ANCHORAGE -

Trying to combat the high cost of groceries, one of Alaska's biggest retailers Fred Meyer is trying to woo customers with cheaper items, a strategy that could ease the pain on your wallet.

There's not much you can get past Debbie Robbins. In her more than 43 years of navigating Alaska's grocery store aisles, it's safe to say she's shopper saavy.

"Good prices, good product, I don't want to buy something I'm not familiar with," Robbins said. "I do buy a lot of the store products because they are cheaper than the national brands and a lot of times they are just as good."

Prices are a big deal to Debbie, She's aware of how much food has gone up over the past ten years.

"I rarely buy steak. I might steak on sale, but steak is just out of our budget," Robbins said.

"That's kind of the way things go costs typically increase from year to year," said State of Alaska economist, Alyssa Rodrigues.

It's a reason why Fred Meyer is going full throttle with a new pricing strategy campaign. By declaring war against its competitors, the idea is to attract customers by lowering the prices of thousands of items by working with suppliers to take costs out when shipping to Alaska.

"It has to go on the water, so how do we reduce certain cost pieces, whether its additional wrap supply, additional cardboard, certain things we can take out of the system," said Ann Reed, who is the vice president of merchandising for Fred Meyer.

Carrs Safeway declined to comment on prices beyond saying that "prices are proprietary information."

Walmart said "We're committed to providing our customers with the lowest prices. We are working with our partners to check competitors prices on thousands of items every week so we know how we stack up, market by market, category by category, product by product."

So how do prices match up amongst the three stores right now? Based on the Alaska Department of Labor list of common food items, KTUU discovered that a half gallon of milk is cheaper at Fred Meyer. A dozen of eggs, a medium cheese pizza, and one basic frozen meal is cheaper at Walmart. When your talking about beef, a pound of it is the cheapest at Fred Meyer, with bananas costing the least at Walmart.

Pricing that all three retailers say is subject to change, but a shopping experience that Alaskans like Debbie hope will mean more dollars coming her way.

Fred Meyer says the new lower prices rollout will happen starting September 21. Walmart says its already put out a new program that will compare local grocery ads and give customers the difference if a competitor price is lower than what they paid at Walmart.

Corey Allen-Young KTUU Channel 2 Reporter cyoung@ktuu.com 744-2642 cell