Are minority neighborhoods paying more for same products?
Submitted by anonymous shopper:
In the past there was an expose about prescription costs being higher in poor neighborhoods.
This spurred me on to see whether there was a discrepancy in grocery prices between lower income areas and higher income areas. To examine prices in poorer neighborhoods, I chose the newly opened Shoprite Supermarket on Bruckner Boulevard, which falls within the 10473 Zip Code, which has an average household income of $56,150. I compared prices there to the Shoprite Supermarket on Joyce Road in Scarsdale, where I periodically shop, and it’s within the 10801 Zip Code which has an average household income of $86,197. In the first comparison, I performed a quick check from the circular for the time period of June 30, 2019 through July 6th, 2019, and this is what I found:
(Comparisons are for identical items).
Bruckner Boulevard Shoprite New Rochelle Shoprite
Pam Spray 2 for $6.00 2 for $4.00
Whole Watermelon $4.88 $3.88
Corn .29 each .19 each
Ball Park Rolls 8 ct 2 for $5.00 2 for $4.00
Coffeemate $3.79 $2.99
Horizon Organic Milk $5.99 $4.59
Shoprite Mozzarella $3.79 $2.99
I can go on, but can’t due to space limitations. Being disturbed at these disparities, I sent a letter to Mr. Joseph Colalillo Chairman and CEO of Wakefern Food Company pointing out these discrepancies. Although the Bronx Shoprite is independently owned by Village Supermarkets Inc, it falls under Wakefern’s corporate and distribution arm, and is a member of the Wakefern Cooperative.
The next circulars that I compared were dated August 4, 2019 through August 10, 2019, and I was pleasantly surprised, the first few pages of the Bruckner Shoprite mirrored the prices of the New Rochelle Shoprite.
My surprise turned into disappointment when I looked deeper into the circular. The items shown here still have disparate prices: (comparisons are for identical items).
Bruckner Shoprite New Rochelle Shoprite
Hellman’s Mayonnaise 2 for $8.00 2 for $7.00
Lipton Tea Bags $4.49 $3.49
Skippy Peanut Butter 2pk $8.00 $7.00
Huggies Diapers $22.99 $19.99
Huggies Refill Baby Wipes $13.99 $9.99
Kraft Yellow Singles $13.49 $9.79
Shoprite Franks 48 ounces $12.49 $8.69
Honest Kids Juice Packs 4 for $13.99 $9.99
I thought that the disparities in pricing was due to the higher New York City minimum wage of $15.00 per hour, but looking further, I found that the Shoprite of Forest & Richmond in Staten Island, zipcode 10304 which has a household income of $89,869, and close to the household income of the New Rochelle ($86,197), mirrored the New Rochelle Shoprite prices, rendering the $15.00 New York City minimum wage a moot point in justifying the higher prices in the Bronx Shoprite.
Subsequent flyer comparison between the Bruckner Shoprite and the New Rochelle Shoprite demonstrate the aforementioned disparities in prices continue. Further research has also demonstrated that regularly priced items in general were higher in the Bronx Shoprite than the New Rochelle prices. Another disparity is that the New Rochelle Shoprite offers double coupons and the Bruckner store doesn’t. It is unfair that lower income neighborhoods have higher prices than more affluent neighborhoods, at least as far as Shoprite is concerned. It’s imperative for Shoprite to lower their prices and have the Bruckner store prices mirror the New Rochelle store prices!