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What's up with the price of Mayonnaise?

JoeBabbitt May 8, 2014 05:29 AM

I hate feeling like I got ripped off which happens almost every time I go in the grocery store. Today the local supermarket has Hellman's Mayonnaise 'on sale' for $3.99 per jar, reduced from $4.49. A 30 oz jar - not the old familiar 32 oz jar. This makes mayonnaise $15.96 per gallon, more than four times the price of gas locally ($3.39 per gallon). As far as I know, mayonnaise is just eggs & oil and some salt & spices; no exotic ingredients, nothing imported from the middle east, no insane labor intensive costs. So, is this just a company charging what it can? Anybody have a good recipe for a Hellman's knock off?

Ok - that's the end of today's rant.

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  1. coll RE: JoeBabbitt May 8, 2014 05:35 AM

    The rise in price of Hellmanns mayo, and change of jar size, that you're talking about happened about five years ago. I still get it numerous times a year on sale for $2.99, usually with some kind of quantity cap. Wait a couple of weeks for Memorial Day and stock up.

    And no, I don't think there is any knockoff or home recipe that will duplicate Hellmanns exactly.

    3 Replies
    1. re: coll
      PHREDDY RE: coll May 8, 2014 06:11 AM

      Coll, I agree and use the same strategy. When I see it on sale, I buy about 3 or four jars and lasts for at least 6 months. (Four people living in the household)

      1. re: PHREDDY
        coll RE: PHREDDY May 8, 2014 06:12 AM

        Sometimes the limit is two, but if I'm back in the area later that week......what the heck!

      2. re: coll
        masha RE: coll May 8, 2014 07:33 PM

        Agree completely. Also look for coupons. Often the Sunday inserts have coupons for $1 off the purchase of 2 jars, especially in lead up to holidays like Memorial Day, so that the net price is only $2.50 per jar you can find it on sale at $2.99.

      3. w
        wadejay26 RE: JoeBabbitt May 8, 2014 06:18 AM

        Exactly why I always chuckle when people complain about the price of gas. Compared to a lot of foods, $4 per gallon is cheap.

        2 Replies
        1. re: wadejay26
          emu48 RE: wadejay26 May 8, 2014 01:45 PM

          Compared to most of the world, $4 a gallon is very cheap gasoline.

          1. re: wadejay26
            rochfood RE: wadejay26 May 9, 2014 02:38 PM

            The problem is though..you don't buy 17 gallons of mayonnaise at once. Every couple of weeks.

          2. g
            gourmanda RE: JoeBabbitt May 8, 2014 06:27 AM

            And now the second ingredient is water...it's not even the same quality as in years past. Stopped buying, make my own--no, it's not exactly the same but for the little we use, I will save the money.

            1 Reply
            1. re: gourmanda
              Zalbar RE: gourmanda May 8, 2014 07:21 AM

              If you want to make it taste exactly like Hellman's, add a dollop of dijon mustard.

              1 egg yolk, pinch of salt, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1-2 cups whatever oil you want.

            2. alkapal RE: JoeBabbitt May 8, 2014 06:36 AM

              you are going to the wrong grocery stores and don't watch the real sales. $4.49 to $3.99 is hardly a "sale" in my book. now…onto the real crux:

              harris teeter has BOGO sales on hellman's and duke's at least once per quarter. giant also regularly has hellman's at @$2.99. safeway i don't shop at too much, because harris teeter has a lot of BOGO sales, and you don't have to buy TWO, only one at half-price. (unique among the stores).

              mayo sales are always best in front of holidays, so the next best time to stock up is probably next week, with memorial day (!) in the offing.

              check the weekly fliers. that's where to learn how to save $, buying what's on sale. mayo lasts in the pantry (unopened) for quite a while). once you get the hang of the sales-timing issues, you'll begin to save on lots of staples.

              1 Reply
              1. re: alkapal
                PHREDDY RE: alkapal May 8, 2014 07:06 AM


              2. paulj RE: JoeBabbitt May 8, 2014 06:44 AM

                What's the price oil?

                1. Kajikit RE: JoeBabbitt May 8, 2014 07:05 AM

                  Oil and eggs are getting pricy too... all groceries are! I wait for the two-for-one sales and buy two different flavours of mayo - at the rate we use it, that lasts six months...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Kajikit
                    coll RE: Kajikit May 8, 2014 07:43 AM

                    I still dream about the days, not long ago, when they gave away eggs for free around Easter.

