Apparently aluminum foil is the new toilet paper (not literally)

I was surprised to see this. It has been a while since the last time I bought a roll, but it was definitely in the $3 territory then.

Where? What size?

Looking at my local grocery store’s app, it’s $$.05 to $$.13/sq ft depending on brand (grocery store brand or Reynolds) and length ($$.13/sqft for 37.5 sqft but $$.06 for 75 and 200 sqft)

Boxes cost from $1.99 (25 sq ft, grocery brand) to $2.69 (30 ft, Reynolds) to $11.79 (130 sqft, heavy duty Reynolds).

This is in Ohio.

I’m checking the Safeway website; 200 sq ft of Reynolds brand foil is $13.99, on sale from $14.99. But that is the large quantity, so it’s a lot of product. And using camelcamelcamel to check historic prices on Amazon, the same item was about eight bucks in November 2021, and twenty bucks in September 2019. My guess is that this product, much more than most in the supermarket, is directly tied to commodity prices.

I usually buy the cheap generic foil at Dollar General. My gf buys the name brand that is non-stick. It’s crazy the difference in price for a fairly minor difference in quality (IMHO)

Walmart, in Sacramento, CA, would like $4.98 for a 75 sq.ft. roll of Reynolds, but will part with an equivalent roll of Great Value (their house brand) for $3.32. A 225 sq.ft. roll of Reynolds is $14.16, while Great Value is $7.98 for that size.

I’m wondering if the name-brand people are getting a tad greedy.

Go cheap. Only way.

And if you want the bigger width it’s harder to find.

Costco has a 1000 sq. ft. roll (online) for just under 38. 7.60 per 200 sq. ft.
I don’t remember what the in-store price is, it takes me a while to go through a 1000 ft.

Meh, aluminum used to be more valuable than gold. $14 for a 200 ft roll is still a bargain.

For me, anyway, there’s usually some sticker shock when I buy aluminum foil, just because I usually get a large box and it takes a very long time for us to go through it.

I’ve made the mistake of buying off brand foil a couple of times. Each time it sucked, thinner than the name brand. And I even bought the heavy duty generic foil once and it doesn’t compare with the Reynold’s heavy duty. I’ll stick to Reynold’s.

Gotta be careful with the foreign stuff, it might use aluminium instead.


I think my all-time best discovery at a dollar store was the foil sheets for $1. Sometimes they even have Reynolds. Sure, the quantity is lower but a 200 sq ft would last me forever.

Also checked and you can get 250 sq ft of Amazon brand for $11.47 on subscription. or 350 (2 rolls of 175) for $13.58.

I just recently got turned onto the genius of non-stick foil. I suspect I could get fixed up cheaply by spraying that “ Pam flour “ spray onto foil. But….yes. Genius.

Meanwhile I’m in NYC. Every time I shop for foil I’m stunned. Dollar stores, etc- cheaper but not super cheap. The cost of the raw materials are way the hell up. Not sure why.

I ain’t paying extra. It’s gonna be crumpled up and tossed. If you gotta double it, double it.

I don’t wrap food in it, tho’.
We just use it to line a pan or cover something going in the oven.

I really like the toss away aluminum pans. I feel guilty for using them sometimes. But holidays it’s a must have.

There’s a certain cohort of Americans who make hats out of the stuff. I could see that having an inflationary effect, as there are far more of those folks than I would ever have imagined.

Weird Al - Foil

It’s almost as if the guy’s name has the chemical symbol right in it!

I am not doubting you observation, but I do have to consider conformation bias.

There are only a few things that can distinguish the generic foil from Reynold’s.

  • Width. This is easy to correct for.
  • Length. Same. They print the length of the roll on the box.
  • Surface finish. Some varieties have a textured surface and/or anti-stick coating. Look at the box. Obviously you can’t compare “decorative” or non-stick foil with standard (or heavy-duty) foil.
  • Thickness. Heavy-Duty vs. standard. If in question, take same length rolls of Reynold’s and generic to the produce section and weigh them. Every time I have done that, the same grades will weigh the same.
  • Manufacturer. Oops, not. All Aluminum foil made in the US is made by Alcoa. Alcoa bought Reynold’s in 2000, although Alcoa was making Reynold’s Wrap from at least the 1980s. Alcoa wrap is common in commercial settings while Reynold’s wrap is consumer. Established markets.

The alloy used by Alcoa is the same, regardless of label. It is the cheapest to produce and process into a foil that is flexible and resists tearing. Through economies of scale, nobody can produce it cheaper. To use a cheaper alloy, it costs more to process. Essentially, the only variable is dimensions. And Kroger Heavy-Duty weighs the same for a 200 ft roll as Reynold’s. Now, you may find “Valu-Pak” aluminum foil labeled as Heavy-Duty when it is standard, but if you weigh it, you’ll know.

You know, I can do that. I have a sensitive gram scale and I will try that in the next day or two when I remember to do it. I’m not going to discount confirmation bias, but I swear when I make barbecue and wrap in heavy duty foil, the cheap heavy duty foil just feels flimsy and light in my hands compared with Reynolds.