HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
What are you cooking today? Get great advice
TELL US

market basket strength/weakness?

m
makiman Jul 6, 2009 11:11 AM

Hi.

I've been told to be careful because Market Basket carries items closer to their expirations, and thus the lower prices. I haven't noticed; I don't check sell by dates as a rule, and make the same on-the-spot checks with produce I'd do anywhere.

So do I need to be careful, and if so, of what?

Thanks

Makiman

  1. p
    phreddo Mar 20, 2014 11:13 AM

    The Somerville Market Basket is so popular that it screws up traffic for miles every weekend. I've had no complaints about the stuff I've bought there, but if you go at the wrong time, it is just a hellish, crowded experience.

    1. c
      catsmeow Mar 18, 2014 03:39 PM

      Saturday, I bought Chavrie goat cheese at Market Basket for $2.99. At Whole Foods it's $5.99 and the last time I looked at Stop and Shop(a few months ago) it was $5.39!

      2 Replies
      1. re: catsmeow
        opinionatedchef Mar 18, 2014 05:01 PM

        meow, i happen to be quite addicted to Chavrie. and the MB price has indeed been the lowest for a number of years. lucky us!

        1. re: opinionatedchef
          c
          catsmeow Mar 18, 2014 05:09 PM

          It's even dropped from last year at MB. I remember it was around $3.59 and that even made me happy. $2.99 is fantastic!

      2. b
        BBQJesse Mar 12, 2014 03:31 PM

        OK, so since you nearly only have praise for the place so far, I'll tell you what to avoid. First, my 'creds.': I'm in MB about once every 3 weeks or so. Lowell, Broadway store (hilariously mentioned by another writer-- yeah, I hate that location!) ...but also Wood Street, and 110 in Chelmsford, etc.) I don't "deny" MB's existence, and I shop there as well as Hannafords and occasionally Stop & Shop. This is not a 'blast' from someone who hates the place. You'll notice that, as many stores have larger or more-stocked departments around the store (deli, meat, bakery, cheese, fish, etc.) I find this swing to be much more pronounced from MB to MB. Sometimes, they only have frozen fish; sometimes there's no bakery.
        Produce: AVOID the styrofoam wrapped house-packed things. Yes the price is great, but they're hiding the massive bruise on the bottom of 1-2 (tomatoes, peppers) that are in there. If you need one, buy one-- probably from somewhere else.
        For those of us with a palate for it, MB Beef is absolutely horrible. On many offerings (not all any more, thank goodness) it's difficult to find USDA Choice cuts in what you're looking for-- they stick you with Select grade. Look out and caveat emptor. Again, is it cheaper? yes, but that's why. I find their meats and veggies, generally do spoil faster than other chains... Finally, I HATE that they face the shelves with products from other rows nearby. What they're doing is lining up (sometimes more expensive) stuff over the other prices... again, don't just look down at a price when you buy from them-- esp. toward close when the rows look faced & "pretty". You'll have decent odds that the item's over the wrong price.
        On the other hand, here's what's good-- I can find phenomenal, 'fringe-ish' sometimes cultural-ish products every time. No question. I'm an Irish guy from the south shore, but when you're cooking Mexican, you may as well make it as authentic as possible, right? Chorizo, Skirt steak, tripe, All there, every time. Corned beef? Point cut (not just the leaner-but not as tasty flat cut) year round, without fail. Many stores only carry flat for 11 months of the year. They have good selections of more-genuine Asian goods and Thank God they keep the Scali bread stocked as well (I've been in the Merrimack valley for 10 years now, and I simply don't understand why a simple loaf of Scali is so hard to find up here sometimes.) Finally, their herbs: they leave the roots, don't wash off the grit, but they definitely do last longer and have a better selection price & size than your typical over-expensive tiny little plastic pack for $4.00.
        So, like anything there's good and bad. Want to impress your in-laws with an awesome roast? Avoid MB at any & all costs. On the other hand, if your're doing authentic Fajitas, rice & beans for a gathering and the meat will marinate for 24 hours... now we're talking.

        11 Replies
        1. re: BBQJesse
          opinionatedchef Mar 14, 2014 01:59 AM

          love your response, jesse. You're a hot ticket!

          1. re: BBQJesse
            h
            hargau Mar 14, 2014 02:28 AM

            I go to MB every week. My experience has been that any produce available in the pre-packed styrofoam packs, is also available as singles where you can pick each one. So very easy to avoid those.

            I have found the meat to be fine. On par if not better than what i get at Shaws, Stop&Shop or other large grocery stores.