                  2. NonnieMuss RE: JoeBabbitt May 8, 2014 07:48 AM

                    This is where Sam's Club or Costco really comes in handy. They usually have the 64oz. for $6 to $7. The Kirkland brand is actually pretty good too. If you don't have a membership, ask a friend to pick some up.

                    I also stock up on the $2.99 sales and currently have around 4 jars in the pantry. My husband is constantly grossed out by the amount of mayo I insist on having in the house.

                    26 Replies
                    1. re: NonnieMuss
                      coll RE: NonnieMuss May 8, 2014 07:58 AM

                      Hide it in the garage, like me!

                      1. re: NonnieMuss
                        paulj RE: NonnieMuss May 8, 2014 08:05 AM

                        I'm happy with the taste of Western Family store brand. Grocery Outlet often has Best/Hellmans near expiration date.

                        1. re: NonnieMuss
                          treb RE: NonnieMuss May 8, 2014 08:17 AM

                          Costco usually has Hellman's/Best Foods on coupon twice a year, last month a 64 oz jar was $4.99. I think the real issue is super markets gouging the consumer.

                          1. re: treb
                            GH1618 RE: treb May 8, 2014 08:26 AM

                            It isn't gouging. The supermarket business is very competitive. Higher-priced supermarkets provide better service and attract customers willing to pay for it. Stores like Costco and Grocery Outlet have a different business model which allows them to sell at lower prices. There is a place for both.

                            1. re: GH1618
                              treb RE: GH1618 May 8, 2014 08:31 AM

                              Oh no doubt customers enjoy their super markets. On the rare occasion I'm in one, I can't believe how crowded they are and enjoy watching smiling customers dole out $$$$ for next to nothing. I choose to limit my wallet pain.

                              1. re: treb
                                coll RE: treb May 8, 2014 08:39 AM

                                Retail supermarkets, and big box stores like Costco, buy from different supply chain wholesalers, there is no fair comparison really.

                                1. re: coll
                                  treb RE: coll May 8, 2014 08:43 AM

                                  I didn't intend to compare them, they're apples and oranges. The real issue is what bang I get for my buck.

                                  1. re: treb
                                    coll RE: treb May 8, 2014 08:47 AM

                                    Just saying, I don't think any food place is gouging on mayo, just a fair markup over cost. Some oddball item that sells once a year, yes, and why not?

                                    1. re: coll
                                      treb RE: coll May 8, 2014 08:54 AM

                                      Amplify that mind set for every item in your shopping cart and you're paying a lot. That's what the majority does.

                                      1. re: treb
                                        coll RE: treb May 8, 2014 08:55 AM

                                        I buy everything on price, but if I buy 30 lbs of mayo and throw out 25 that's not accomplishing much.

                                        1. re: coll
                                          treb RE: coll May 8, 2014 08:57 AM

                                          Now your talking unit cost, which is what I do, vs what I can consume. I don't buy what I can't use no matter what the unit cost.

                                          1. re: treb
                                            coll RE: treb May 8, 2014 09:02 AM

                                            That's the only way to buy ;-)

                                2. re: treb
                                  GH1618 RE: treb May 8, 2014 07:29 PM

                                  It's a false equivalence. If you are doing all your shopping at Grocery Outlet to save money, you will get a good price on Hellman's when they have it, and do without it if they don't have it when you need it. You will also do without many other things entirely.

                              2. re: treb
                                paulj RE: treb May 8, 2014 08:43 AM

                                and Costco sells 30 lb boxes of mayo (heavy duty) for less than a $1 a pound.

                                1. re: paulj
                                  treb RE: paulj May 8, 2014 08:45 AM

                                  No, Costco sells 64 oz jars of Hellman's/Best Foods and their own Kirkland brand.

                                  1. re: treb
                                    acgold7 RE: treb May 8, 2014 09:10 AM

                                    Some locations do sell the 30 lb boxes.

                                    1. re: acgold7
                                      coll RE: acgold7 May 8, 2014 09:21 AM

                                      I've only seen it at Restaurant Depot here. Not a jar though, bag in a box.

                                      1. re: coll
                                        alkapal RE: coll May 8, 2014 02:57 PM

                                        coll, have you ever seen "admiral" mayo there at restaurant depot? i like it. it is really thick. admiral oil is good, too.

                                        1. re: alkapal
                                          coll RE: alkapal May 8, 2014 03:46 PM

                                          Admiration? It's out there no question, when price is an issue.

                                          1. re: coll
                                            alkapal RE: coll May 8, 2014 04:20 PM

                                            YEs, that's it! how large are those containers? ;-).

