Accessibility vs. Affordability

A guide to groceries in Santa Cruz

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While UC Santa Cruz encourages students to invest in a meal plan, a seven-day meal plan that costs $464 per month is not always the cheapest or most accessible option for students. Those without meal plans and those who live off campus have to shop at grocery stores around Santa Cruz and cook at home. Here is a comparison between three major grocery stores’ prices for 11 of the same or equivalent items commonly found in a college student’s shopping basket.

* Each item provided is the least expensive of product options available at the store.

Safeway

Trader Joe’s

Grocery Outlet

Eggs

$3.50

$1.29

$1.99

Milk

$2.99

$3.29

$2.09

Bread

$0.99

$2.49

$1.59

Yogurt

$2.49 or 3/$5.00

$2.79

$1.99

Frozen Vegetables

$2.50

$1.99

$0.99

Frozen Pizza

$5.00

$2.79

$3.49

Coffee

$6.99

$4.99

$4.99

Cereal

$4.99 or 2/$5.00

$1.99

$3.99

Cream Cheese

$1.99

$1.69

$1.69

Bagels

$3.49

$3.29

$1.99

Waffles

$2.50

$1.99

$1.79

Total:

$39.42

$28.59

$26.59

 

Safeway: 2111 Mission St.

Illustration by Lizzy Choi
Illustrations by Lizzy Choi

Safeway is accessible by buses 19, 15 and 16. Open 21 hours daily, from 5-2 a.m., it houses a pharmacy, bakery, deli and Starbucks. It is known for carrying name-brand items and purchases are often cheaper by buying in bulk or signing up for a Safeway Club Card.

coffeeTrader Joe’s700 Front St.

Trader Joe’s is arguably the most accessible to students because of its proximity to the Metro Center. It can be reached on buses 10, 66 and 71 at the Front & Soquel stop or students can walk there after taking any bus to the metro. If students choose to drive, there is free parking. It is open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

theeggsGrocery Outlet: 120 Morrissey Blvd.

Grocery Outlet is a discount grocery store that buys excess inventory from other retailers. This makes its prices generally lower than other stores. Due to this process shoppers may find that the brands it carries differ based on intake. Grocery Outlet can be reached by taking the 66, 69a, 69W or 71 buses and getting off at the Soquel Avenue & Frederick stop. It may be the most out of the way from campus of the three stores — individuals coming from UCSC must transfer buses at the Metro Center. Grocery Outlet is about 12-15 minutes from campus if shopping with a car and has a smaller parking lot than the other two stores. Its hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Chloe Reynolds is co-editor in chief at City on a Hill Press and an award winning student journalist. Beginning her career as a campus reporter, she found a passion for reporting on issues affecting communities of color on campus and in Santa Cruz. She was then promoted to be the Arts & Culture editor, which she changed from the Arts & Entertainment desk in order to effectively report on the struggles and successes of people of color. In her storyfinding she challenges the culture of what is classically considered “newsworthy”, looking for stories that are underreported and undervalued. She enjoys learning, unlearning and keeping her coily hair adequately moisturized.