– Elsa La Muse
Choices are made daily by each of us. Do I hit the snooze button once more? Shall I have that extra bite? Where should I buy my groceries? When it comes to the last question, several key factors impact our decision, especially since grocery shopping represents one of the most frequent activities in the life of an American family. The quality of products, the best value, coupon policies, and the ability to provide name-brand produce all play their parts in how consumers to choose their grocery shopping destination. Here are the top 10 grocery stores ranked worst to best.
10. Fresh Thyme Farmers Market
Although it ranks among the ‘‘least favorite’’ stores according to consumers, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market has made its mark focusing on organic products. Simply think of it as a local farmers market where a multitude of fresh produce at reasonable prices can be found. Shoppers will realize that buying organic and fresh does not necessarily cost a fortune. Fresh Thyme also carries a considerable amount of private labele products, from flavorful frozen meals to a variety of everyday self-care and beauty products. For the fans of snack mixes, they’ll fall in love with some bulk items that contain all types of granolas, chocolate, and grains. DIY nut butter from a huge selection of nuts can also be made on site, how incredible is that? Some ‘‘must try’’ products from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market reviewers include: Fresh Thyme Herbal Serums, Fresh Thyme Coconut Lemongrass Conditioner, Roasted Red & Yellow Peppers, Organic Low-Fat Refried Beans, and Chicken, Kale & Sweet Potato Soup. They do all sound super tempting.
9. WinCo Foods
WinCo Foods started in the 1960s in Boise as a discount grocer named Waremart. Proudly Boise-based to this day, the company became WinCo Foods in the late 1990s. The name stands as an acronym for the five original states: Washington, Idaho, Nevada, California, and Oregon. WinCo Foods is today employee-owned and do things out of the box, which makes it possible to offer low prices without having to compromise on quality. The store only accepts cash and debit cards, and no grocery baggers are available as these are extra costs to the customers. WinCo has its own warehouse, distribution, and transportation system, which allows the company to deal directly with suppliers and vendors to exclude all intermediate costs. For this reason, the prices of all products can be kept as low as possible for shoppers. WinCo Foods is also well-known for its bulk foods section, where over 800 items such as candies, nuts, seasonings, and coffee beans are available for the customers to choose from and purchase the quantity they desire.
Originating in Florida, Publix was founded in 1930. Today, it is the largest employee-owned supermarket chain in the United States and also among one of the biggest supermarket chains in the country in terms of retail sales volume. The company has more than 1,200 locations across the country with the majority of them in Florida. Their products meet the needs of all types of customers, from vegetarians to meat-lovers. Some reviewers have chosen Publix as their favorite supermarket for several reasons: the free cookies offered to children at the in-store Publix Bakery, the Publix Cooking School, and the “Publix Promise” of transparent and low pricing. Also to note, the fried chicken sold at Publix is ‘‘legendary’’. Many clients are surprised that supermarket fried chicken could taste as delicious as some highly-rated restaurants: crispy outside and juicy inside served with the right amount of spices. Last but not least, their legendary sub sandwiches from Publix Deli have been argued to be better than many of the best sandwiches in the country. The layout of the store also makes it extremely easy for customers to find what they’re looking for when they navigate the aisles, and almost every Publix has the same layout. The aisles are also wide enough to accommodate all shoppers. Employee Ownership is a facet that made customer service at Publix so exceptional. How so? A manager has revealed that because the supermarket chain is associate owned and operated, the company focuses on promoting from among its ranks. As a result, happy employees will in return take better care of the customers. Employee ownership is the Publix ‘‘secret sauce’’, and each employee understands that their success is directly tied to the success of the company.