                                            i think it was the name of a mayo i liked at a local burger joint, but maybe i guessed at it? who knows. good with fries.

                                            1. re: alkapal
                                              coll RE: alkapal May 9, 2014 12:38 AM

                                              It's as cheap as it gets, they do sell it by the gallon at food distributors. A few bucks at most.

                                      2. re: acgold7
                                        treb RE: acgold7 May 8, 2014 04:45 PM

                                        I've never seen a 30 lb box of mayo at a Costco, not even at their business centers.

                                  2. re: treb
                                    ferret RE: treb May 8, 2014 10:43 AM

                                    Only 1/3 of Costco's profit comes from product sales, without the money they make from memberships, everything would be much more expensive. Grocery store margins are the worst. There's a very fine line between solvency and bankruptcy for many large food chains.

                                    1. re: ferret
                                      alkapal RE: ferret May 8, 2014 03:02 PM

                                      i'd heard the margins for grocery chains are around 1½%. this article says 1-3% : http://smallbusiness.chron.com/profit...

                                      here is an intereting list by chains (most of which i do not recognize, those being outside of the US): http://biz.yahoo.com/p/734conameu.htm...
                                      now, in general (and not responding to ferret):

                                      i get GREAT deals at grocery stores shopping on sales. i am not a dumbo because i am in the majority who shop at grocery stores. for our family of two, for week to week food, i am better off shopping at grocery stores rather than costco and the like, for the most part.

                                      the "i am smarter than thou" attitude because of where one shops is just plain silly elitism. it is akin to the government telling me it knows better how to spend my money than i do.

                                      1. re: ferret
                                        treb RE: ferret May 8, 2014 04:46 PM

                                        However, super markets rely on rapid turnover of their merch. That's how they make profits.

                                        1. re: treb
                                          alkapal RE: treb May 8, 2014 05:39 PM

                                          don't you WANT rapid turnover of merchandise?

                                  3. BananaBirkLarsen RE: JoeBabbitt May 8, 2014 08:39 AM

                                    I'm not sure where you live, but try shopping in a less well-off part of town. Even the same supermarket chains can have different prices, different sales and different manager's specials to appeal to their customer base. If you're shopping where the rich people shop, you're going to get rich people prices.

                                    I've also noticed recently that the quality of store brands has gone drastically up. Store brand mayo is probably more similar to Hellman's than anything you could make (and much cheaper).

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: BananaBirkLarsen
                                      divadmas RE: BananaBirkLarsen May 8, 2014 04:43 PM

                                      my experience has been national chains have regional prices that are the same. so for the same price rich areas demand better produce and meat and get it. in poor areas product is shockingly inferior and the same price.
                                      store bought mayo, and i much prefer best foods, lasts forever where homemade keeps maybe a week.
                                      one thing i hate is grocery bumps price up then discounts and tells you how much you saved. i have often saved 50% but not really.

                                      1. re: divadmas
                                        treb RE: divadmas May 8, 2014 04:48 PM

                                        Reminds me of a recent experience where I purchased a sale item at a super market and the receipt said I saved more than I spent!

                                        1. re: treb
                                          alkapal RE: treb May 8, 2014 05:40 PM

                                          that can happen -- esp. with loss leaders.

                                          one has to shop at various spots to know what the average prices are around and what are indeed true bargains.

                                          1. re: alkapal
                                            treb RE: alkapal May 8, 2014 05:49 PM

                                            That's a load of crap, they're not going to 'lose' $ on anything. The reality is they hike the supposed retail price to obnoxious levels then they set a sale price that actually reflects what the product is probably worth. This creates the illusion of 'great savings'. Do they really think we're that stupid. Oh, and don't worry they're not losing $.

                                    2. a
                                      acgold7 RE: JoeBabbitt May 8, 2014 09:10 AM

                                      Yeah, try putting mayo in your gas tank.

                                      1. JTPhilly RE: JoeBabbitt May 8, 2014 09:13 AM

                                        now I know why my Dad buys this for me in bulk at COSTCO - I never understood why he thought I needed giant tubs of Mayo but I don't look a gift horse in the face - not a product I use much or buy frequently but at these prices I would rather make my own and be able to choose my oil and egg sources, - but hey if it comes as a gift I wont turn up my nose,

                                        1. njmarshall55 RE: JoeBabbitt May 8, 2014 10:36 AM

                                          From the producer's perspective, I believe the spiraling cost is due to the increase in prices of chicken feed...corn especially. Higher prices roll down hill. Corn...chickens....eggs...mayo...

