St. John food price survey

Dolphin The first clue something was changing came last month in the March food price comparison by the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs.

“At $82.83, Dolphin's food basket was just 48 cents lower than Starfish Market's basket, which totaled out at $83.31,” the Virgin Islands Daily News reported.  (Full story here.)

Something had changed.  In each prior DLCA survey, Starfish was always the high-priced spread. Sometimes as much as 15%. 

This month’s survey was even more surprising.  The 24-item market basket at Starfish was priced at $56.91, while Dolphin came in at $60.73, seven percent higher.  Not surprisingly, Pine Peace Market, at the foot of Jacob’s Ladder, was the cheapest, at $55.13, but not all that much lower than Starfish. (The St. John Source has a report about the April survey. http://www.onepaper.com/stthomasvi/?v=d&i=&s=News:Local&p=1223617412)

The survey results suggest Dolphin has raised its prices, perhaps a reasonable move given how its business has most likely been severely reduced due to construction of the roundabout and the difficulty of parking near the store.

Then another straw in the wind.  On the St. John forum at Trip Advisor, StJohn Julie reported Dolphin has dropped its 10% discount for people using the recycled grocery bags it promoted last September. (See the story here.) The market's newspaper ads also used to also offer a 10% discount to locals.  Skimming the past four issues of the Tradewinds, I found no Dolphin Market ads.

So … where do you do your food shopping?  Where do you find the best deals and best prices?  Comment here.

12 thoughts on “St. John food price survey”

  1. Dolphin is having a “Construction Sale” to try to get people in the store. It is really unfortunate that the project is hurting sales given that fact that they are one of three options (Starfish, Dolphin and Pine Peace). It has been difficult to park at Dolphin because of the road changes and it has probably really hurt them. I have been making a point to stop and buy things from them recently to try to do my part.

  2. i’ve found that they ring up items at the wrong price, so you have to tell them and watch as they ring up each item to make sure you get the right price. very annoying. add this to the no more 10% discount and i have very little reason to shop there anymore.

  3. I think the most alarming thing that Dolphin practices on a very regular basis is repacking expired products and removing expiration dates from other package. Can’t blame it on the distributor when you see the contents of Lunchables package on a Styrofoam tray covered in plastic wrap. I also bought baby formula there the other day that was $9 more than the exact same item at Pine Peace.

  4. any idea when the construction will be done? also, where is the Pine Peace market. I’m coming back to the island in
    june and would like to try it.

  5. The construction may have another year to go.
    Pine Peace is at the foot of Javob’s Ladder, the very steep hill that leaves town on the way to the Westin, Great Cruz bay, Chocloate Hole etc.
    If you are standing at the door of Dolphin, you see two roads. One is Centerline, which goes up and away, across the spine of the island. Across the way, on the other side of the roundabout, is the South Shore Road. Take that out of town and it’s maybe 1/4 mile, on your left

  6. why does everyone assume dolphin dropped their prices… starfish prices have been pretty good lately. i think they get a bad rap but really do have the best quality products on island. i don’t buy meat or produce at the other stores.

  7. The owner of Pine Peace is a true gentleman who trusts his shoppers. The Dolphin Market owner stares down customers like they are about to steal something. I don’t like being stared at. This is why I don’t go there.

  8. I just went to Dolphin Market a couple of hours ago and noticed that they have two signs saying they still give the discount if you spend $25 and have the bag….hmmm, change their minds? Or was I on the naughty list for the day last week?

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