What store sells produce for less?

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - You've probably noticed prices at the grocery store are rising. We know feeding your family healthy meals is a priority, so Local 2 consumer expert Amy Davis compared the price of produce at several Houston grocery stores. She discovered what some say is Houston's best-kept secret.

Local 2 compared prices for 12 different items in the same week at Fiesta, H Mart, HEB and Kroger. We looked at everything from apples to eggplant, adding up the cost of all 12 items at each store.

We found the lowest prices at H Mart at 1302 Blalock near Westview. The 12 produce items cost us $14.80 at the Korean grocery store. H Mart is a chain based in New Jersey with 40 stores across the country, but there is only one in Houston. We found shoppers who drive out of their way for the market's low prices.

"If you come in here on a weekend, you will not find a parking spot and it's aisle-to-aisle people," said H Mart customer Fred Sanger.

Fiesta was the second lowest with a total of $17.07.

HEB was third, charging $20.07 for all 12 items.

Kroger was the most expensive with a total of $21.89.

The difference between H Mart's total and Kroger is a whopping $7.07.

"You know $7 is $7," said consumer Elise Windland. "You can buy stuff for $7."

The price differences we discovered are significant.

Yellow peppers, for example, were $1.59 a pound at H Mart. At HEB, they were $1.98 each.

Strawberries were just 99-cents a pint at H Mart while Kroger sold them for $2.68.

HEB spokeswoman Cyndy Garza-Roberts said buying wholesome produce is not just about the price.
"A lot also has to do with the freshness and the quality," said Garza-Roberts.
Roberts said much of HEBs produce comes from Texas farms.

No one from Fiesta or Kroger wanted to talk on camera, but Kroger consumer affairs manager Joyce Partain sent us the following statement:

"When you consider our quality standards, freshness, premium sizes and price, we do feel that we offer the best value. In the competitive landscape of the grocery market, prices fluctuate every week on many items depending on the season, sales promotions, supply-and-demand, and other factors. Many of the fruits and vegetables that Kroger offers are grown in Texas. As the leading grocer in Houston, we believe in supporting local farmers and agriculture. It's the point of difference in our produce selection."

H MartKrogerHEBFiesta
3-pound bag of Clementines3.993.993.574.48
1 pound of strawberries1.292.681.982.99
10 ounces of grape tomatoes1.492.992.681.99
8 ounces of whole mushrooms1.291.881.781.88
Red pepper1.29 per pound; 1/2 pound .651.00 each.98 each.88
Yellow pepper1.59 per pound; 1/2 pound .801.25 each1.98 each.88
Braeburn apples1.29 per pound2.49 per pound.98 per pound1.49 per pound
Red onion1.29 per pound1.48 per pound1.98 per pound1.39 per pound
White onion.79 per pound.89 per pound.88 per pound.59 per pound
Avocado.59 each.50 each.50 each.33
Navel oranges4 for .99; .247 each4 for 1.00 = .25 each.97 per pound; .60 pound = .58 each.17
Eggplant.99 per pound; 1.1 pounds = 1.092.49 each1.98 per pound; 1.1 pounds = 2.18.99 per pound; 1.1 pounds = 1.09

Copyright 2013 by Click2Houston.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.