            The newer stores such as the one in Westford have a meat counter with higher quality cuts in the case too.

            1. re: hargau
              b
              BBQJesse Mar 14, 2014 09:20 AM

              regarding the styro-packed thing-- you're right, but it still begs the question: should we NEED to avoid them? it should be a lower price because it's a bulk-pack, not because it's 'going bad.' Why would they want to sell their public & consumers rotting/damaged goods? Finally, any other store marks it down in a way that you can tell that something's near its date of expiry (See: meats' special coupons attached to the pack with the date clearly on display, or bakery day-old bread.) What they don't do is hide the defect, wrapped up tight in styrofoam & plastic under the item!

              "Meat." generally... well, yes, maybe 'fine' is the word. Not 'good' or 'super.' Consider that I just spent time lauding their 'fringe' cuts, the store can't foul up a smoked ham, and chicken's, well, chicken.

              On the other hand, the pork, to me, spoils a little faster; their fish department smells like an abandoned, rotting wharf in Boston Harbor circa 1979... and it's really not supposed to smell at all, as we're all aware.

              In terms of Beef, we may need to agree to disagree, but first I'll check out Westford in the name of my own due diligence. A new store, in a different community should be better than (my experience of ) the MB norm, maybe.
              Slainte.

              1. re: BBQJesse
                greygarious Mar 14, 2014 10:42 AM

                Devil's advocate here, because I rarely buy pre-packed produce and have never thought to compare among stores that sell the plastic-covered styrofoam trays could it be that the bruising occurs AFTER the packing, probably because of lack of air circulation, rather than being a purposeful attempt to disguise sub-par pieces?
                Since they do have a clearance rack for the bruised/overripe stuff, I am skeptical that they would pack the "irregulars" in two separate ways, which seems like it would involve a lot of labor costs.

                1. re: greygarious
                  h
                  hargau Mar 14, 2014 12:14 PM

                  I was thinking the same thing. They may go bad because they are packaged like that even.. I never get them as i dont need that many and can pick my own..

                  I STRONGLY disagree on the fish, i find the MB fish counter in westford anyway to be one of the best around. Even better than places like Roche Brothers or Whole Foods who charge many times the price..

                  I have been in at least one of the Lowell stores and its very old and run down so maybe its the store...

                  1. re: hargau
                    StriperGuy Mar 14, 2014 12:19 PM

                    Fish in Burlington is excellent as well.

                    1. re: hargau
                      c
                      Cachetes Mar 18, 2014 10:06 AM

                      Thanks for the great post BBQ Jesse. The one thing that has stumped me about the pre-packaged produce is why it *isn't* bruised more often than what I can buy off the shelf and, if not, why do they do it? So, what you can tell from my response is that we haven't found it to be in worse condition. My only thought as to why they pre-package is because the stores are so darn crowded, it gets shoppers through the overcrowded produce section faster.

              2. re: BBQJesse
                b
                Bellachefa Mar 14, 2014 04:36 AM

                Where do little plastic packs of herbs cost $4?

                1. re: Bellachefa
                  a
                  ac106 Mar 14, 2014 07:48 AM

                  Twin city Shaws. Are you on the look out?

                  1. re: ac106
                    b
                    Bellachefa Mar 14, 2014 07:55 AM

                    no, just most of the plastic packs of herbs in MA are around $2 even at Whole Foods

                    Frigid weather and expensive herbs! I feel your blite

                  2. re: Bellachefa
                    b
                    BBQJesse Mar 14, 2014 09:13 AM

                    anywhere from $2.29 to $3.79, depending on herb, season, whether it's organic, etc.

                2. MeffaBabe Mar 11, 2014 09:39 AM

                  I have shopped at MB for many years and everything is always fresh and inexpensive. Part of that is because unlike most other grocery stores MB does not have an overnight stocking shift. That saves tons of money on over time/additional shifts and those savings are passed along to their customers.

                  The family that owns this company has for years been in court battling one another. The most recent battle is to oust the current CEO because the stock holders want a different family member that will give them a greater return on their investments, unlike the current CEO who refuses to pass the money onto investors but rather invests it back into the company keeping prices low. If you look at the name tags of the employees you will see many very loyal employees who have been there for years. Very few retail employers can say that.

                  1. o
                    okachuck Mar 11, 2014 07:22 AM

                    I have shopped MB many years in Salem NH, If the deli is crowded, grab a number and on my way, get 3 or 4 items and back to the deli , no problem. yes, they are always stocking shelves, but they are right there if you need help.
                    I like getting fresh produce right out of the box while they are stocking. Prices are great. works for me.

