What’s the Better Deal: “Fresh” or Frozen Shrimp

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frozen vs fresh shrimp

I always learn something new! I was talking to my local meat counter butcher and found out something VERY interesting!

Last week Harris Teeter had bags of EZ Peel Shrimp on sale B2G3 Free.  They were $31 each 2 lb bag making them $6.20/lb.   I didn’t feel like I really wanted to spend $62 on shrimp so when I saw that they were going to have shrimp on sale for $4.99/lb the next week (running 1/15-1/21) I decided I would buy 2 lbs this week.

I headed over to the meat counter and asked for 2 pounds of the $4.99/lb shrimp.  Then the butcher tells me something interesting, “Do you know that the frozen bags actually have 2.5 lbs?”  Ummm. No I didn’t!.  He says that they add the extra 1/2 pound to compensate for the weight of ice but that usually the ice weight is so minimal it’s like getting an extra 1/2 pound of shrimp!

Then he goes on to tell me that the “fresh” shrimp that I was asking for- it’s the EXACT same shrimp from those bags.  “We cut the bags open, rinse them with water to defrost them and put them in the display here.”

So that “fresh” shrimp isn’t really fresh.  In all fairness no where did the sign on the meat counter say “fresh” shrimp but I always just assumed (which we all know isn’t the smartest thing to do!)

So, what did I learn today?

  • “Fresh” meats in the counter display is the often same exact meat as what is in the packaged meats displays at a different price. (Did you know that the packaged chicken breast at Harris Teeter is often $5.99/lb but the SAME chicken in the ‘fresh’ meat counter is $1.99/lb EVERYDAY…yup.)
  • You can often get “extra” in the prepackaged/frozen bags of shrimp.
  • Pay attention in the store.  Check out all the options: Frozen, “fresh”, brand and generic.



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  1. Sandie Simpson says

    I found out from my butcher last week at Harris teeter that the meat on the black tray is packed in house and the meat on pink trays come into the store already pre packaged

  2. Gayle says

    the salad at their salad bar is the same salad lettuces in the prepackaged bags in produce…..I know this because I was there early one morning and the woman in the deli section was preparing salad and was taking most of the lettuce that was on sale I had a coupon for. I thought that was odd so I asked was there a reason to remove the sald mixes and she then told me she uses it to make salad.

  3. Lori in NC says

    FYI, the $1.99 chicken breasts from the meat case tray are similar – not exactly the same as those that are packaged. The meat case ones are “rough cuts” meaning you will see and get less-appetizing-looking veins, blood spots, cartiledge, etc. (not sure what they’re called). But nonetheless, that’s easy to cut off.

  4. Andrew says

    At Whole Paycheck I mean Foods they do the same thing with their shrimp. I always ask the butcher for the frozen ones and they get them from the back, I think they are ”fresher” that way.

  5. Ruby McGhee says

    I had the same conversation regarding the shrimp with my butcher awhile back. I have also noticed that when HT runs the B2G3 free, the following week they often run a better deal or at least one that is equally good, only smaller quantities. I am like you, I just can’t bring myself to shell out $62.99 – throws my budget off.

  6. Sabrina Medina says

    Aldi’s always has frozen bagged shrimp in 3 different sizes (medium, large, jumbo). They are sold in about 1lb bags for about $4-7.00 depending on the size of the shrimp. That is where I always get mine from.

  7. Brian says

    Please check the country of origin. The Asian shrimp are raised on human waste. Buy American!!!

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