Neighborhood Intel

You're not imagining it: Brooklyn groceries really are more expensive

By Virginia K. Smith | February 18, 2016 - 2:59PM

Maybe everyone's ire for the Gowanus Whole Foods has been misdirected all this time: According to new data published by Crain's, Brooklynites are paying even more of a premium for groceries than their neighbors across the river in Manhattan.

While the cost of living in both boroughs is (predictably) much higher than in the United States at large—Manhattan's cost of living is 128 percent higher than the rest of the country's, a 54 percentage point difference from Brooklyn—data pulled from the Council Economic and Community Research shows that when it comes to food, Kings County residents have it worse. Specifically, Brooklynites spend 34 percent more on groceries than the national average, eight percentage points more than Manhattanites. (No word here on comparative prices in Queens or the Bronx, unfortunately.)

Some items seem to be more overpriced than others, and Crain's shows Brooklyn residents paying 53 percent more for fried chicken than Manhattanites, 30 percent more for whole milk, 22 percent more for bananas, and so on.

It's frustrating, sure, but anecdotally, not entirely surprising. In a lot of Brooklyn neighborhoods, from our experience, grocery stores often have "only game in town" syndrome and charge more for products that are worse, rendering it cheaper to just do one's shopping at, say, a Manhattan Whole Foods before heading back over the bridge.

In any case, maybe this means that if you live in the outer-boroughs, it's time to start ordering all your groceries online? You can even get Costco delivered these days, after all.


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