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Market Basket - Is it OK?

I keep hearing about the Market Basket chain...is it ok? I went to ShopRite for 30 years and they don't have any here (Chelmsford). Stop and Shop and Hannafords seem to be the only options around here...

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  1. Both Stop and Shop and Hannafords I find to be very grossly overpriced. Hannafords less so than Stop and Shop, but both of them are more expensive than Market Basket -- which many find is the cheapest in the state.

    Market Basket is generally good for everything except perhaps the produce. Their produce can be hit or miss. Some weeks it's quite good, others it can be quite bad -- i.e. their consistency with produce quality is bad.

    Despite this, I still shop there regularly for my normal groceries, and supplement it with trips to Trader Joes (just down the street from me) and to Idylwilde

    Idylwilde is great for produce, and inexpensive too! If you're worried about price, just go light on their meats, baked goods, and refrigerated section. Though I've found their cheeses to be generally fairly priced.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Keithel

      forgot to include links to these various places.

      And again, Link to places fails some..
      I'll add here:
      Trader Joes
      145 Great Rd., Acton, MA

      Idylwilde Farm
      366 Central St., West Acton, MA

      Market Basket
      160 Littleton Rd., Westford, MA

    2. I live in Florida and boy do I miss Marketbasket. The prices are the best and the service is good too. Trader Joes [I miss that too] and Market basket are a great combo.

      1. Market Basket and TJ's are my staple grocery stores as well w fill ins @ local veggie stand and Italian market. I could be the poster child for MB. You CANNOT beat their prices.

        1. Next time you go grocery shopping, go north to Nashua. There's a Shaw's on Spit Brook, a Market Basket on DW Hwy and Trader Joes just south of the border in Tyngsboro. FYI, the state liquor store is next to Market Basket.

          1. I totally agree with the Market Basket /Trader Joe's approach. I also go to the Hannaford at exit 6 off Rt 3; there's a NH State Liquor store on the same street that has an extensive wine selection (waaay better than the one on DW Highway). Hannaford's produce is far superior to MB and seems less expensive (to me) than Shaws.

            1 Reply
            1. re: HIW

              Yes, exit 6 liquor store has the most comprehensive wine selection in the state. If you continue on Broad Street (Rte 130) you will hit Lull Farm in Hollis, which is an excellent farm stand with fresh mozzarella, unpasteurized cider, milk in glass bottles, and whoopie pies!

            2. My MB caters to an ethnic clientelle, hispanic and brazillian. Best pork selection. Good meat in general. very good grocery prices. Wide produce selection with the best prices. Not always nicely displayed, smaller fruit, larger packages.Love their walnut-raisin bread for breakfast

              1. I love Market Basket but not all created equal. Mine is on the tewksbury/lowell line, just expanded to compete with Hanaford (across the street) on Rt. 38 just off 495. Excellent prices, love their produce, organice section too. Their fish section is excellent/great prices - I buy a lot of fish. Hubby likes to spend more money across the street because it's a prettier store (IMO) :-)

                1. I'm mostly at the S Nashua, Nashua or Merrimack one's. When I get grape tomatoes, a couple of them actually wrap an elestic around the carton so they don't spill all over the place. Also, they almost always have the best prices on Seedless/Euopean cukes, even cheaper than at Costco recently.

                  Plus jarred marinated mushrooms, the Monterey brand is pretty good. Although they have gone up to $5.99/jar.

                  If by chance you don't mind sugar free powdered drink mix, their Kiwi Strawberry is very good.

                  Some of their baked rolls are also pretty good, the double crusted, pane, ciabbata to mention a few.

                  Hope you are finding your way around the new area.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: hummingbird

                    Years ago I stopped buying at Market Basket because they weren't carrying some of my favorite odd brands, I kept getting bitter zucchini and didn't care for their fresh fish dept. But, I started going back every few weeks because their prices are so good and they now carry my favorite Organic Cow milk. They carry ground buffalo now at a price much lower than Hannaford and Shaws. Their produce seems to have improved a lot. I've gotten good fish there although the selection is not as good as at Shaws. Sometimes Shaws has some good "buy one/get one free" deals on a few items.

                    1. re: dfrostnh

                      I was going to go off on a rant about Shaw's and their "Shaw's Card", but alas, I don't want to degrade this message board with flames.

