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May 27, 2010

Baltimore: the city that eats cheap

Safeway pigtownIf you're out of dough in Baltimore, it's probably not because you're spending too much on food.

Baltimore ranked waaay low on a list that compared food spending by city.

The average Baltimore household spent $5,102 on food in 2009, according to the Bundle survey. That sum was about evenly split between groceries ($2,769) and dining out ($2,333).

Austin, Texas, had the nation's biggest food spenders, with the households there shelling out an average of $12,447.

Detroit households spent the least, $2,246.

Bargains galore could be had as the Pigtown Safeway prepared to close earlier this year. Sun photo by Jed Kirshbaum

 

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 11:31 AM | | Comments (5)
        

Comments

"Austin, Texas, had the nation's biggest food spenders, with the households there shelling out an average of $12,447."

Not insignificantly (I'm sure), Whole Foods is from Austin...

That explains it! LV

High number, but the grocery stores are a lot different. Stores like Wegmans are a plenty. Whole Foods has multiple stores but so does HEB's Central Market which is also incredible. I spend a lot of time in Austin and food at those stores are less expensive than Safeway.

High number, but the grocery stores are a lot different. Stores like Wegmans are a plenty. Whole Foods has multiple stores but so does HEB's Central Market which is also incredible. I spend a lot of time in Austin and food at those stores are less expensive than Safeway.


If you read the article closely, there is nothing in it that implies that food prices in Baltimore are cheap (they're not). It simply points out that spending on food is relatively low in Baltimore, which may simply reflect buying trends (customers accustomed to buying hamburger rather then steak). Also, as others have noted, opportunities to purchase high priced gourmet items are relatively few in Baltimore (we have Eddie's, one Wegman's if Hunt Valley counts, two Whole Foods, and that's about it).

So I wouldn't read this as an article that indicates there's anything unique or particularly wonderful about grocery stores in Baltimore.

There's been a recently published study that links cost of food to rate of obesity. Ironically, the least spent, the more obese one is likely to be. Have a look around town and you'll know it's true. Baltimore loves a deal.. it's in our DNA.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.
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