                    1. ipsofatso Nov 12, 2011 01:45 PM

                      I like the new MB in Gloucester Crossing....only weakness really is they don't have prepared foods but they do have a deli sandwich counter which makes a huge sub for $6....

                      1. r
                        Reverend30 Sep 5, 2011 07:20 AM

                        I'll probably never kill anyone, but if I do, it will be in the parking lot at Market Basket in Ashland. Like Lord of the Flies out there.

                        That being said, the produce is generally exceptional, the seafood strong, and the prices great. The staff is friendly, and the bakery is the the best in the area - for bread, cakes and miscellaneous goodies.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Reverend30
                          hotoynoodle Sep 5, 2011 09:03 AM

                          the mb parking lot at fletcher & broadway in lowell (the ghetto basket, we call it) is often anarchy. poorly designed entrance making it a feat of hans solo derring-do just to get in and frequently the lot is overflowing. i am usually the only woman not shopping in my pyjamas.

                          that being aid, it's walking distance, so we try to avoid driving.

                          it's had lobsters, raw and steamed, for $4.99 most of the summer. it recently added a much better selection of cheeses in a brand-new display case. cold cut pricing is very cheap as is that of produce.

                          the mb on 110, over the chelmsford line, is a bit nicer, bigger, less congested, same reasonable pricing. although yesterday, labor day sunday, it took 30 minutes to get some sliced cheese and turkey from the poor overwhelmed teenaged boys trying to slice.

                          i'm always amazed at what $50 buys here, vs. the shaw's i was stuck with in eastie.

                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                            threedogs Sep 5, 2011 12:37 PM

                            MB is great, but I save more money at Price Rite (when I can actually get to one). Granted, there's less to choose from, but I make most things from scratch (avoiding packaged stuff), so it suits my needs. I buy fruits & veggies elsewhere, now that I live in Watertown (great local selections, btwn Russo's, Arax & farms) & it *is* annoying that they don't carry low-fat, non-fat stuff - but that's OK for me.

                            An idea shopping day (my car is working now - yipee for me!) would be to shoot over to a Price Rite & then stop at MB for my low/nonfat dairy items. That's what I'm aiming for... problem is, I *could* end up locked in the MB parking lot (which ever I end up shopping at) like the old "Charlie at the MTA," lol. The newer one at Chelsea seems to be the best, but it's too big for my tastes.

                            1. re: threedogs
                              xo_kizzy_xo Sep 5, 2011 12:56 PM

                              :nodding: I haven't been to Chelsea in months. As much as I love their expanded sections and Prepared Foods, it's just too, too big. Shopping there makes me feel like it's a chore (which it's not -- I actually love grocery shopping). Raynham may be a further drive, but at least 1) the store itself is "just right" size-wise, and 2) I don't have to fight my way into or out of the parking lot.

                              1. re: xo_kizzy_xo
                                threedogs Sep 5, 2011 01:00 PM

                                Yeah, Raynham is too far for me, and Somerville - well, we all know what Somerville is like, lol. If I'm up in Salem (my son's moving up there & I have friends in the area), then I'd prefer to shot at that one.

                        2. dmullin699 Sep 4, 2011 02:56 PM

                          Market Basket will be opening at the Westgate Mall in the near future. The company is slowly making it's way to the South Shore.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: dmullin699
                            xo_kizzy_xo Sep 5, 2011 12:24 PM

                            Oh, so that's where it's going to be! I'd heard they were taking over one of the now-closed Shaw's in the area -- for some reason I was thinking of the one across from Christo's on 27...

                            1. re: dmullin699
                              okra Mar 20, 2014 10:37 AM

                              The Market Basket in Attleboro on the RI line right off 95 is.... ummmmm.... ready to go, has been for months. Just needs some food on the shelves for those of us waiting for it to open.

                              1. re: okra
                                Karl S Mar 20, 2014 05:21 PM

                                So has Revere, but the internecine battle of the Demoulas family appears to have put opening new stores on hold for the time being.

                                1. re: Karl S
                                  okra Mar 31, 2014 12:10 PM

                                  Here is a full blown article on the Attleboro Market Basket fiasco;

                                  http://tinyurl.com/kw5kb4w

                            2. l
                              LStaff Sep 3, 2011 09:39 PM

                              Every supermarket has its positive and negative points. We have been shopping at the new MB in Burlington when we need to buy a lot of groceries due to price. Our $140 tab at MB tonight probably would have been $160 at Hannaford's in Waltham and probably close to $200 (including discount card) at Shaws in Waltham where we live. And they seem to have plenty of people working checkout lines, unlike Shaws.