                      1. re: Keithel

                        ilike mb for most things although i do the shaws s/s han for their loss leaders to save money if i were to buy fish at one of them though it would be han.
                        1/2(only 1/2 of them) the mb fish depts are nothing more than a 6-8ft ref.case with pre wrapped fish that looked like it died of old age yuk

                      2. re: dfrostnh

                        Best place to buy ground buffalo in Nashua area is Hudson Stop&Shop, 4.29/lb. Shop the specials at S&S, and go across the street to MB for everything else.

                    2. I' ve had great success with the meat at Market Basket, especially the black angus tenderloins. I haven't found any to be more tender. They also, generally, have great prices on lobster. I've been paying $5.99 a pound at the Concord, NH MB, while at my favorite local fish market in Quincy I've been paying $10.99.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Pegmeister

                        The lobsters have been good at the Nashua NH location this summer as well. Also, I like the pork selection -- a wider selection of cuts, and much less of the treated "self basting" salty nonsense that Shaw's and Hannaford have started carrying.

                      2. I noticed that my local MB is carrying Fage yogurt.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: whs

                          Yep, I've seen it in multiple MB locations (Westford, MA and Burlington, MA)
                          They have it the cheapest around. I think it's even cheaper than at TJs - though I'm not positive.

                          TJs also fails to carry their individual serving + strawberry jam variety, granted, you can supply the strawberries yourself :)

                        2. I have never had good luck w/ Market Basket for produce. It just never looks fresh.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: MissMillie

                            What I don't like is that they prepackage the produce. I finally found the loose (no, thanks, I don't need four peppers, it's just the two of us, one will suffice!) veggies but still, I like to choose my own.

                            1. re: mrsbuffer

                              You should check out the one just off Rt 495, on Rt. 38 Tewksbury/Lowell line. No prepackaged produce. Maybe 1/2 melons or I guess mushrooms and such but not regular produce.

                              1. re: lexpatti

                                I agree that MB has the over-all lowest prices in the area, although I too shop S&S, Shaw's and Hanneford for loss leaders. There are two great grocery stores in Acton: Donelan on Great Road and Roche Brothers on Mass Ave. Although too far to drive for regular shopping, the quality and selection at both stores make them the places I check when I can't find something locally. But a warning: both are at the highest end of the price scale.
                                WRT quality produce at MB, it is definitely spotty, but I buy carefully. And as far as those large pre-packaged items, when I have requested a smaller amount I am either accommodated cheerfully or told to open the package and take just what I want. It is then weighed at the register. A bigger issue for me is the lack of selection of organic and specialty "health" products such as the Moosewood brand. Shaw's or Hannaford have better selections. BTW Hannaford is a "certified-organic" store, which means they have taken special precautions to separate organic and non-organic produce, meat, etc.

                          2. Welcome to the area. I've also shopped at MB for well over 30 years and have always found it to be the very best prices for 90% of everything. I've certainly never stood in line over 30 min. Maybe tops at 15. Deli lines can be long and you can only slice meat so fast. I try to only buy deli items during less busy times. As big as they have gotten in the past few years, I enjoy going in and having the butcher say hello and ask how my day is. It's refreshing. They will also take special orders. As far as produce, I buy produce by what looks good at that time, and that goes for any store or produce stand.

                            1. Like most people who have posted, I shop for some items at Demoulas because of the prices. I live in Exeter NH and use the one in Portsmouth near my office. We don't buy any of their produce except for a few select items. They sell 1 lb. deli containers of pre-peeled garlic cloves for a dollar in the produce section. What they don't sell is canned tomatoes we like or the pasta we use. No DeCecco, no Ronzoni, limited selection of good olive oil, wouldn't think of buying the seafood. We have certain items we buy at Shaws, Hannaford, Stop and Shop, and Walmart. We buy fresh produce at Tuttles and Barkers Farms, and On The Vine. So the answer seems to be, Market Basket is O.K., but it won't be the only place you shop. You'll have to find other stores to augment Market basket's bargain staples.

