Some people love Walmart, others hate it. But most agree the discount store has rock-bottom prices on groceries. Not all Walmart foods are created equal, however. Whether they’re a waste of money or horrifically unhealthy, these are the Walmart items you should steer clear of, including one common grocery staple you should avoid at all costs (page 9).
While Walmart’s seafood selection has come a long way, but it still has a lot of work to do as far as both quality and sustainability. Fish like salmon is much healthier when it’s wild caught versus farmed, and some Walmart fish offerings are very high in mercury.
Next: If you need to snack on the best, snack elsewhere.
2. Name-brand snacks
You may see name-brand snacks on the shelves for a lower price than you would at your neighborhood grocery store. But the Walmart brand, Great Value, is usually even cheaper, and typically, it’s a better deal all around.
Next: A cautionary tale on healthy habits
Compare prices before buying vitamins at Walmart, especially gummies like Vitafusion MultiVites. Amazon often beats Walmart in cost and variety — plus, you can have them delivered to your door.
A scary situation with Walmart vitamins and herbal supplements: An investigation led by the New York Attorney General found only 4% of tested products showed DNA from plants listed on the labels. Walmart ranked the worst — compared to Target, GNC, and Walgreens — with many supplement containing DNA from other random plants.
Next: Two foods for the price of one
For roughly $7, you can eat a pizza and a quesadilla at the same time. This may be a college student’s dream, but based on the Great Value Pizzadilla’s nutritional info you should avoid it at all costs. One small slice is nearly 400 calories and has 1,770 grams of sodium. The price seems ideal but no Pizzadilla flavor — Mexican, Carne Asada, or Chicken Enchilada — is worth it.
Next: This breakfast deal isn’t so sweet.
5. Maple syrup
The Krazy Coupon Lady, an expert on Costco deals, did the math and found pure maple syrup costs half as much at Costco as it does at Walmart. Not only is maple syrup from Costco cheaper, but it also tastes better. “It’s a no-brainer,” Costco expert Kerry Acker told Today. “It’s 100 percent real maple syrup, and it should last up to 6 months in the refrigerator.”
Next: Don’t “stew” on this price at Walmart.
Not only does Walmart lack broth options other stores provide (organic, vegetarian, etc.), but its broth products also cost more than Aldi’s. Next time you make a big pot of stew or soup, look to Kroger for the broadest selection or Aldi for the cheapest prices (by about 10%). Then, use a frequent shopper card to drive down the price even more.
Next: Your health is at risk with this breakfast item.
7. Honey Smacks Cereal
It doesn’t matter how much Honey Smacks cereal costs; just don’t buy it. In June 2018, the FDA announced a multi-state outbreak of salmonella linked to the sweetened, puffed cereal sold at Walmart stores. So far 71 people across 31 states have reported the illness, with 24 consumers being hospitalized. The FDA advises you throw away any Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, regardless of box size or distribution date, purchased from Walmart.
Next: Save this purchase for Costco, too.
8. Vanilla extract
The Krazy Coupon Lady found that vanilla extract costs $0.62 at Costco versus $1.84 at Walmart. A 16-ounce bottle from the big-box store will last you a long time and many believe the quality is far better than Walmart’s.
Next: Where’s the beef? Not here.
9. Ground beef
Aside from the fact that it may not be the best quality, Walmart’s ground beef usually isn’t a good deal. Compare it to other discounted stores in your area, like Aldi, who beat out Walmart’s prices on ground beef by 15%. Aldi also offers more affordable options on ground beef and other meats with “no added hormones, antibiotics, animal byproducts, or other additives,” according to AOL.
Next: Don’t eat fresh here.
10. Fresh produce
Unfortunately, Walmart produce often isn’t the best — it’s usually not fresh or local. Get your fruits and veggies at your neighborhood grocery store or farmers market, and save your Walmart budget for other things.
Next: Got what, now?
11. Organic milk
Most Walmarts carry organic milk, but not for a lower cost than you’ll find anywhere else. In fact, it’s more expensive than organic milk from Trader Joe’s and even Whole Foods.
Next: Think before you make your next PB&J.
12. Peanut butter
There’s nothing wrong with getting your peanut butter at Walmart, but don’t think you’re getting a good deal. Check the competition and you’ll usually find other grocery stores (even Target) that will sell it cheaper.
Next: Go big or go home with this product.
When it comes to coffee, buy carefully at Walmart. Bargain brands like Folger’s are often sold elsewhere for less. That being said, sometimes you can find deals on bigger brands like Starbucks.
Next: Put your “dough” to better use than buying this item.
14. Baking ingredients
Keep walking past the baking aisle at Walmart. Experts say everything from flour to baking soda — especially if you want the name-brand versions — is better purchased elsewhere. According to Brent Shelton of FatWallet, go for the store-brand versions if you must buy your sugar, salt, or other baking ingredients at Walmart. And make sure to buy them in bulk.
Next: Don’t go nuts while shopping at Walmart.
Trader Joe’s and Costco beat Walmart in terms of price on this one. Nuts are nutritious, but if you get them at Walmart, you’ll spend more than you should. Have a Costco membership? “A 24-ounce bag of lovely Kirkland organic pine nuts are a steal at around $24,” according to Today, “While a 3-pound bag of Kirkland almonds costs $13.” Both are better deals than Walmart’s nuts.
Next: A different way to eat your meals … that’s still a waste.
16. Restaurant gift cards
Many shopping sites caution against buying restaurant gift cards at Walmart. They sell at full price, which seems reasonable until you do a little digging. For example, if you want a $50 Olive Garden gift card, you’ll pay $50 at Walmart. But on other sites, like Gift Card Granny, you can find discounted $50 gift cards for closer to $40 (with free shipping).
Next: Check those expiration dates.
17. Foods with a short shelf life
According to Michael Catania, consumer savings expert and co-founder of PromotionCode.org, foods with shorter shelf lives tend to cost more at Walmart than they’re worth. And if you’re going to buy something that expires in a few days, you’re better off going to a place like Trader Joe’s, which typically has a better selection.
Next: Then double check the expiration date.
18. Foods with a long shelf life.
Catania also says you should avoid food with an especially long shelf life. Although it might technically be “good,” it may go stale before you buy it. “Once the cereal goes stale and you throw it away, you’ve also thrown away the initial savings,” he said.
Next: Something you should buy at Walmart
19. Great news for wine lovers
Do you love your vino? Great news: Walmart has an award-winning red wine that costs less than $7 per bottle. Cheers!
Next: Here’s how to get more savvy about Walmart shopping.
20. How to find the best deals
It’s tempting to get all your grocery items at Walmart for the convenience — and at first glance, they all do appear cheaper. But first, do your research by reading blogs dedicated to deals, like the afore-mentioned Krazy Coupon Lady and The Penny Hoarder.
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