                              One weakness of Burlington location is the layout of the store - especially the produce which doesn't seem to have any thought about how its organized - I always seem to be hunting from row to row and back again looking for the items I need - shorter shelves like Shaws would help too. If it was organized better they probably wouldn't have to put the same items in two different places. Frozen section is weirdly at the traditionally first place you shop - near the produce so things tend to melt by the time we get home. And canned goods are where the frozen section should be, so the cans end up squashing other items in a full cart like the bread that is near the produce. And choices of brands is hit or miss - for example about a half a row of different brands of pasta to choose from, but don't carry Hellman's light mayo or have much choice in sizes. The other markets we shop at have much better international sections too.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: LStaff
                                greygarious Sep 3, 2011 10:09 PM

                                MB does carry Hellman's light - they must have been out. The Burlington MB has a far larger international section than the average sized MBs. I have not been to Reading or Chelsea so can't comment on those, but there are 5 MBs within a 5-mile radius of me and I shop at all of them.

                                1. re: greygarious
                                  okra Sep 4, 2011 05:32 AM

                                  I left the Raynham MB as a pleased customer yesterday. Despite there being 6**23 cars in the parking lot, and that many customers inside, I was able to check out quickly, and when I got to the car, found that all my perishables were bundled together, making it easier for me to simply drop them into my cooler, a big plus. My experience at Shaws is that there always seem to be half the needed amount of registers open.

                                  -----
                                  Market Basket
                                  240 Broadway, Rt 138, Raynham, MA 02767

                                2. re: LStaff
                                  BlueMagic Sep 5, 2011 02:06 PM

                                  I love Market Basket but I agree that not all MB stores are created equally. I will go to the one in North Andover or the one in Tewksbury..but both of the Methuen MB's are pretty bad...the new Salem NH is just too big and too busy for my taste. I have only been in the Middleton MB a couple of times and don't like it at all.
                                  One of the things I like is that whenever possible, MB gets it's produce from local farms. This is a big plus in my book. I can't comment on the meat since I never buy meat from a grocery store. I can say that I have never had anything past the expiration date.
                                  Also..dented cans are damaged so buyer beware.
                                  Another thing in MB favor is that they will stock items on request. I used to buy one particular product from Whole foods because they were the only one's around who sold it. One day, as I was in the Peanut Butter section of MB..there happened to be a person stocking..and I asked about this particular product..and had they heard of it. The young guy got the grocery manager who looked up the product and not only did they order it..but he actually called me when it came in..so now I get this product for a lot less than I paid at Whole foods...that is great service in my book.

                                3. rubysdad Dec 10, 2010 03:23 PM

                                  There is so much variation from store to store within the MB chain that it's impossible to generalize about this company. The MB in Tilton, NH is a good supermarket from stem to stern. Their seafood manager (Marty C.) will help with any special order, hard shell lobsters for example, and he will get it right. The floors are clean, the lighting is good, the displays attractive. The Westford, MA store on rt 110 is chaotic, smells rather unpleasant, and staffed by folks who can best be described as indifferent. In any event, both do have some high quality seafood mixed in with other which is not quite so, and opportunities to buy staples in bulk at favorable prices.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: rubysdad
                                    c
                                    chompie Sep 3, 2011 09:03 PM

                                    Reconstituting this thread.. I used to not like MB too, but now am a fan.The Reading store does seem so much better than the Woburn or danvers..I actually love the bakery. Usually dont really like supermarket bakery products but so far finding MBs much better than the average and WAY cheap.. $1.99 for 6 blueberry muffins that are decent and kind of old fashioned. Better than Dunkins for sure.. They have recently changed the pies, and not having had the old ones, I can say that the blueberry pie at just under $5 was really good..wild maine berries, not gloopy, not too sweet, decent crust.Like the cookies too, the carrot cakes ones (like a hermit) and choc chip- esp reheated..for 2.99 a tub. And they are the ONLY store that carries my addiction: Old Cape Cod Rounds (same company that makes the Westminster oyster crackers)You will never eat Saltines again.. Produce: the corn came from a farm in Andover and was sweeter than the farm stand store down the street. The sliced watermelon was by far the crispest, sweetest I had in years, but then alas the second time was mushy and going bad.. I never like supermarket seafood, but have desparately wanted to try the fish based on reviews here and price.. however when I go by that area it smells so fishy (actually near the sushi) so I am still hesitant. Maybe someone can talk me into it?? Maybe they just use a strong nori that permeates the place.. The store is very friendly. Its basically a giant bunch of high school kids...
                                    One other thing i wonder about: I had a can of really really gone bad BumbleBee tuna there, and we wondered if it could be because they have the tuna in bins instead of shelves, that maybe tossing it in the bins causes unseen damage to the cans.. Any thoughts?

