The deli department in any grocery store makes or breaks it for consumers who like to stock their fridge with gourmet foods. Now rethink Sam's Club and Walmart if you like to eat shrimp or wings.
Every deli has a niche, like Waldorf salads and stuffed scallops that keeps customers coming back. Not every Sam’s Club has a strong deli department—egs. buffalo wings and mustard potato salad aren’t sold by the pound at the deli counter. But, Walmart does and the deli department at Walmart is making its mark in the race to win supermarket consumers with prepared meals.
Walmart has knocked out a number of small town, locally owned supermarkets. Walmart’s fresh produce department stays stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables, and many Walmart supercenter delis operate during normal office hours (8- 6 p.m.).
Folks who are huge fans of Tyson’s packaged buffalo wings, Asian wings, or Tequila lime wings (sold exclusively in large quantities at Sam’s for well over $20) may want to give Walmart’s deli a serious look. Many Walmart delis sell wings already cooked: barbeque, hot wings, orange, fried, you name it. The prices weighin at less than $6 per pound.
When it’s convenient, it’s definitely worth it to skip the wings purchase from the pizza chain and buy them from Walmart. Walmart delis often have sales. Even when the food isn’t on sale, $5-6 per pound of wings is a bargain.
But Walmart falls woefully short to its bigger sister Sam’s Club and many chain grocers in the seafood deli department.
One deli treasure at Sam’s deli is the seafood. 2 lbs of frozen, a little over medium sized shrimp, sold in the deli department, not to be confused with processed and packaged, brand name shrimp products sold in the frozen foods section is sold year round, often for less than $23 dollars a bag.
In deli departments at larger grocery stores across the country, Publix, Giant, Kroger, and Safeway for example, a favorite in the deli department is shrimp cooked and seasoned at the counter. Shrimp prices at supermarket deli counters average a little over $9 per pound, depending on the size of the shrimp.
Sam’s also sells smoked and spiced salmon in its deli department and has an array of salmon steaks, fillets and burgers in its processed foods refrigerators as well. These aren’t for sale at Walmart. And premium fillets of seasoned salmon are found in finer supermarkets delis (iotw expensive neighborhoods).
As always and anywhere, a local deli, even in a national chain reflects the temperament and buying tastes of the natives. It’s no secret that in underprivileged, lower income neighborhoods, the delis aren’t likely to sell gourmet foods and may even have a dearth of fresh fruits and veggies.
Sam’s Club doesn’t suffer the same stigma. The stores are usually found in neighborhoods where residents can afford it. The foods in stock are purchased and delivered by the bulk for consumers and, for the most part, Sam’s Clubs foods are similar city to city in each state.
If seafood, like salmon and shrimp, are staples in a diet, then Sam’s Club is definitely worth the membership fee. Sam’s Club regular membership is $40 a year. Advantage membership offers more savings and members can enter the store as soon as it opens --7:30 a.m. on weekdays.