Monday, August 18, 2008

Location plays role in how groceries are priced

Survey calculates cost of the same foods at various Seattle stores

Mel Cloyd, rear, explains what information needs to be collected from the label on a package of meat to Star Lebron, 17, at PCC Natural Markets in West Seattle. The two were one of the many teams spread out over the West Seattle and Delridge communities Friday gathering prices for a survey on how much food costs.

One of dozens of volunteers who surveyed grocery store prices last week, the teenager weighed and calculated the per-pound price of a single bell pepper.

"That's crazy -- they're $3 a pound," said her cousin, 16-year-old Khatsini Simani. "Most people don't want to sit here and do the math."

The community survey -- based on a list of items to healthfully feed a family of four for a week -- uncovered a wide price range among supermarkets in West Seattle, White Center and Burien.

It found a $112 difference between organic food pioneer PCC and the cheapest grocer. A $35 spread separated other supermarkets -- enough to matter to anyone watching food bills reach new heights.

In general, supermarket costs were higher in more affluent neighborhoods, researchers say. For instance, the Admiral Safeway in West Seattle was $31 more expensive than the Safeway five miles away in White Center, according to the community survey.

To learn more about FEEST, go to For more on the King County Food & Fitness Initiative visit

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