                              1. I am a MB poster child. I've shopped at the Middleton Ma MB for years and now that the new store in Reading is open ( a few miles from my house) I shop there. Both stores have EXCELLENT fish depts and I would not hesitae to buy their fish. AND I'm very picky about fish. The produce section at the MB in Reading is amazing. And of course you cannot beat the prices.In either store I've never waited more than 10 minutes in line. Between MB and TJ's my food shopping needs are mostly covered.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: shaebones

                                  I so totally agree with you shaebones. We started at the Middleton MB then switched to the Reading store the day it opened. The canned/jarred goods are wonderfully priced, and for someone who was buying seafood at Twins in Reading square, I find the MB fish department is very good..... lately there's been wild, line caught too! I can only wonder how long it will be before the S&S next door will go out of biz. We still go to Tendercrop or Wilson's for veggies and meats but MB is getting the liion's share of our shopping $$$.

                                2. I was raised on MB! Worked at the Westgate Haverhill location for 10 years thru HS & college. I have lived in the Boston area now for a few years but am moving back to Haverhill in the Fall. One of the things I'm looking forward to is being able to shop at MB again! I miss the prices most of all.....as for the quality & service, I agree that produce is hit or miss (or at least, always has been...). But as a local option to the big box chains the Valley area is lucky to have it, esp w/the cost of groc skyrocketing week to week now it seems. If it takes a little extra to check out or get assistance, well, I'd take lower prices over that at least right now. And I like supporting a local family owned chain. I keep marveling at how even with the major family legal disputes the DeMoulas family has had over the years that they are even still in existence. Who knows how long before they'll sell out! Enjoy while you can!!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: kparke30

                                    The produce at the downtown Haverhill MB is great!

                                  2. I don't believe that the price advantage is as great as it once was. Now that they've upgraded their stores to the larger, more modern style with hot food section, sushi (for all that's worth), and a very good fruits & veg department, I think all their prices are on par with the other locals in the Tewksbury area. Of course, it could be that the Tewksbury stores are the best of the lot, since it's their headquarters.

                                    I thought that the new Lowell Hannaford was still more expensive, but the other day, I happened to price the same item in both - Ivory Liquid dishwash soap - and it was $2.69 in Hannaford and $2.99 in MB. One item, to be sure, but it leaves you thinking...

                                    There are products that others don't carry - but the same goes for them. I switch back and forth between Hannaford and MB, and if I'm out and about, I'll stop by a Stop&Shop, or if I'm up that way, I'll go to the Walmart Superstore in Salem NH. I buy the great majority of my meats at Costco or BJ's anyway, as well as all paper products and most canned goods, so all we're talking about is some meats, (the ones that the wholesalers don't carry - like a 7-bone chuck pot roast) fruits and veg's, and When Pigs Fly bread.

                                    One thing I love, but am angry that it's not consistent is that the MB in the Tewksbury Shawsheen store will carry Euro butter in their chese section. It's hit or miss - I guess the guy orders a case of Lurpak or Kerry or Presidente, when he feels like it. The good news is that he sells it for $2.89 for 1/2 lb ($2.79 for the 7 oz. Presidente). Compare this to either Whole Paycheck, where it's $4.59, or even Butcher Boy, where it's $3.49, and it's indeed a great deal.

                                    Many of the stores carry Krinos Taramasalata and Tarama. They're the only ones in the area that carry Pepitas corn and flour tortillas - although that's gone downhill since they were bought out by MIssion. They also have a good selection of queso frier, queso fresca, queso blanco - and other hispanic items - especially at the Lowell Fletcher St. location. I also love that they carry the old fowls - either whole or cut up. I can't make decent chicken soup out of the Purdue crap.

                                    The thing they don't carry that I go to Hannaford for are the BF Omega 3 extra-large eggs - unfortunately that's a big deal for me as I buy eggs often and end up in Hannaford more often because if it.

                                    The Walmart... I used to have a complete aversion to Walmart because of their business practices - but it's amazing how your principals fly out the window when your paychecks stop coming in and you have to live. Now I'm kind of pissed off at the DeMoulas for having as much control over the Tewksbury selectment as they do - I think it would be good competition to make the Walmart in Tewksbury into a superstore.

                                    We've basically stopped eating fish - it's just too damned expensive. But Walmart has a box of Tilapia for $13.50 for 4 lbs - individual filets in their own plastic bags. That's $3.38 a lb - I can afford fish again! Of course, typical of Walmart, it's Asian, not US, so it's probably not raised sustainably, and for all we know it's full of enough industrial runoff to choke a horse. So we don't eat it that much - it's still nice to eat fish once in a while. It tastes perfectly fine, by the way, not any muddier than the US ones.

