volume is a business strategy that allows discounts for bulk purchases. Typically, the greater the number of units purchased, the greater the discount allowed.

According to research, Presidente does the least in order to reach out to customers, but their return is greater mainly due to the cheaper prices that they have. In terms of outreach, Winn Dixie offers a mobile app, electronic coupons and in-store programs to reach their target audiences.

“We have a weekly flyer that is mailed to the houses in the area to alert them about our discounts and savings,” Alvarez said.

Winn-Dixie and Presidente are similar when purchasing their products from local farms and groves whenever possible to reduce transportation time and ensure peak-of-perfection ripeness.

As for Winn-Dixie, Myra Hernandez, a spokesperson and representative for the Miami stores, said that each store has a different make-up.

“Based on what they are purchasing we merchandize the store based on the customers that visits that specific location,” Hernandez said.

Winn-Dixie has several discount programs that they offer to their customers. Under the Real Deal savings programs there’s Dependable Deals where low prices are “locked in” to help customers save on the items you buy most.

“The dependable deals last for 10 weeks at a time and you know the price is going to be the same the next time you come back,” Hernandez said.

Winn-Dixie also prides themselves on their partnerships within the Black community. This past year alone, Winn-Dixie has worked with Curley’s House of Style, a local food bank, to improve the quality of life for low-to-moderate income individuals and families.

“We try to be as visible as possible to our consumers,” Hernandez said.

Customer appreciation

As the saying goes, “different strokes, for different folks.” We asked some shoppers why they choose to spend their hard-earned money at either store and the answers varied.

“I chose to shop at Presidente because it's a lot more convenient for me than any other store in the area,” Eric Lewis said.

“Presidente is just economically smart for me on my pockets and my gas,” David Coleman Jr., said.

“I just feel like I get better deals at Winn-Dixie with my reward card,” Margaret Blash said. “I also get gas discounts when I shop with Winn-Dixie and I don’t get that deal from any other grocery store.