We Compared Prices in the Bakery Department Versus the Bread Aisle

We Compared Prices in the Bakery Department Versus the Bread Aisle

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Danielle Centoni
May 31, 2018
(Image credit: Eric Audras/Getty Images)

Most grocery stores have an in-house bakery department. And if you happen to be there when the latest batch of bread is pulled out of the oven, you can just kiss your willpower goodbye.

It's truly a lovely thing to have access to bread baked fresh daily right at your supermarket, but we can't help but wonder if those fresh baked breads are more expensive than the packaged stuff on the shelves. Is that unbeatable warm-bread scent causing us all to pay more money for the same stuff we could buy a few aisles over?

We did some price comparisons to find out.

Bakery departments generally focus their selection on dinner and sandwich rolls, bagels, baguettes, and other French bread-style loaves (plus sweet baked goods, of course), rather than sliced sandwich bread. So we compared the prices of these items from the bakery department and bread aisle at two big supermarket chains in a single area.

The biggest difference was in how each chain handled its prices. At the Fred Meyer (Kroger) store, the bakery department's prices were just a bit more or the same as the bread aisle's. At Safeway, the bakery department's prices were usually a bit cheaper, however the bread prices at Safeway were quite a bit higher than Fred Meyer's no matter which part of the store I shopped. So the good news is that that oh-so-enticing bakery bread isn't causing us to spend more money. Unless, well, you didn't need to buy any bread in the first place.

Here's how they stacked up.

Note: Prices are from a Fred Meyer grocery store and a Safeway store in Portland, Oregon.

Sandwich rolls

  • Kroger bakery department: $2.49 for six rolls
  • Kroger bread aisle: $1.99 for six Fred Meyer French Hoagie Rolls
  • Safeway bakery department: $4.09 for six rolls
  • Safeway bread aisle: $4.89 for six Francisco International French Rolls
(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Dinner Rolls

  • Kroger bakery department: $3.99 for 12 rolls
  • Kroger bread aisle: $2.29 for eight Country Oven Potato Dinner Rolls,
  • Safeway bakery department: $3.49 for eight rolls
  • Safeway bread aisle: $4.29 for 12 Sara Lee Classic Dinner Rolls
(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Baguette

  • Kroger bakery department: $1.79 for an 8.5-ounce baguette
  • Kroger bread aisle: $1.79 for a 10.5-ounce La Brea Bakery French Baguette
  • Safeway bakery department: $2.69 for a 9-ounce baguette
  • Safeway bread aisle: $3.49 for a 10.5-ounce La Brea Bakery French Baguette

Bagels

  • Kroger bakery department: $3.49 for six bagels
  • Kroger bread aisle: $3.99 for six Thomas Plain Bagels
  • Safeway bakery department: $4.09 for six bagels
  • Safeway bread aisle: $5.59 for six Thomas Plain Bagels

Do you prefer to buy your breads from the bakery or the bread aisle in your supermarket?

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