                                    The Rotel canned tomato mixes are .89 a can at Walmart, at Hannaford it $1.44 and at MB it's also over a dollar (I don't remember exactly how much).

                                    I haven't done a lot of other comparisons, and there's no doubt that the veg's are just inferior - but it is definitely cheaper. Worth the gas from Tewksbury to Salem? I don't know. But if I'm there anyway, I'll stop by and get a few things.

                                    BTW, all the supermarket bakeries suck so bad... I think they all make one universal white flour dough and use it for everything from white bread to "bagels" to "baguettes" (they obviously have little understanding of either). Thankfully there's both an Einstein's and a Panera Bread in Drum Hill, not too far away - not the greatest stuff in the world, by a long shot, but they make both Hannaford and Market Basket look amateurishly nasty.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: applehome

                                      I received a very nice email response to this post and wanted to share it, as I think this kind of info belongs to all CH'ers and people should be encouraged to post here, rather than email:

                                      Hi - I live in Billerica and it sounds like you shop in the same general area that I do. In case you don't know, 7 Acres Poultry Farm, on Concord Rd in North Reading, has very good eggs. Sooo much more flavor than storebought, with deep golden yolks. The chickens there at least get to peck in the dirt and see a little daylight in their brief lives. They are open till 6, closed Monday. You pay on the honor system - I usually get the jumbos, which are $2.25. Actually I have not been in several months so I wouldn't be surprised if the price has gone up. The cartons are out on the counter - freshly-laid eggs have a natural coating which prevents bacteria from growing, so they are safe despite lack of refrigeration (this coating is removed during commercial processing). Also, these eggs have stronger shells than storebought - you really need a good thump to crack them.

                                      7 Acres is a mile from Rt 93 - Concord Rd exit toward No Reading. Also off 93, on Rte 129 in Wilmington, Lucci's supermarket, though small, has excellent meat at MB prices. They grind their own hamburg and have fresh beef liver, for example. They are known for the ridiculously-huge amounts of meat they put on their subs. I started going there some years ago when I was on crutches, since it's small, and wish I'd discovered it sooner.

                                      Also, on the same note, delicious fresh eggs (and local farm goods) are available at Chip-in Farms in Bedford on Hartwell Ave, just in from Concord Rd (Rt 62).

                                      However - neither of these sources are necessarily Omega-3 enriched.


                                    2. I avoid S&S and Hannafords, except for some sale items, total robbery! All I get at MB are apples and some vegies, and lately the cucumbers have been frozen, aweful. Everything else at MB is sub-par.

                                      1. I shop almost exclusively at MB. I buy all of my non-perishable items there...prices can't be beat. I won't buy fish there though, I got to Hannaford for that. As far as produce, I usually don't have a problem.

                                        We have 4 MBs in Nashua. There are 2 on 101A...literally 1/4 mile apart. The one further west, in the Applebee's plaza, is far superior to the one just east of it.

                                        1. Someone told me that there is a market basket near arlington / medford. Can't seem to find any info online. I know about the one in Somerville and Burlington, but there must be one in between

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: mankie1970


                                            none close to Boston, they are NORTHERN Mass and NH

                                            Fantastic savings........

                                            I make a monthly trip from Fairfield County, CT to do a amajor shopping in the store at Exit 38 I-93 in Tewksbury. We save approx 45% over Stop and Shop at home on the same name brands.

                                            During the academic year, I'm in norhern Mass every week and do our shopping there as well. Great servoice, employees and prices. VERY clean

                                              1. re: whs

                                                no, but there is one in londonderry....right off exit 4

                                                1. re: purchaser1

                                                  I shop that one as I'm leaving Manch to head home, it's an easy off the highway spot.

                                            1. re: mankie1970

                                              I'm pretty sure the closest one to Arlington/Medford is Union Sq., Somerville. The Burlington one on Middlesex Turnpike is pretty easy to get to from Arlington using back roads, but the Somerville one has better variety overall. Burlington will be pretty attractive when HMart opens, though.

                                            2. Shaw's has bialys - where else can you find them in this area? That said, every supermarkets has things you can't get elsewhere, so I like to shop occasionally at all of them. Still wish they had a MB in Manchester.