Jan. 24, 2011 -- The next time you need groceries, you might not need to shop at a grocery store.
CVS and Walgreens are both getting into the grocery game in a big way, in order to cater to customers' needs as well as their wants.
Studies show people shop for drugstore items only about once a month, but they shop for food two or more times per week.
Drugstores are hoping that when you come in for milk and eggs, you'll also pick up some greeting cards or DVDs."Good Morning America" recently found people surveying a selection of oranges, bananas, apples, potatoes, onions and peppers.
"Corn flakes ... where are the corn flakes?" asked one customer.
Click HERE to learn more about drugstore rewards and rebate programs.
There was meat, eggs and even sushi.
But this wasn't a local grocery store. This was Walgreen's.
"We wanted to develop a daily healthy and living solutions store," Mark Wagner, president of operations and community management for Walgreen's, told "GMA."
It's working. Drug stores that have added more food are attracting more customers and making more money.
"It's been very successful when you look at it from a financial aspect, but it's been even more successful when you look at it from a community aspect," Wagner added.
Walgreens deliberately added groceries to stores, such as one on the South Side of Chicago, that are in so-called "food deserts" -- urban areas with no grocery stores.
"They have things that, you know -- variety for the family -- that's what we're looking for," one shopper said.
So it's good for the stores, but it is good for the customers?
"Some of my best grocery store deals have come from drugstores," said Chrissy Pate, co-founder of BeCentsAble.net, a forum for the best grocery deals around the country.
"The drugstores offer lots of store incentives and that's what makes them different than the grocery stores and big box chains -- you're going to find lots of store coupons, lots of rebate programs and lots of store credit," she said. "And that's how you can really get some rock-bottom prices."
"GMA" asked Pate to show us the deals you can snag at drugstores.
"Corn flakes! This is a great price," she said.
We compared the prices she found at the drug store to the local grocery store.
First up: Kellogg's cereal. Grocery store price: $3.29. CVS price: $1.79. A savings of $1.50.
Next: Maxwell House coffee. Grocery store price: $7.99. CVS price: $5.99. A $2 savings.
Pate said that if you keep an eye out for special rewards card deals you can save even more money.
Pate uses CVS Extra Care Bucks for a 12-pack of Pepsi. The grocery store price would have been $4.00. The CVS price is $1.67. That's $2.33 less.
At Walgreens, she finds more killer drugstore deals.
For example, one 32-ounce container of honey: Grocery store price -- $7.19. Walgreens price: $3.99. Savings: $3.20.
Finally, for the ultimate in savings, Pate combines both manufacturer coupons and store coupons to save big on Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Grocery store price: $2.24. Walgreen's price after coupons: 17 cents. Her savings: $2.07.
Savings experts say drugstores' regular food prices are typically higher than at grocery stores, but their sales -- designed to get people in the door -- are killer.
There is one other key difference between drugstores and grocery stores: inventory.
Grocery stores usually stock plenty of everything. Drugstores don't have as much space. So you should either go at the beginning of the sale or if a bargain item has sold out, be sure to ask for a rain check.
How Do Prices Compare?
Drugstores' regular prices are likely to be higher than big box store prices, but if you cherry pick drugstore sales, you can get deals like these:
Ragu pasta sauce: Big box price, $1.76. Drugstore price: $1.66
Raisin Bran: Big box price, $2.98. Drugstore price, $1.99
Starbucks coffee 4-pack: Big box store, $5.48. Drugstore price: $3.99