You never know what you're going to find at Grocery Outlet, but there are hidden gems, including items you'd pay twice the price for at Whole Foods: organic herbs, EO beauty products, Amy's frozen meals, and prosecco from Italy. Headquartered in Berkeley, Grocery Outlet has hundreds of independently operated stores across the country that absorb surplus inventory from brand-name manufacturers. Each store carries different products and the offerings change daily, but luckily, the selection goes beyond Oscar Mayer lunchmeat and white bread. In Oakland and Berkeley, the produce section is always overflowing with good buys, including organic fruits and vegetables, pre-washed bagged lettuce, and locally sourced herbs. The frozen food aisle is also a cheap way to stock a freezer with pizza, desserts, and gluten-free bread. There's also a decent selection of wine and beer. Best of all, Grocery Outlet's health and beauty section has a huge variety of toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, hair dye, and even handmade olive oil soaps. Everything is priced to sell fast, so check expiration dates before you buy and be decisive — items have been known to sell out in a day.
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