Is WinCo Cheaper than Walmart? (Grocery & Bulk Items)

People who live in the Pacific Northwest are likely familiar with WinCo. The retailer is known for low prices and no-frills grocery shopping, with expansive bulk foods selections and great deals across the board. But is WinCo really cheaper than Walmart, a known low-price leader? 

WinCo is one of the cheapest grocery stores in the country. It’s cheaper than Walmart for most products, and it’s an employee-owned chain with better quality products in most cases. WinCo keeps their prices low with low overhead, but don’t plan on using your credit card to shop there.

WinCo vs. Walmart: Which is Cheaper? 

To determine which retailer has the best prices, we can look at a summary of some common grocery items. 

In most cases, WinCo is cheaper than Walmart. That’s despite Walmart’s claim of being the low-cost leader. Let’s see how these two stack up in a side-by-side comparison. 

Gallon of Milk $1.88$1.88
Potatoes (5 lb. bag)$1.48$2.77
Head of Lettuce$1.48$0.98
Jif Peanut Butter (16 oz.)$2.50$2.50
Canned Corn (15 oz.)$0.50$0.50
White Bread$1.18$1.58
Shredded Cheese (8 oz.)$1.84$2.22
Lean Ground Beef (1 lb.)$5.49$4.88
Cheerios (21.6 oz. box)$4.38$3.64
Sour Cream (16 oz. container)$1.18$1.74
Dozen Large Eggs$0.97$2.58
Orange Juice (64 oz.)$2.02$2.58
Cream Cheese (8 oz.)$1.22$1.46
Winco vs. Walmart Price Comparison Summary 

Based on this sample of items, we can see that WinCo is cheaper than Walmart by over $3. While that might not seem like much, it could certainly add up with larger grocery orders. Plus, when you consider the savings over the course of weeks or months, you can see how much of an impact it could have on your budget. 

How is WinCo Cheaper than Walmart?

WinCo is a much smaller chain than Walmart, so you may be wondering how they can afford to offer lower prices than a retail giant like Walmart. 

WinCo is a no-frills grocery retailer. They don’t offer all the same services as Walmart. They don’t employ store associates to bag groceries, and they don’t accept credit cards. By not taking credit cards, the company saves a bundle on fees, and they can pass those savings along to customers. 

The downside is that you’ll have to pay with cash, check, or debit to shop there. In today’s digital age, that’s not always an option for all shoppers. 

WinCo doesn’t spend a lot of money on advertising, either. So, they cut down on some of their overhead by reducing their own operating costs. That means cheaper groceries for the consumer. 

Aside from those factors, WinCo also cuts costs by sourcing their merchandise directly from local farmers and manufacturers. By cutting out some of the vendors and other third-party players, they can reduce their costs and lower their prices as a result. 

WinCo vs. Walmart: Coupons

You may be wondering if WinCo accepts coupons. The good news is that they do accept manufacturer coupons, just like Walmart does. Using coupons can help you save a lot of money on your grocery bill. 

If you can stack coupon savings on top of sale item savings, you can double up and make your dollar stretch even further! 

WinCo offers digital coupons through their website for additional savings, too. That makes it even easier to apply coupons and lower your grocery bill. 

WinCo Savings on Bulk Items

Most WinCo stores offer expansive bulk sections. You can save a lot of money by shopping bulk items on the staples that you use the most. The price per unit is significantly lower on these items compared to standard non-bulk products. 

Some bulk products are only offered in larger quantities, but others you can buy just the amount you need. That means you can save money by reducing waste, too. 

This is another way that WinCo beats Walmart on pricing, since Walmart doesn’t offer these kinds of bulk deals. 

Let’s take a look at some sample items and their prices.

ItemPrice Per Pound
Chopped Almonds$4.64
Baking Powder$1.28
Baking Soda$0.59
Black Eyed Beans$1.62
Garbanzo Beans$0.83
Semisweet Chocolate Chips$3.42
Corn Starch$0.98
Almond Flour$3.28
Steel-Cut Oats$0.62
White Popcorn$0.80
White Long Grain Rice$0.69
Powdered Sugar$0.73
Chili Powder$4.08
Garlic Powder$5.08
Iodized Salt$0.34
WinCo Bulk Item Prices Summary

Staple items like beans, spices, and flours are much cheaper when you only purchase the amount you need. Especially if you need a spice that you only use for one recipe. Instead of having to buy a whole bottle for $4 or $5 at Walmart, you can just buy a couple of teaspoons at WinCo for a fraction of the price. 

Taking advantage of bulk offerings is a great way to save money on groceries while shopping at WinCo.

Of course it’s important to remember that these are sample prices collected from a single store. The prices at your local retail location may be different depending on where you’re located and the exact items you buy. 

WinCo vs. Walmart: Dry Grocery Prices (National Brands)

One of the best ways to compare prices between two retailers is to do an “apples-to-apples” shopping trip.

For this comparison, we looked at the prices for the same name-brand items at each retailer. That way, you’re not just considering the cheapest private label goods, but also those name brand products that we all know and love. 