                                    1. re: chompie
                                      greygarious Sep 3, 2011 10:16 PM

                                      MB has upped their bakery game dramatically in recent months. They now carry Jessica's Biscuit breads and a few of their store-made things I tried recently (thinking they'd be bad) were WAY better than the stuff they used to churn out. I had some ciabatta rolls that were nice, and the thin chocolate chip cookies in the cellophane bag with silvery twist tie are very crisp and tasty.

                                      Also, they have begun carrying the low sodium version of Better than Bouillon chicken and beef. Unfortunately BTB does not make LS versions of all its bases. The manager was in the aisle at the time so I told him I was very glad they stocked it - he said he was too, since so many people complained that it wasn't available. They often have BTB on sale for over $2 less than other stores charge.

                                      1. re: greygarious
                                        greygarious Nov 12, 2011 12:48 PM

                                        I should have known it was too good to last. This week I bought the chocolate chip cookies for the second time. The rest of the cookie is the same, but they changed to an inferior chip with too much artificial vanilla overtones and not enough cocoa.

                                        1. re: greygarious
                                          greygarious Mar 12, 2014 04:29 PM

                                          In the Burlington store last week, I noticed toffee walnut cookies in the same cellophane bags as the choc chip and decided to give them a try - REALLY TRIFFIC!. They've now got several varieties of this style so now I intend to try the others. I have not bought the choc chip since 2011.

                                          Burl has really good produce with a better selection of ethnic than the other MBs in my orbit.

                                          1. re: greygarious
                                            greygarious Mar 29, 2014 06:59 PM

                                            I was back at the Burlington store the other day, and wished I had more fridge space for the superior-looking produce. The crispy cellophane-bagged Oatmeal Walnut cookies (12 for $3.99, though this line of cookies is often on sale for a dollar less) are every bit as good as the toffee walnut. Haven't tried the lemon yet. There are also ginger cookies and of course chocolate chip.

                                      2. re: chompie
                                        s
                                        shaebones Sep 4, 2011 01:24 AM

                                        I buy the fish at MB in Reading all the time. The Cod is great. Also get the farmed salmon when wild is not available. Have never been disappointed in the fish. Go for it!

                                        1. re: shaebones
                                          c
                                          chompie Sep 4, 2011 10:35 AM

                                          shaebones, since you like the fish, i will have to try it! Since you are a long time Zaleks fan, i know that you know fresh fish! The salmon at Zaleks has no fishy salmony taste at all, so if MB is even close, i will be glad..

                                          -----
                                          Zaleks
                                          21 Princess St, Wakefield, MA 01880

                                    2. d
                                      davefoxdad Dec 7, 2010 08:30 AM

                                      Sounds like a Stop & Shop/Shaws sour grapes story. In our experience not only is Market Basket on average about 45 percent cheaper they have such turnover that everything is fresh. We save hundreds each month and do about 90 percent of our shopping there. Just be careful not to go peak hours to avoid the crowds. We have been waiting patiently for Wegmans to arrive (if you haven't experienced this yet you are in for a treat) but even when they do come we will split our business between them and MB for price reasons. We are only here for about 3 years now and regret not hearing about MB sooner. We just got so TIRED of spending a fortune at the other local chains and getting surly treatment and inflated prices. Now S&S have started with weekly specials that I keep track of and occasionally buy as they are so close to us but that is all. The meat and deli at MB are really excellent but for seafood and fish I strongly recommend making the occasional trip into Quincy to experience the KANMAN (Hangkok Ave) fish department. We see a lot of restaurant owners buying there. It is very reasonable and very very fresh. Try the meat department out too - -excellent!

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: davefoxdad
                                        Lgalen Dec 8, 2010 07:18 PM

                                        Oh Happy Day! The new Market Basket in Burlington is opening on Sunday. MB is great, but the Burlington store was one of their oldest and smallest, and the narrow aisles made for frustrating shopping, even at times when it wasn't all that busy. The new store (in the same plaza as the old one, near Old Navy, and H-Mart) will have a bakery, cafe and much more prepared foods. Can't wait!

                                        -----
                                        H-Mart
                                        3 Old Concord Rd, Burlington, MA 01803

                                        1. re: Lgalen
                                          PinchOfSalt Dec 9, 2010 03:16 AM

                                          I've seen two dates mentioned, the 12th (Sunday) and the 15th (Wednesday). The latter was in a news article in the local Burlington newspaper. The former was on a facebook fan page. Take your pick.