7. Sam’s Club
Sam’s Club is a chain of membership-only retail warehouses founded in 1983, owned and operated by Walmart. As of 2019, Sam’s Club ranks second in sales volume among warehouse clubs, slightly behind its rival Costco. Sam’s Club is the favorite grocery shopping destination for a great many reasons. They have great prices and deals on an extensive amount of their products. Even though most of the items are sold in extra-large sizes, customers are still willing to purchase them because in the end, this saves them a colossal amount of time and money. The rewards programs at Sam’s Club are also highly appreciated by its customers. They allow members to receive cash back at the end of their membership year. Sam’s Club is extremely convenient because it also has a pharmacy, a photo center, an optical department, a tire department (where tires are not only sold but also installed for the client). Other than food products, Sam’s Club offers value prices on mattresses, appliances, and clothing. Some other aspects that distinguish the store are its discounted gift cards (ideal for holiday gifts), croissants and great deals on snacks.
Aldi is a globally-known German-based discount supermarket chain with over 1,600 stores across 35 states in the US. Some customers compare Aldi with Costco or Trader Joe’s because they compete with each other in terms of their generous sampling policy and bulk sales. Aldi is also notable for its intimate external and internal design, ridiculously advantageous prices, and quality food products. More recently, the store’s low prices rival those of Walmart. Let’s have a closer look at more reasons why families adore to shop at this exceptional outlet. Aldi’s minimalist layout and small size (compared to its competitors) make the shopping experiences more effortless for its customers, especially when it comes to the part that most people dread: finding a parking space. Not only do clients get to park closer to the entrance, but they can also quickly scan the entire store upon entering. Contrary to bigger grocery stores where getting from one side to another takes time, it’s only a short walk between aisles at Aldi. The consistent internal layout at every location is worth mentioning because once a client has shopped at one Aldi, they shopped at them all. Another attractive plus when it comes to Aldi is their policy on private label brands. In a situation where a customer is not satisfied with any of their in-house label brands, the store will replace it for free with a full refund, no question asked.
This American multinational corporation operates as a chain of membership-only warehouse clubs and is the second-largest retailer in the world after Walmart. Costco has come to provide its members with considerable savings on plenty of diverse items that families purchase on a regular basis. Costco offers the lowest price on most of the dairy, bread, and fresh produce when it comes to price-quality ratio. Some of these items include sourdough and rye bread, English muffins, bagels, croissants (a must-try!), deli turkey breast, shredded mozzarella, sausages, eggs, milk, beans, pasta, tomato products, olives, bananas, apples, and spices, and much more! Costco is also outstanding because of their bulk sales, which is a real benefit for busy families who do not have time to do their grocery shopping very often. Besides, sometimes it simply doesn’t make sense to buy some products in small packages since the bulk pricing is much more beneficial financially for these families. The ‘‘No questions-asked’’ return policy at Costo is also much enjoyed by its customers. It is so simple and straightforward that it almost seems unreal. For any reason of dissatisfaction, as long as shoppers bring their original packaging, Costco accepts all returns even if you no longer have the receipt. Now that’s a good return policy!
4. Wegmans Food Markets
Founded a little more than a hundred years go, Wegmans now has more than 100 stores across seven states. Buying groceries at Wegmans is always a delightful experience. The display of fresh fruits and vegetables is always impeccable, which gives a great impression to customers who walk in the store as it is the very first thing they might notice. The exceptional high-quality and engaging displays extend to its meat and fish counters. And its private-label offerings are of exceptional quality as well. Prepared foods are also a crucial part of the Wegmans shopping experience, where customers can pick up dinner from a wide range of choices like sushi, Mexican or Italian to classic American comfort foods. Wegmans offers restaurant-quality prepared foods with oven-safe packaging, cold-pressed juices, and cauliflower rice. Its aisles are always stocked with an abundance of choices. The supermarket commits to sourcing the highest-quality seasonal produce for its customers. To offer an agreeable shopping experience to all, Wegmans has joined the growing list of grocers offering the convenience of online ordering and home delivery services, and proudly offers the possibility to shop from the Wegmans app, digital coupons and online catering. The supermarket also has a large international foods and cheese section, as well as a bakery, deli, and seafood and meat counters. In terms of the shopping experience, Wegmans is on the smaller side of grocery chains and mostly exists outside of major cities. This feature makes the chain feel like a part of home instead of a typical box store selling groceries. Wegmans has generous return policies that allow customers to get a replacement for any product that did not meet their expectations, but it is also known for its prices, which are constantly adjusted to be as competitive and appealing as possible. Beyond its stores and the communities it serves, Wegmans is also heavily involved in local charities. Over the years, the company donates food to the hungry, as well as to community-based non-profits organizations.
