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Whole Foods (MGH) or Shaws (Prudential)

Oistrakh12 Sep 27, 2011 01:50 PM

I was wondering how the prices of these two supermarkets compare. They are probably the two "large" supermarkets near where I live. I've only been to the Shaws briefly, and the prices seemed pretty steep. There is also a C-Mart (which I go to when I need specific items).

  1. d
    DoubleMan Sep 27, 2011 04:17 PM

    That Shaws is one of the most expensive stores in the state. I'd recommend the Whole Foods because the quality of produce and meat is better than Shaws and the prices are competitive with that Shaws (I'm not sure the MGH WF is any more expensive than other WFs).

    How do you shop?

    If you do one big trip each week and buy a lot of pantry items and national brands, I would recommend driving (or taking a bus or even renting a Zip-Car [you'd still save]) and go out to a Market Basket. If you are buying a few vegetables or some meat or fish for a single meal, I think WF is a much better option than Shaw's.

    8 Replies
    1. re: DoubleMan
      DoubleMan Sep 27, 2011 04:22 PM

      Here's how pricy Shaw's are generally, and that Shaw's in particular:


      1. re: DoubleMan
        Oistrakh12 Sep 27, 2011 04:59 PM

        I am in professional school, so I'm not sure if I want to take public transportation to buy groceries, especially when C-Mart is a 2 minute walk from where I live (which I believe is fairly affordable).

        I probably buy groceries once a week and tend not to buy that much in one time. I live by myself, so I don't buy too much at a time (for fear of food going bad).

        1. re: Oistrakh12
          Dave MP Sep 27, 2011 06:27 PM

          Which C-Mart are you near? The larger one on Washington St., as well as Ming's a bit farther down, both have a pretty wide selection of food - including most basic "Western" items. If you live close enough, you could do most of your shopping at these places (or elsewhere in Chinatown), and then augment it with Whole Foods occasionally. If you want Shaw's, you can head to Allston or somewhere else. There's also Trader Joe's not far from the Shaw's at Prudential.

          1. re: Dave MP
            Oistrakh12 Sep 29, 2011 07:32 PM

            I live right next the C-Mart on washington street. I went there yesterday, and was pleasantly surprised by the pricing of the produce. Although the C-Mart does not have everything I might like (Red onions, for example), the prices were very reasonable. Most of the produce seemed fresh, though the red/green peppers weren't. I'll probably do most of my shopping there, though I still probably will have to go to Whole Foods or other places to get my sliced wheat bread, sliced turkey, cheese, mustard, etc.

            1. re: Oistrakh12
              threedogs Sep 30, 2011 01:16 PM

              That's the one near South Station, right? I like that C-Mart - very easy for me to get there, to (by the red line). I always check out the marked down produce (I'm a real tightwad, lol) in the big box near the front. Can't always find something usable there, but sometime I do.

              I also check out the meats when I'm there, even if I don't need anything, as sometimes they have things marked down to sell fast. Better prices on tofu, too, esp. when one compares it w/the grocery stores in the city.

              Edit: Did a search & now I'm confused over which is which! I saw a photo on Yelp, so I know this one isn't the one I usually go to - but trying to figure *where* it is (I'm def missing one C-Mart & I need to remedy this!) Apparently my go-to C-Mart is the one on Lincoln St. (hooray for photos on Google & Yelp - helps those of us w/aging minds, haha). Although I checked out Google and I cannot for the life of me place this one. Guess it's because I never walk on Washington St. when I'm in Chinatown.

              To the OP - I don't know if you've been to the C-Mart on Herald St. I think it's close to where you are, and the selection is great. Huge produce area, too.

              1. re: threedogs
                9lives Sep 30, 2011 04:08 PM

                I think the CMart you're "missing" is in Chinatown. It's a good sized store but not as large as Lincoln St. It has an entrance on Washington..small entrance right next to Emperor's (Empire) Garden the old theater that now does dim sum and another entrance off Knapp St..off Beach and across the street from Potluck Cafe..not to be confused with he CMart on Herald/Washington in the South End..confused yet?..:)

                Similar to Lincoln. I haven't been to Herald.

                Between Whole Foods and Shaws, WF seems to have better quality in meats/produce. Shaw's is the "other" main supermarket, if you're carless in downtown and is pricey..but better for staples than WF.

                For big items like cat food/sand; I load up at a big urban supermarket when I rent a car. Go broke buying at Shaws or WF..:)

                To the OP, that CMart "should" satisfy most of your shopping needs; at a fair price.

                1. re: threedogs
                  Dave MP Oct 1, 2011 02:45 PM

                  Sorry I wasn't clearer in my post....the C-Mart I was referring to is the one on Herald Street. The entrance is also on Washington St, but it's just *south* of where Washington St. goes over the Mass Pike....I think this c-mart will have way more stuff than either of the other two.

                  1. re: Dave MP
                    threedogs Oct 1, 2011 05:41 PM

                    Oh, it definitely does (have more than the other C-Marts). I like this one better than all in Chinatown, but since I'm walking (fr Downtown Crossing, usually) & I'm too lazy to figure out about the bus that goes by there - I just walk over to the one on Lincoln St.

                    Have to get over there soon, though - and there's the other store that's diagonally across the street fr this C-Mart, too. Haven't been there in years - not anywhere as large, but it's great to have competition! :D

        2. i
          Isolda Sep 30, 2011 04:28 PM

          Every Shaw's I have ever been to is an outrageous rip-off. And if you want to buy organic anything, expect to pay 20-50% more for it than you would pay at WF.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Isolda
            kobuta Oct 1, 2011 07:52 AM

            I can't really comment on visiting a lot of Shaws, but more than Whole Foods?? Please tell me which Whole Foods you go to that is cheaper than Shaws, because I'm missing out!

            I visit the one on Green St regularly because it's reasonably close to work, but only do it for emergency or lunch shopping. The prices are not as good as my local S&S, but I attribute that more to the locations. Same with the Prudential one when I used to work in the Back Bay. If you hit the suburbs, I think Shaw's is on par with many of the bigger chains, and their sales prices are reasonable.

            1. re: kobuta
              gags22 Oct 1, 2011 08:08 AM

              Not sure how many on this board live in the west suburbs, but you're about to have your minds blown by the best grocery chain in the US....Wegmans. Opens in Northborough in mid-October. Check it out. Much better than WF.

              1. re: kobuta
                DoubleMan Oct 1, 2011 09:04 AM

                Shaws are noticeably more expensive than Hannaford or Stop and Shop, and certainly Market Basket, regardless of the area.


                For example, the same basket of goods is $20 more at the Peabody Shaws than at the Peabody Hannaford.

                For produce and meat, I think the quality at almost every WF is much better than at any Shaws, and I don't see a big price difference (specifically comparing the River Street WF and MIT-area Shaws/Star). So, from a value standpoint, I think WF beats Shaws handily. For other items, I just hit Market Basket and save 30-40% (or more) over Shaws or WF.

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