Target's groceries are shockingly more expensive than Walmart's — and it highlights a huge challenge for the business

Business Insider

walmart checkout cashier shoppingJoe Raedle / Staff / Getty Images

Target charges about 15% more than Walmart for groceries, according to a recent price check.

Business Insider compared prices on 31 identical items at Walmart and Target stores in Richmond, Virginia, to find out which store was cheaper.

The total basket at Walmart cost $95.98, compared to $110.25 at Target.

A price gap existed across all food categories, from fresh produce to packaged goods.

Walmart was at least 20% cheaper than Target on the following items: eggs, milk, peanut butter, meat, olive oil, grapes, pasta, quinoa, tall kitchen bags, got cheese, and pineapple.

Target had cheaper prices on a few items, however, including grapefruit, coconut oil, and canola oil.

The retailer offered the biggest discount over Walmart on almond butter. Target's price was $5.08 cheaper than the same brand of almond butter at Walmart.

WalmartJoe Raedle / Staff / Getty ImagesFor the price check, we compared the lowest prices available for each item. We also accounted for varying package sizes in our calculations.

Our findings support a recent Moody's research note declaring that "The gulf is widening between Walmart and Target," and particularly when it comes to the retailers' grocery departments.

"Overall, Target’s grocery business is around 15% the size of Walmart’s," the Moody's analysts noted. "Target's food business is disadvantaged because, among other factors, it lacks a Supercenter format with full-line grocery stores in tandem with a full-line general merchandise store."

There were some stark differences between the Target and Walmart grocery departments we visited.

The most obvious difference was size: Target store's fresh produce department was a tiny fraction of the size of Walmart's and the assortment was very limited in comparison.

TargetJoe Raedle / Staff / Getty ImagesAdditionally, the Target fresh produce department featured a lot of empty shelf space that we didn't see at Walmart.

At Walmart, which is the biggest grocery store in the US, the produce department was fully stocked and about the same size as the produce department in a traditional full-sized supermarket like Kroger.

We also counted about 30 store employees present in Walmart's grocery section during our visit. By comparison, we counted only one store employee in Target's grocery section.

TargetJoe Raedle / Staff / Getty ImagesTarget recently announced it would be ramping up staffing in the grocery department to try and grow its food sales.

But based on our visit, it has a long way to go before it catches up to Walmart.

Here's the full list of our findings from the price check:

Target vs WalmartJoe Raedle / Staff / Getty Images

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