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With its beautiful beaches, lush landscapes, and island charm, Hawaii is one of the top travel destinations in the U.S. But with that paradise comes a higher cost of living, especially for everyday necessities like groceries.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Groceries in Hawaii cost about 15-60% more compared to the national average. For a family of four, expect to spend $1200-1500 per month on groceries.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down grocery prices in Hawaii by category and popular grocery items. We’ll also compare Hawaii grocery costs to national averages and prices in other high cost-of-living areas.

Average Grocery Costs in Hawaii

Monthly and Weekly Averages for Families

According to a recent study by the University of Hawaii, the average monthly grocery bill for a family of 4 in Hawaii is around $1,169 (Source). This breaks down to about $292 per week. However, costs can vary significantly depending on factors like where you shop, what you buy, and family size and eating habits.

For example, shopping at big box stores like Costco or Sam’s Club can reduce costs compared to smaller grocery stores. Buying local produce in season is also usually cheaper in Hawaii.

Of course, buying more expensive cuts of meat, imported items, organics, and highly processed foods will increase any family’s grocery bill.

Price Differences Compared to National Averages

Unfortunately for Hawaii residents, grocery costs are 53% higher than the national average. Nationwide, the typical family of 4 spends around $860 per month on groceries (Source).

Location Average Monthly Grocery Cost (Family of 4)
Hawaii $1,169
National Average $860

The high price of groceries in the Aloha State is largely due to import costs. Around 85-90% of Hawaii’s food is imported, which adds substantial shipping and transportation fees to items.

High real estate and labor expenses in Hawaii also drive up operational costs for local farms and grocery stores, leading to pricier produce and goods. And there’s simply less competition among stores and chains compared to the mainland US.

Grocery Prices in Hawaii by Category


When it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables, prices in Hawaii can be quite high compared to the mainland U.S. This is largely due to the islands’ remote location and the increased costs to ship produce.

However, there are still deals to be found, especially when buying local Hawaiian produce that’s in season. For example, pineapple, mangoes, avocados, bananas, and papaya can offer good value during peak harvest times.

Meat and Seafood

Beef and pork prices are generally more expensive since most has to be flown or shipped in. Expect to pay around $6-8 per pound for things like ground beef or pork chops.

The bright spot is the abundance of fresh, high-quality seafood like tuna, salmon, mahi mahi, and shellfish.

Poke bowls overflowing with fresh Hawaiian fish can still be had for reasonable prices if you know where to look.


Milk, butter, eggs, and other dairy products come at quite a premium, thanks to state regulations and processing costs. A gallon of regular milk easily goes for $5-6+. Specialty milk like almond or soy costs even more.

Overall, expect to pay 20-30% more for dairy items compared to mainland prices.

Packaged and Canned Goods

Since most packaged dry goods get shipped in, you’ll generally find prices are a good bit higher on things like cereal, pasta, rice, canned goods, snacks, baking ingredients, etc.

For example, a 25oz jar of Ragu pasta sauce goes for nearly $4. A bag of Doritos is easily $4-5.

The good news is Hawaii Costco warehouses often have better deals for bulk and wholesale packaged grocery items.


A six pack of domestic beer averages around $8-10. Soda 12-packs go for $5-6. Wine starts at $10 per bottle with premium labels costing $20+.

So while enjoying a tropical cocktail outdoors might fit the island vibe, Ali’i Aloha in liquid form comes at a royal price.

If looking to save, go for Hawaiian brands like Maui Brewing Company or Kona Longboard beer for better value.

Cost Comparison of Popular Grocery Items

Groceries in Hawaii are notoriously more expensive than on the mainland. Island living comes with added transportation costs that drive up prices. However, savvy shopping can help mitigate the sticker shock.


Fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant in Hawaii, but generally cost more than double what mainlanders pay.

For example, a head of cauliflower runs $8 in Hawaii versus $3 on the mainland. Bananas fetch up to $1 per pound in Hawaii, while mainlanders pay an average of $0.58 per pound.

The reason lies in Hawaii’s isolation from major distribution networks. Over 90% of food is imported with added shipping, storage, and spoilage costs. Exceptional finds exist at farmers markets with reduced markups.

Meat and Seafood

Protein carries a premium price tag in paradise. Ground beef averages $6 per pound—mainlanders pay closer to $4. And fresh fish like ahi and mahimahi cost triple or more compared to coastal cities. Poultry and pork follow similar patterns.

On the bright side, Hawaii does offer an abundance of fresh seafood. Savvy locals leverage local catch from the islands’ fishers to offset costs.

Dairy and Eggs

As perishable staples, dairy and eggs become costly to supply from afar. Milk runs $5-6 per gallon in Hawaii versus $3 on average mainland. And eggs fetch up to $7 per dozen, more than double typical Walmart prices.

Hawaii actually maintains significant cattle ranches and poultry farms. But operational expenses still outpace mainland counterparts given Hawaii’s remote locale.

Also read: Grocery Stores In Hawaii – The Complete Guide

Ways to Save

While sticker shock looms large for new Hawaii residents, several saving strategies exist:

  • Shop at big box Costco, Sam’s Club, or Walmart when possible
  • Purchase produce in-season and from farmers markets or roadside stands
  • Enroll in loyalty programs at Foodland, Times, and Don Quijote
  • Limit expensive proteins by substituting eggs, legumes, starches, or tofu
  • Grow fruits and vegetables at home or join community gardens

At the end of the day, Hawaii’s beauty outweighs the grocery markup for many residents. A little planning and flexibility makes paradise more affordable!

Tips for Saving Money on Groceries in Hawaii

Shop at Big Box Stores or Local Chains

Opting to shop at larger chain grocery stores like Safeway, Foodland, Times Supermarket, and Don Quijote can help save money over smaller retailers.

These big box and local chains often have special discounts, loyalty programs, store brands that cost less, and buying power to offer lower overall pricing.

Seek Out Farmers Markets and Fruit Stands

Farmer’s markets and local fruit stands in Hawaii provide fresh, seasonal produce often at prices far below the grocery store. The KCC farmers market offers locally grown fruits and veggies every Saturday, while fruit stands dot major highways across the islands.

Look for Discounts and Store Memberships

Most major grocery chains in Hawaii offer weekly sales flyers and loyalty programs with special discounts. For example, Safeway has a Just 4 U program offering personalized deals.

Stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, and Amazon also now offer grocery delivery membership options that can tally up savings of 15-20% over traditional stores.

Buy in Bulk When Possible

From giant bags of rice to value pack meats, purchasing food and household items in bulk sizes often brings the lowest per ounce or per serving prices.

Stock up the pantry when there are sales or make larger, less frequent trips to warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club to maximize bulk savings.

Compare Prices at Multiple Stores

Every grocery store and supermarket in Hawaii has differences in pricing and sales. Savvy shoppers should compare per unit prices across brands and stores to find the best deals. Using apps like Flipp can make this easier by showing current sales flyers across retailers in one place.

Also read: How Much Is Food In Hawaii? A Detailed Breakdown


As we’ve seen, the cost of living in paradise comes at a price. While groceries in Hawaii can cost 15-30% more compared to national averages, there are ways locals and visitors alike can cut down costs through smart shopping.

By sticking to big box stores instead of small retailers, buying in bulk, joining discount clubs, and comparing prices across multiple stores, you can find some relief from Hawaii’s high grocery bills. Though the breathtaking scenery and island culture make up for the extra pineapple tab.

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