Dry Grocery Price Summary: WinCo vs. Walmart

Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn (12 bags)$4.98$6.18
Planter’s Peanuts (16 oz.)$1.98$3.28
Gummy Bears (Black Forest, 28.8 oz.)$4.98$6.47
Cheetos Mac & Cheese (5.6 oz.)$0.98$1.38
Bush’s Beans (Pinto, 16 oz.)$0.98$1.28
Stagg Classic Chili (with beans, 15 oz.)$1.88$2.32
Bumble Bee Tuna (chunk light in water, 5 oz.)$0.88$1.22
McCormick Grill Mates Marinade Mix (1.06 oz.)$0.98$1.26
Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Cereal (24 oz.)$3.98$4.68
Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce (28 oz.)$2.38$2.98
Vlasic Pickles (24 oz. jar)$2.48$3.47
Cranberry Juice (Ocean Spray, 64 oz.)$2.48$3.24
Peaches (Del Monte, 4-pk.)$1.98$2.72
Keebler Club Cracker (7.1 oz.)$2.68$3.38

In this comparison, it’s easy to see that WinCo wins again. They beat Walmart’s low prices by over $10 for just this handful of items. 

You could take that information and consider how much that price gap would grow with a whole cart of items. The savings would be significant. 

In fact, WinCo beat Walmart for the lower price on each individual item, not just the total. That suggests that most of their prices, overall, may be lower when compared to Walmart. 

WinCo vs. Walmart: Perishable Grocery Items 

Most people purchase a mix of items for their pantry (dry grocery items) and fresh or perishable items. Often, fresh items and perishables are more expensive at traditional grocers versus low-price chains like Walmart. 

Let’s see how WinCo stacks up against Walmart on these items. 

Price Comparison: WinCo vs. Walmart (Perishables) 

Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese Wedges (7 oz.)$4.98$5.28
Dean’s French Onion Dip (16 oz.)$1.78$2.42
Tillamook Cheddar Cheese (32 oz.)$7.98$12.48
Oscar Mayer Bacon (16 oz.)$5.48$5.99
Nathan’s Hot Dogs (12 oz.)$3.78$4.86
Hormel Natural Choice Oven Roasted Turkey (8 oz.)$3.28$4.72
Armour Lunchmaker (Ham, 2.44 oz.)$0.98$1.18

Just like with the dry grocery items, WinCo came out with the lower price on these perishable items. Even when looking at a mix of produce, dairy, and lunchmeat and cheese items, WinCo had the lower price on each product. 

Overall, this comparison resulted in a difference of $8.77 for just eight items. If you imagine how much the savings would add up for a whole cart of groceries, it’s clear that shoppers can make their dollars stretch further by shopping at WinCo for these products. 

WinCo vs. Walmart: Quality Products

When considering which retailer offers the better value, there’s more to consider than just the price for each item. Product quality is a big concern for most shoppers, especially since no one wants to get home with bad produce or smelly meat. 

So, how does WinCo compare to Walmart when it comes to quality products? Let’s take a look at how many shoppers rated each retailer as “superior” for product quality. 

Produce Quality47%21%
Meat Quality34%21%
Overall Quality55%27%

When looking at just quality perception, WinCo beats Walmart across all categories. Over twice as many WinCo shoppers rated the produce quality as “superior” than Walmart customers. For Meat quality, customers gave WinCo 34% “superior” ratings versus 21% for Walmart.

The biggest difference is in how the customers rated the store’s overall quality. Fifty-five percent of WinCo shoppers rated the store’s overall quality as “superior,” compared to just 27% of Walmart respondents. 

When you consider how these same customers rated the average prices for each category, the picture becomes even more clear. 

WinCo vs. Walmart: More or Less Expensive than Average?

Another way to look at pricing at the two retailers is to compare how customers perceive the prices and how they compare to grocery prices overall. 

This table shows how much more or less expensive prices are compared to the average of 15 popular grocery retailers. 

Produce Prices$59 less$69 less
Meat Prices$75 less$86 less
Overall Prices$80 less$73 less 

This information shows that within the group of grocery retailers surveyed, there is very little price variation among them. 

Even so, when it comes to regular-priced items, Walmart came out slightly less expensive compared to WinCo. That doesn’t mean that Walmart is cheaper overall, but the average prices were less in these categories compared to the average for other grocers. 

The Bottom Line

Walmart and WinCo both offer lower prices than other traditional grocery retailers, but how do they compare to each other? In most cases, WinCo is cheaper than Walmart across various product categories. 

WinCo offers lower prices because they have lower operating costs. The chain is a no-frills grocery retailer, providing low prices in exchange for less perks that you might find at other large chains. 

If you shop at WinCo, don’t plan on using your credit card because they don’t accept them. That’s one way they help keep their prices low. For some people that might be a deal-breaker, but as long as you have another form of payment, you’ll be able to take advantage of their great deals. 

WinCo also doesn’t employ store associates to bag your groceries. So if you like the idea of having your items bagged up for you and placed in the cart, you might have to pay the extra money to shop at Walmart or somewhere else besides WinCo. 

Customers rated product quality higher for WinCo than Walmart, so that’s another thing to consider. It doesn’t matter how cheap the products are if they aren’t any good. Luckily, WinCo offers good quality products and low prices, so you don’t have to choose between them. 

Both retailers accept coupons, so if you’re a savvy shopper, clipping manufacturer coupons or participating in WinCo’s digital coupon program can help you save a few extra dollars on your grocery order.