The Average Family Thanksgiving Meal is 43% Cheaper at Tops: Tops Beats Wegmans as Best Place to Buy Thanksgiving Fixings in Rochester, NY Thanksgiving Week

Tops Markets LLC

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The biggest question you need to answer when living in Rochester, NY is where to grocery shop: Tops or Wegmans? However, for the 2011 Thanksgiving week, there was no contesting that Tops had the best prices for the average family thanksgiving meal.

Last week I’d mentioned that the cost of the average family thanksgiving menu was increasing by $5. The news came from the American Farm Bureau Federation, who took national averages for a predetermined Thanksgiving menu. I couldn’t help but wonder how the two local grocery behemoths compared. So, I took the American Farm Bureau Federation’s thanksgiving menu and did a little shopping this afternoon to find out.

Below are my results:

Item 2011 National Average Price Tops Brand Wegmans Brand
16-pound turkey 21.57 7.68 Tops 23.84 Wegmans
Milk, 1 gallon whole 3.66 2.39 Tops 2.09 Wegmans
Pumpkin pie mix, 30-oz. 3.03 2.29 Lake Shore 2.29 Wegmans
Whipping cream, ½ pint 1.96 1.59 Tops 1.69 Upstate Farms
Cubed stuffing, 14 oz. 2.88 2.00 Tops 2.64 Wegmans
Green peas, 1 lb. 1.68 1.00 Bird’s Eye .99 Wegmans
Rolls, 12 2.30 1.79 Tops 1.79 Wegmans
Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs. 3.26 1.17 Tops 1.17 Wegmans
Fresh cranberries, 12 oz. 2.48 1.97 Dole 2.00 Ocean Spray
Pie shells (2) 2.52 2.00 Tops Frozen 1.99 Wegmans Dairy
Misc. ingredients 3.10 3.10 Assumed 3.10 Assumed
1-pound relish tray  (carrots and celery) 0.76 0.91 Tops 0.83 Wegmans
TOTAL 49.20 27.89 45.64

A few things to note:

  • The brand with the cheapest price was always selected when multiple brands were an option. In most cases, they were store brands.
  • Most of the items found on the average family menu were on sale at Tops so make sure you bring or sign up for a bonus card if you want to get the lowest prices.
  • The American Farm Bureau Federation did not list what was included in Misc. Ingredients so I assumed Tops and Wegmans maintained the national average.
  • Results were taken from one Tops and one Wegmans in the same area code to account for the possibility of geography pricing differences.
  • These are the prices found at Tops and Wegmans during Thanksgiving week.
  • Price on Tops Turkey requires a total purchase of $25.

Tops Topped Wegmans for Lowest Price in Rochester, NY Thanksgiving Week

Both stores did beat the national average of $49.20 for the family Thanksgiving dinner. Wegmans came in a few dollars cheaper at $44.42. However, Tops was well below $30 in comparison. At $27.89, Tops was 43% cheaper than the national average for a family Thanksgiving dinner and 39% cheaper than Wegmans.

Tops had the Best Turkey Price

The largest factor in why Tops excelled in price can be attributed to the cost of turkey this week. Tops is featuring a young turkey for $.48/pound, while a similar turkey at Wegmans is $1.49. Wegmans’ turkey price was even more expensive than the national average of $1.35/pound.

Tops Edged Wegmans Even Without the Turkey

Tops also bested Wegmans in total costs without the turkey. Total non-turkey spending by shopping at Wegmans was $20.58, which is far below the non-turkey spending for the national average of $27.63. However, Tops was able to edge out even Wegmans’ low prices to total $20.21.

Why I Waited Until Thanksgiving Week

Both stores offered even better sales on Turkey earlier in November, which could have meant even lower prices to compare. However, I passed on running this post then for a number of reasons. First of all, I know what it is like to let time fly leaving you to try and put something together at the last minute. Second, not everyone can fit a turkey the size of a small child in their refrigerator/freezer for longer than 24 hours. Third, I wanted to see if there would be strong competition between the two leading grocers going into the last few days before Thanksgiving. Apparently, Tops is alone in trying to get last minute Thanksgiving chefs through their door before the big day.

If you are still looking for a Thanksgiving bird to roast, make sure you are headed to Tops.


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