                                          1. re: PinchOfSalt
                                            greygarious Dec 9, 2010 07:34 AM

                                            I just called the Burlington MB to confirm the opening date: it's Sunday 12/12.

                                            1. re: greygarious
                                              PinchOfSalt Dec 9, 2010 09:25 AM

                                              Thanks! Clearly it is time for my last trip to the old one, just for memory's sake... and to decide if I want to brave opening day crowds on Sunday, just for the fun of it.

                                              1. re: greygarious
                                                t
                                                taterjane Dec 9, 2010 02:03 PM

                                                Yup, I was there today and overheard 2 employees telling other customers that Sunday was the big day. Old location closes early Saturday evening, presumably to get the goods moved over. Surprisingly, people were still stocking the shelves of the current location, although stuff like the rotisserie chickens were gone.

                                                1. re: taterjane
                                                  PinchOfSalt Dec 9, 2010 02:37 PM

                                                  I was just there. What can I say, the cat wanted her Fancy Feast. Anyway, the old store has signs in the windows thanking customers for 30 years of patronage and saying it will close at 7 on Saturday evening. There are no signs saying when the new store will open. I guess they want to give themselves some leeway in case of last minute glitches. However, having peered through the windows, I can report that the new store is completely stocked. Even the outside sign is lit. It looks like it could open its doors and be ready for customers to enter. There are even racks with handouts for customers (presumably an aisle guide of some kind) stationed by the doors. The only thing that does not seem ready is a new Bank of America ATM enclosed area next to the right-hand entrance.

                                        2. t
                                          treb Dec 8, 2009 11:06 AM

                                          Still no web-site. When are they going to understand how important it is?

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: treb
                                            Karl S Dec 8, 2009 11:35 AM

                                            I don't think it's an oversight. I imagine they've specifically rejected it. They have a different understanding. Maybe it will change in 10 years. But I would not bet on it.

                                            1. re: Karl S
                                              greygarious Dec 8, 2009 01:06 PM

                                              Obviously, they are doing quite well without the overhead of a website. They don't even need the advertising expense of sending out a weekly flyer - I get one only because I requested one, and it took several months plus a repeat phone call before I started getting them. Then again, where I live there are 5 MBs within a 4-mile radius and everything else is at least twice as far, so this area is a captive audience.
                                              I suspect they know they've "built it" by having reliably lower average prices than the competition,

                                              1. re: greygarious
                                                t
                                                three of us Dec 9, 2009 07:26 AM

                                                You've got to live in Billerica! Drives me nuts that what Treble Cove has on sale, the MB in the Bob's Plaza does not. I have a love/hate relationship with MB. Sometimes the deals are great, like Plainville ground turkey for $2.99/lb. They also mark down their cruelty-free chicken brand 33%, two days before expiration. There is so much else that is meh or hit-and-miss.

                                            2. re: treb
                                              d
                                              djd Dec 10, 2009 10:42 PM

                                              Ah, but there's always the fan site: http://www.freewebs.com/marketbasket/...

                                              1. re: djd
                                                LindaWhit Dec 11, 2009 05:11 AM

                                                Have you gone through that site? There's not much there but a few pictures.

                                            3. d
                                              djd Jul 17, 2009 09:59 PM

                                              I checked a bunch of supermarket health inspection reports a couple of years ago (for work), and the Somerville Market Basket passed with flying colors. If you want to bother, you can get these reports for any market or restaurant—it's public information.

                                              1. t
                                                three of us Jul 7, 2009 11:37 AM

                                                I shop at the Billerica Treble Cove Plaza MB because it is convenient to do so. However, their produce can be dismal. Wilted, rotting greens. Rotting broccoli. Mushy cukes. Bleah.

                                                The lamb is very good and quite well-priced. They also carry a brand of chicken that is drug-free and veg-fed which is far cheaper than WF. Turkey products are Plainville and cheaper than WF, too. Another plus is the day-old baked goods on Monday and Friday can be a great deal, especially for the kids' school lunches.

                                                Like has been mentioned, it depends on which MB you shop at. Nashua is cleaner and has better deli options but their prices can be higher than B'rica. The produce department looks like art, it's so beautifully arranged.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: three of us
                                                  Karl S Jul 7, 2009 12:30 PM

                                                  I will attest that MB locations vary much more than is typical for chains - I will say the Reading location is excellent and the new Chelsea location appears headed towards that level of excellence. I am not a fan of the Burlington MB, and the Woburn MB is in between. I've only been at the Danvers MB a couple of times so I don't have a read on how it fits into the scale here.

