CINCINNATI — The WCPO 9 I-Team traveled to eight communities in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio to compare the lowest prices for a dozen Grade A eggs, a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, a dozen bananas, and a 10-pound bag of Russet potatoes.
We shopped at four large company grocery stores; Kroger, Meijer, Walmart, and ALDI.
The I-Team visited stores in Lawrenceburg/Aurora, Florence, Independence, Mason, Hamilton, Norwood, Oakley, and the Westwood neighborhood in Cincinnati.
The lowest prices were in the Westwood neighborhood of Cincinnati, which has a Kroger, ALDI and Walmart.
The Center for Regional Economic Competitivenessfound that Kenton County had the highest overall consumer prices in the Tri-state, nearly 8% higher than Butler County, which had the lowest.
NKU economist Janet Harrah said strong competition often leads to lower prices for consumers.
Our survey found Aldi was on average 25% less than Meijer, the most expensive grocer for our lowest-priced items.
The I-Team's grocery survey also found significant prices differences in the same company stores depending on where you live.
Walmart sold a dozen Grade A eggs for $.95 per dozen at the Westwood store. The lowest-priced eggs at the Walmart store in Florence cost $1.76 per dozen.
A gallon of milk was $2.19 at the Kroger in Westwood. It cost $2.99 at the Oakley Kroger.
On Tuesday, the I-Team emailed results of our price checks to Walmart, Kroger, Meijer and ALDI.
"Shoppers want access to affordable groceries, and we are relentless in our pursuit to save our shoppers money," ALDI Springfield Division Vice President, Sarah Brown said in a statement emailed to the I-Team.
Walmart, Kroger and Meijer did not respond.
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There are also significant differences in gas prices in our area, which hit a 7-year high in 2021, according to the website GasBuddy.com.
On Thursday, there were a half-dozen gas stations in the Franklin area selling gas for $2.99 a gallon, according to Gas Buddy.
And you could easily find gas for $3.03 per gallon across much of northern Kentucky.
Gas Buddy shows prices were 15-30 cents higher per gallon in many other communities, including Harrison, Montgomery and Blue Ash.
Prices at United Dairy Farmers (UDF) ranged from $2.99 in Franklin to $3.29 in Harrison, according to Gas Buddy.
On Tuesday, the I-Team requested comment from UDF on the price differences, but we have not received a response.
Check the latest gas prices so you can find the cheapest near you in our interactive map here.
One woman's story of dealing with high prices
Tonika Edwards has slashed her expenses, taken on additional work and still finds it tough getting her small family-owned transportation company to grow.
Ms. Edwards, her brother Rakim, and their mother Tonia, own and operate Traveling Seniors Transportation.
"Any extra income that I get is mainly going back toward the business," Ms. Edwards said.
Inflation, now at a 40-year high, has pushed prices for products they need much higher, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Ms. Edwards said their company also turns down frequent requests from people who use wheelchairs because the business can't afford a used vehicle that's wheelchair-accessible.
Used vehicle prices are up 37% nationally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"There's times when I'm overwhelmed," Ms. Edwards said. "It's been very tough mentally, emotionally."
Inflation has increased the cost of food for our families, and gas to heat our homes, along with other products and services, according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics.
"We know that inflation is effecting about every category of consumer goods," Northern Kentucky University economist Janet Harrah said. "How that effects your family depends in large part on what you buy and where you live."
"I try to find a smarter way of shopping," Tonika Edwards said.
She said she shops online more often, uses coupons and gets store "memberships" for better prices.
It’s her renewed approach to prioritizing what and who are most important in her life.
"I’m not giving up," she said.