For many Americans, Kroger is their local, go-to grocery store — the Cincinnati-based retailer operates close to 2,800 stores in 35 states.
In fact, Kroger not only operates its own brand of stores, it has 24 store affiliate brands spread across the country, including City Market, Dillons, Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, King Scoopers, Ralphs and Smith's.
With such a wide footprint, Kroger offers a lot of promotions and programs to help you save money on your everyday groceries and essentials. Here are six things experts say they buy at Kroger all the time and they recommend shoppers check out on their next grocery shopping trip.
It's worth the trip to Kroger for the well-priced high quality meat, both organic and traditional cuts. "The meat is a really good value. Their meat sales actually beat the Aldi and Walmart prices consistently," Laurie Hise, founder of the Passionate Penny Pincher site, tells CNBC Make It.
Kroger has all-natural, 93% lean ground turkey on sale for $3.99 per pound, according to a weekly ad for a Cincinnati-based Kroger. In comparison, a nearby Walmart is selling similar ground turkey from Butterball for $4.32 per pound.
Plus, many locations have an in-house butcher, which can be a great value for savvy shoppers. For example, they will chop up a roast into stew meat, saving you time at home and usually a few cents off a pre-cut package of the same meat. "If you're willing to ask for it, they'll do it," Demer says.
The price of fresh fruits and vegetables are very "reasonable" at Koger, Hise says. For example, Kroger has red, seedless grapes on sale for 88 cents per pound (normally $1.99), which is cheaper than Walmart's $1.97 per pound, according to prices for grocery pickup for stores based in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Kroger also has great clearance areas scattered throughout the store, including on produce, which Demer says is rare among grocery chains. For example, her local Fred Meyer packages $5 mixed bags of fruit that is ripe and should be eaten right away.
At Demer's Fred Meyer, red "WooHoo" and yellow price labels are used to indicate sale items — usually on products that are approaching their "best by" date. The label may vary slightly among the Kroger affiliate stores, but Demer says you can usually find these items at the end of aisles or near the stockroom.
"All of the store brand stuff is fantastic," Hise says. Plus, she says Kroger brands end up being cheaper than name brands — even if there's a sale: If Jif is on sale for $1.29, for instance, the Kroger brand will drop to 99 cents.
Kroger has over a dozen store brands, including its Simple Truth (natural foods) and Simple Truth Organic, as well as gourmet offers under its Private Selection and HemisFares labels.
Demer says that while Kroger store brands may not compete with those offered by industry leaders such as Trader Joe's or Costco, they are a solid choice and provide good value for shoppers.
Kroger, like most traditional grocery stores, has a lot of sales. And that's when Demer says you should stock up on everyday essentials like name-brand cereal. This week, Kroger is offering buy one, get one deals on varieties of Special K and Quaker cereals. Kroger sells Kellogg's Special K cereal for $3.79 for a 12-ounce box.
If you really want to save, experts say don't miss Kroger's Mega sales (also called "Cart Busters" or "Mix & Match" at some locations). "Their Mega sales are fantastic, so whenever they have one, taking advantage of that is a huge saver," Hise says. "Just get on their sale cycle and follow it."
The Mega Sale is a regular store promo that happens at least once a month. The details vary, but many times it's set up as a "Buy 5, Save $5" sale. If you purchase five participating items you'll save $5 at the checkout.
Kroger has two ways to buy wine, in-store and online. If you're in the store, you can typically save 10% by buying six bottle. Plus you can mix and match whichever bottles appeal to you. The average cost of a bottle of red wine is about $15, so by taking advantage of this deal, you can likely save around $9 on your total.
Kroger also offers an online wine shop and subscription club, where you'll get a curated selection of 12 wines sent to you four times a year. Through Kroger Wine, the retailer's online service, you can also select bundles of four, six or 12 bottles of wine and the store will ship them directly to your house. Shipping is free when you spend at least $35.
It's not exactly a grocery staple, but many Kroger locations have a branded gas station attached to the store. And by filling up there you can save you real money.
The retailer's fuel points program is available to members of its Kroger Plus Shopper's program. Members earn 1 fuel point for every $1 you spend. You also earn 2 points on gift cards and 50 points for qualifying prescriptions picked up at Kroger's pharmacy.
For every 100 points, you'll earn 10 cents off per gallon at Kroger Fuel Centers and participating Shell gas stations. You can redeem up to 1,000 fuel points in a single fill-up at Kroger Fuel Centers for $1 off per gallon. Plus, shoppers with the Kroger REWARDS World Mastercard receive an additional 25 cents off per gallon for the first year.
The spokeswoman for Kroger confirmed to CNBC Make It that you earn fuel points across all the Kroger family of stores. Plus Kroger and its brands regularly run specials. Currently, Kroger is offering a coupon for 2x fuel points through June 23, 2019. And the stores regularly offer extra fuel points on specific purchases. This week that includes 3x points on LaCroix sparkling water, Fage Greek yogurt and Wish-Bone salad dressing, among others.
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