                                                  Then again, it is a smaller regional chain, not big, so it's not made the investment in uniformity that the larger chains make.

                                                  1. re: three of us
                                                    t
                                                    three of us Jul 7, 2009 01:06 PM

                                                    An example of cheaper prices at MB is Fage 2% Greek youghurt, the large size. It's $3.99 at MB, $4.79 at WF, and $6.29 at Deb's Natural Gourmet in W. Concord. However, MB/B'rica won't always have it so you need to stock up when it's on the shelf.

                                                    1. re: three of us
                                                      greygarious Jul 7, 2009 02:40 PM

                                                      I don't like Treble Cove, either. Wilmington and Tewksbury are closer to me, but if there's a sold-out item it can usually be found in the Billerica Mall MB, which is roomy but for some reason seems to get less traffic.

                                                      I avoid the instore bakery. Perhaps they have some items that are good, but I've never found any. By and large, breads and cakes are airy and dry, with frostings that go overboard on sugar and are hard and dry. Cardboard fruit pie crusts; goopy, overly thickened fillings.

                                                      1. re: greygarious
                                                        t
                                                        three of us Jul 7, 2009 08:33 PM

                                                        Good buys at MB's day old bakery shelf: Gourmet choc.chip cookies, m&m cookies, pound cake, Boston brand coffee cakes. Re. anything else: what you said.

                                                        1. re: three of us
                                                          l
                                                          LynDel Jul 8, 2009 08:31 PM

                                                          We always shop the Somerville one. But we make it a point to get up early to get there at 7 a.m. when they open, to avoid the crowds. We've never noticed a problem with products or expiration dates.

                                                    2. c
                                                      contessa1 Jul 7, 2009 04:58 AM

                                                      I used to shop @ Shaw's & Stop & Shop. A new M.B. opened in our area (Danvers) and I thought I'd give it a try and am very happy I did. The prices are considerably less that both those markets. I like the seafood, too. Good prices and quality products.
                                                      The only negative is that they're always stacking the shelves as we shop. Sometimes it's difficult to maneuver the aisles due to this inconvenience. I've heard this complaint from other shoppers, too.

                                                      Contessa

                                                      9 Replies
                                                      1. re: contessa1
                                                        Karl S Jul 7, 2009 05:36 AM

                                                        And that problem is part of the reason you can save more money there. So try to be grateful for it.

                                                        1. re: Karl S
                                                          l
                                                          lovesfood08 Jul 7, 2009 06:20 AM

                                                          I shop at the MB in Salem, MA and have had a problem with meat going bad. I would suggest not buying anything you are not going to eat or freeze immediately.

                                                          I used to buy all of my meat there, (it is so cheap!) but lately have been going to Stop & Shop for meat and produce. (I have found that produce is the least expensive at Stop & Shop). Also, cleaning and othe non-food supplies are very expensive at MB compared to CVS or Target.

                                                          1. re: lovesfood08
                                                            Karl S Jul 7, 2009 06:44 AM

                                                            I have never had any problems with MB meat or meat products (whereas I've had crappy meat from Johnnies, S&S and Shaw's - Shaw's is the worst offender by far). The produce I buy is much cheaper at MB than S&S or Shaw's.

                                                            1. re: Karl S
                                                              Infomaniac Jul 7, 2009 06:49 AM

                                                              The main reason you save money at MB is there is NO union.

                                                              1. re: Infomaniac
                                                                c
                                                                Cachetes Jul 7, 2009 06:59 AM

                                                                There's no union at Whole Paycheck either, as far as I know. What are labor relations and conditions like at MB?

                                                                1. re: Infomaniac
                                                                  threedogs Jul 7, 2009 07:37 AM

                                                                  I don't like the fact they don't have a union - but I don't agree that's the only reason their prices are cheaper. They don't have the heavy advertising fees that the major chains have - like my old time pharmacist in Lynn told me (his prices are cheaper than ANY other place I've been to): guess who's paying for those ads you see all the time?

                                                                  Know one person who works at the Salem MB, and hasn't mentioned any problems - he's worked there for a few years (at least 4 or 5) and has recommended others to try to get work there, so I think he's very happy.

                                                                  I also go to Price Rite (Lynn location for me) and save an huge amt of money there. They don't have a union (I'm sure), and don't advertise either.