3. Market Basket
Market Basket is a chain of supermarkets that operates 80 stores within three states, with headquarters in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. They provide their customers an extraordinary food shopping experience, with the most strict standards for freshness, quality, and customer service going beyond expectations. Market Basket supermarket stores also offers remarkable value on grocery staples including fresh produce, quality meats, delicious baked goods, and stunning floral arrangements. They also provide pharmacy services in some select grocery store locations. For the majority of people who often shop there, Market Basket has an “uncomplicated shopping environment,” mostly because there is no pressure having to deal with loyalty cards or long self-checkout line-ups. They are known for their lower prices and utilize uniform pricing so prices are the same at every location. This shopping environment lures customers in with its saving potential and simplicity. Rather than strictly competing on prices, Market Basket chooses to focus on demographics. The goal of this ‘‘customization’’ is to build a panoply of products to satisfy customers based on their existing habits. Before a new store is opened, Market Basket’s marketing team will cautiously study the specific neighborhood: from the most present ethnic backgrounds to the eating habits of the neighborhood (eg. if there is a certain type of bread or meat that is preferred or should be avoided). Market Basket always seeks to make their products appealing to its customers by making them feel special.
2. Trader Joe’s
This American chain of grocery stores headquartered in California has over 503 stores across the United States and keeps rising in the ranks of American grocery markets. Over the years, the store has gained a broad customer base due to its low prices, unique offerings, and charming in-store features. Trader Joe’s really meets the needs of all: for the health-conscious, a vast selection of natural and organic products is available; and for the bargain shoppers, the store’s low prices are more than just appealing. The store’s eco-friendly policies have made the shopping experience more sustainable, thus lowering costs for its customers. The most noticeable healthy option available at Trader Joe’s is its produce. Besides that, the supermarket also has a large selection of different healthy options like dried fruit and nuts. Lower prices are one more factor that differentiates Trader Joe’s from its competitors, and the store has various tactics to keep its prices steadily low. Actually, a lot of Trader Joe’s products are in-house labels and although they look similar to mainstream brands, they are, most of the time, cheaper. In addition to keeping its prices low, the quality of these Trader Joe’s-brand products is a cut above. The wines sold at Trader Joe’s are incredibly low-priced for the quality customers get. Decent bottles of wine for under ten bucks are easy to find, which is so amazing for people who do not want to spend too much on a wine to go with dinner. So, whether clients are craving a classic chardonnay or cabernet sauvignon, the wine section at Trader Joe’s is definitely a must-try!
H-E-B is a 100-years old American privately owned supermarket chain based in Texas, which today operates 340 stores across Texas and Mexico. The store has been implementing a noteworthy shopping experience for its customers much longer than its rivals and is known for its gourmet cooked food and fresh bakery section. The produce section at H-E-B carries more than 1,000 items. The gorgeous fruits and vegetables are known to be fresh and always flawlessly stacked. For faster checkout, shoppers can weigh and label their own produce with ease. The private label collection at H-E-B also draws the attention and rave reviews from many. This collection includes lower-cost and organic products, which always helps the wallet of those ‘‘healthy shoppers’’. The meat selection is also beloved by everyone who shops at H-E-B. Many Yelp reviewers described it as outstanding and reasonably priced. Furthermore, the store bears a variety of local Texas products such as BBQ sauces and chips; condiments, and even snacks from the beloved Texas fast-food chain Whataburger, which customers are absolutely in love with! Finally, the store also offers many options for customers with food allergies with a section with products that are specifically manufactured for clients who are sensitive to certain foods. With the added convenience of having a gas station at the grocery store, the gas prices at H-E-B are always competitive even without a required membership card. In addition, a car wash service comes with a gas refill.