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: njmarshall55
                                            alkapal RE: njmarshall55 May 8, 2014 03:08 PM

                                            ethanol production requires corn. corn prices therefore increase. anything with corn as an input --that goes up in price. great idea that ethanol. NOT.

                                            (not to mention its negative effects otherwise).

                                            higher prices are everywhere due to inflation. the inflation index folks obviously never have to go grocery shopping, or they'd change the factors included in the index.

                                            all inputs into making goods and services are going up in cost, so consumer prices have to reflect that. it is basic economics. that concept eludes many policymakers.

                                          2. r
                                            RelishPDX RE: JoeBabbitt May 8, 2014 10:48 AM

                                            Blame biofuels. Prices for vegetable oil products shot through the roof around 2009-2010 and haven't really come down. Best Foods was $4.44 (a nice round number!) at Safeway this week.

                                            I've changed to Kraft though. Not long ago after Kraft changed their formula to mimic Best Foods/Hellman's, Albertsons had Kraft mayo on sale for $1.99 with $1 off coupons on the lid. I tried it, and really liked it a lot, and I'm a lifetime Best Foods guy. I went back for a few more, but there were only a couple left the next day—it was flying off the shelves at that price.

                                            The only thing is that when I buy mayo in bulk it really needs to be stored in the fridge if you buy six months worth. I got burned by that a couple of years ago. Mayo that stays at room temp too long, even unopened, will start to get a funky taste and smell.

                                            1. EM23 RE: JoeBabbitt May 8, 2014 11:47 AM

                                              Stop&Shop had a coupon a few weeks back for $1.99, limit 1 with a $25 purchase. But $2.99 is usually the best sale price around Long Island.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: EM23
                                                treb RE: EM23 May 9, 2014 07:01 AM

                                                That's how S&S gets you. Yah, you get the mayo for 1.99 then you have to buy their other stuff at their ridiculously high prices. So you spend 23.01 on a load of over priced food.

                                                1. re: treb
                                                  coll RE: treb May 9, 2014 07:02 AM

                                                  I stopped going to Stop and Shop when they put that $25 limit on their coupons. I was always amazed that they didn't have it when they first opened here about five years ago, and I did take advantage.

                                              2. EatFoodGetMoney RE: JoeBabbitt May 8, 2014 03:04 PM

                                                Kewpie for the win.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: EatFoodGetMoney
                                                  ferret RE: EatFoodGetMoney May 8, 2014 04:12 PM

                                                  Love the Kewpie, but it's no bargain.

                                                2. Ttrockwood RE: JoeBabbitt May 8, 2014 05:04 PM

                                                  It rarely goes on sale near me, and that 30oz jar retail is $6+ in manhattan grocery stores (or at least the four major chains i checked). I only buy a jar of mayo once or twice a year so the uptick in price (it used to be around $5) caught me off guard too.

                                                  I'm just adding it to the things i live without list.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Ttrockwood
                                                    LNG212 RE: Ttrockwood May 9, 2014 06:01 AM

                                                    The special 36oz "bonus" jar is 3.99 at fairway this week. (At least at W74th.) I've never seen it lower than that in manhattan.

                                                    1. re: LNG212
                                                      coll RE: LNG212 May 9, 2014 06:59 AM

                                                      Oh I forgot about those bonus jars. Not just for the extra mayo but they make great storage containers for frozen soup. Hope they bring them back this summer.

                                                  2. c
                                                    Clams047 RE: JoeBabbitt May 9, 2014 05:09 AM

                                                    Cains (far better than Hellmans in our opinion) is being advertised at $1.99/qt at a local grocer this week. Include my $1 off coupon and it's time to pick up a jar.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Clams047
                                                      coll RE: Clams047 May 9, 2014 07:00 AM

                                                      The reason I like Cains is because it is the closest of all of them to Hellmanns. I wouldn't say better though. Unless we're talking price!

                                                      1. re: coll
                                                        Clams047 RE: coll May 9, 2014 02:22 PM

                                                        More than once, we've had people asking about the mayo used in our foods (and making the switch) Of course, each does have their personal taste preference.

                                                    2. z
                                                      zackly RE: JoeBabbitt May 9, 2014 05:52 AM

                                                      I still buy Hellman's on sale @ $2.99 but the sales come less frequently. You might consider other brands unless, like me, it has to be Hellmans. Many competing brands are made "better" than Hellmans with less water or get a $15.00 immersion blender and make your own, it's easy, fun & cheap:

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