Pamela Riemenschneider, Retail Editor
Pamela Riemenschneider, Retail Editor

It can be tough for retailers to handle coupons for produce, particularly because brands can be inconsistent from week to week, and because most of what’s available in the department is sold in bulk.

I’ve only tried digital couponing a few times and it worked out pretty well, but it never seems convenient for things I actually want to eat. So when I kept reading on Facebook about friends who love Target’s Cartwheel app, I decided to check it out.

Lo and behold, there were digital deals for produce. I checked about every produce coupon available and went shopping with my son Ike. We picked up the day’s Cartwheel produce deals, which included:

 

  • 5% off berries (in this case, a small clamshell of raspberries for $2.84)
  • 5% off a 5-pound bag of potatoes (gold, for $3.79)
  • 5% off packaged bell peppers (a stoplight pack $4.26)
  • 5% off kiwifruit (a pack of six for $1.89)
  • 5% off a bag of oranges (navels, for $4.74)
  • 5% off packaged tomatoes (a 10-ounce clamshell of grape tomatoes for $2.84)
  • 5% off avocados (one small for 94 cents)
  • 5% off lemons and limes (one lime for 65 cents and one lemon for 46 cents)

 

Most of the deals were for packaged produce, but it didn’t matter what brand was involved. They had both Pure Hothouse and Pero bell peppers in stoplight packs, for example. The deals worked for bulk produce, too. The avocado, lemon and lime were bulk items, but they were not sold by the pound.

I also have a Target RED debit card, which saved me 5% off my total purchase, and they gave me 5 cents off for bringing my own bag because I’m a well-trained Austin resident and rarely forget to bring my bags anymore.

I bought the smallest increment of everything I could find.

Total: $21.24, a savings of $1.20 (double that for using the Target debit card).

The register also issued a $1.50 coupon off a future $10 fresh produce purchase. Not bad, huh?

I wanted to see what kind of a “deal” this would be, so I went directly across the street (well, highway) in North Austin and bought the equivalent items at H-E-B.

I bought:

 

  • A small clamshell of raspberries for $2.48
  • A 5-pound bag of gold potatoes for $3.47
  • 1 red bell pepper for 88 cents, 1 yellow bell pepper for $1.38 and one green bell pepper for 52 cents ($2.78 total for peppers). A stoplight pack was $3.44, but had no green bell pepper.
  • 6 kiwifruit for $2.64
  • A bag of oranges (3-pound Texas) $2.27
  • A 10-ounce clamshell of grape tomatoes (organic) for $2.94
  • 1 avocado for 58 cents
  • 1 lime for 44 cents
  • 1 lemon for 25 cents

 

Raspberries were the only item on ad, for 60 cents off the regular price.

H-E-B total: $17.85

So, while I commend Target for offering digital deals on produce, I really didn’t save any money here because I can go right across the street and pay way less at a traditional grocery store.

Oh, and my Target total didn’t include the $15 Lego kit and $2.99 Ninja Turtle shampoo I bought for my older son, the $5 baby toy for my younger son and the clearance Easter candy I bought for the kids (well, actually me, if I’m being honest. You’ve got to have that one last Cadbury egg, right?).

Everyone knows you can’t go into Target without buying at least $20 more than you planned.

Pamela Riemenschneider is The Packer’s retail editor and editor of Produce Retailer magazine.

pamelar@thepacker.com

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