10 Surprising Facts About Grocery Outlets That Can Save You Big Money

Explore these lesser-known grocery outlet secrets and start saving today.
Updated April 16, 2024
Fact checked
A woman grocery shopping

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Grocery outlets buy and sell surplus grocery items, sometimes at significantly lower prices, and are growing in popularity.

However, many Americans still have yet to take advantage of these stores. Perhaps that is simply because they haven’t heard of the stores yet, or don’t understand just how deep the discounts can be.

If you're on the fence about visiting your local grocery outlet, check out 10 surprising facts about how these outlets can help you save big on groceries.

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Products can cost much less than at regular grocery stores

Confidence/Adobe Lady examining the expiration date of a product

Grocery outlets don’t have the same business model as wholesale retailers such as Costco. Like outlet stores for clothing brands, they may have an overstock of products or items that typical grocery chains reject for one reason or another.

Because of this model, the discounts on products can be quite steep. However, stocking up if you see something you like is best because there’s no guarantee an outlet will restock.

You can keep track of discounts on social media

deagreez/Adobe A lady is utilizing her phone while shopping for fruits.

One of the major players in the grocery outlet game — a chain appropriately known as Grocery Outlet — doesn't sell products online. However, the company does regularly update its social media accounts with deals.

Staying on top of updates from Grocery Outlet’s Instagram or Facebook pages can translate into major savings that boost your bank account.

Product labels help break down discounts

Natalia/Adobe Woman reading ingredients of a product

When you shop at a Grocery Outlet store, each product should have a label explaining how much discount you're getting. “WOW alerts” indicate a product is 50% to 70% off. Customers can sign up for WOW alerts via email. 

Products are also labeled with an “Elsewhere Price” to let customers know how much a product is selling for at stores nearby.

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Shoppers can even save on organic options

igishevamaria/Adobe Female putting vegetables in a bag

Organic food options are notoriously expensive at standard supermarkets, but savvy shoppers can land great deals on several organic brands at popular grocery outlets.

Grocery Outlet, for example, has a NOSH section — which stands for “natural, organic, specialty, health” — where shoppers can find popular brands such as Kashi, So Delicious, and more at steep discounts.

Email lists advertise big savings

Kannapat/Adobe An email

Like other grocery retailers, outlets sometimes email customers about the best deals. Grocery Outlet shoppers can sign up for the chain’s WOW emails and be notified about products that are up to 70% off at their local stores.

Sometimes, the retailer sends out generic dollars-off coupons to subscribers as well.

Dents can mean more savings

Piotr/Adobe Dented metal cans

Smart shoppers know a can with a few minor dents is usually perfectly good. At a grocery outlet, these small flaws in packaging can mean even bigger discounts.

Just remember that larger dents or partially open cans are more likely to pose potential health risks.

Shoppers can stock up on cheap frozen options

phpetrunina14/Adobe Man grabs frozen food

Like deals at Costco, BJ’s, and other wholesale stores, savvy grocery outlet shoppers can save big by stocking up on frozen items.

Unlike fresh produce and other perishables, frozen foods can be kept in the freezer for a long time. So, when a grocery outlet has a great deal in the frozen-food aisle, it's often wise to pack the cart.

Outlets may stock hard-to-find products

JJAVA/Adobe A toaster pastry

The consensus among grocery outlet shoppers seems to be that you never know what you might find browsing the aisles.

The products run the gamut. You might find discount makeup mirrors next to deals on spices and condiments.

Shoppers have also been known to find deals on random items that perhaps didn't sell as well at larger grocery chains, such as Peach Cobbler Pop-Tarts.

Shoppers can land bargains on brand names

Dragana Gordic/Adobe Woman shopping in a grocery store

From makeup to pet food to sodas, grocery outlet shoppers should expect to find deals on brands they already love and trust. If you enjoy shopping well-known brands at clothing outlet stores, expect a similar experience at grocery outlets.

As previously stated, even brands known to be pricey — such as organic options — can be found at these stores.

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You can get big bargains on booze

Serhii/Adobe Man shopping for alcohol

Many grocery outlets also have alcohol sections, and savvy shoppers can save big on wine, beer, and more.

Of course, the booze isn’t sold in bulk like at wholesale retailers like Costco. So it might be wise to compare and contrast prices to find the best deal if you plan to make a large purchase.

Bottom line

IanDewarPhotography/Adobe a grocery outlet

While many people haven’t yet experienced the thrill of landing an amazing grocery outlet bargain, this type of food shopping is becoming more and more prevalent. The Grocery Outlet chain alone now has more than 400 stores across the U.S.

If you’re looking for new and innovative ways to save on groceries and keep more money in your wallet, it is worth checking out your local outlet grocery store.

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Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.

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