                                                                  1. re: threedogs
                                                                    Karl S Jul 7, 2009 07:52 AM

                                                                    And there's the fact that I am far from alone in observing that MB personnel are notably more cheery and helpful than those at, say, S&S and Shaw's. I've heard FAR more complaining about managers and work environment at those latter chains from the workers than at MB. I favor unions, and I know the DeMoulas family is not cute and cuddly, but I go with what I see firsthand.

                                                                    1. re: Karl S
                                                                      LindaWhit Jul 20, 2009 08:16 AM

                                                                      Hence the "I don't care" attitude I got from Stop & Shop upon returning that spoiled turkey I mentioned upthread. Interesting. Agree with you Karl - the service is much nicer, much more helpful at non-unionized shops.

                                                                  2. re: Infomaniac
                                                                    g
                                                                    grunko Jul 7, 2009 01:49 PM

                                                                    Yes Stop and Shop is unionized and some Shaws are too, but the nonunionized chains are very expensive: Whole Foods, Roche Brothers and have any of you noticed that the unorganized Shaws (Star Markets etc) have lower prices?

                                                          2. xo_kizzy_xo Jul 7, 2009 04:16 AM

                                                            I used to shop at MB exclusively back when I lived in the North Andover/Haverhill area. Now that I'm south of Boston, I'm lamenting the fact that they haven't established a foothold here. Oh, I could drive to the Somerville Ave. location (that'd be the closest one), but do I really want to fight all that traffic?

                                                            There's an MB on the Raynham/Taunton line...that's the only store I can think of that's south.

                                                            1. j
                                                              jajjguy Jul 6, 2009 07:33 PM

                                                              The meat isn't prime, not that there's anything wrong with that, but i prefer to stay high end for meat. I haven't tried their seafood, other than frozen shrimp, which are fine. No cheese department to speak of. Their produce is tops (Somerville store). I live between MB and Savenor's, and i pretty much have the bases covered. :)

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: jajjguy
                                                                LindaWhit Jul 20, 2009 08:05 AM

                                                                What supermarkets do you find that carry prime beef on a regular basis? Most carry select or choice - prime is usually reserved for restaurants and a few higher-end stores (Savenors?). Although I have read that a few Costcos now carries some prime cut beef.

                                                                I went once to the Burlington MB about 15-16 years ago and hated it. Beyond insane there; couldn't get through the aisles. Went to the Woburn one before it was renovated; wasn't crazy about it either and at the time, chose to shop at Stop & Shop in Stoneham or Roche Bros in Burlington. I now refuse to buy ANY meat at Stop & Shop, after having had a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving spoil before the big day. And customer service at the Stoneham S&S was abysmal when I returned the turkey the day after T'giving. After giving them my business for many years (starting in NJ and then here in MA), I've drastically dropped off shopping at S&S.

                                                                But with the Reading MB open, I shop there much more frequently. The meats are good (great prices on 7-bone chuck roasts this past weekend); cold cuts are good (but counter is always crowded, no matter what time I've been there); dairy area is well stocked. Prices are usually very competitive when it comes to packaged items, like boxed pastas. Cheese dept. leaves something to be desired; usually use Whole Foods or Roche Bros. for that.

                                                                So my usually shopping choices are Whole Foods in Woburn, Roche Bros. and Trader Joe's in Burlington, and MB in Reading - all depending on what I need at any given time.

                                                              2. c
                                                                chowmel Jul 6, 2009 04:43 PM

                                                                I usually shop at the Burlington MB. I like it because its smaller. It does get crowded but I need to remember not to shop at the busy times. The aisles can be crowded because they stock during hours, but its not a problem for me. Their prices are better than Roche's, S&S or Shaws. But since they don't double coupons, if I'm doing a lot of household or toiletries I'll go elsewhere to save with coupons. Some posters find their produce so-so. I find the produce much more plentiful and fresher than the other markets (except maybe WF). I have bought meat from S&S and Shaws that was off and I had to return it. The chicken at Roche's is very tough to me. Never a problem at MB.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: chowmel
                                                                  s
                                                                  sablemerle Jul 6, 2009 10:02 PM

                                                                  I live in Arlington, and used to shop at the Burlington location, but got really tired of the crowded aisles, and limited registers.

                                                                  I can go another 3 miles down Route 3A (Cambridge Street) and find a MB with a full-service fish counter (I won't buy packaged fish), a full bakery, and more fully stocked shelves.

                                                                  I've timed it, and I actually get out of the Billerica MB faster than the Burlington one.

                                                                2. t
                                                                  treb Jul 6, 2009 03:07 PM

                                                                  Strengths, maybe they're open all the time. Their produce is average, prices aren't outrageous. Weakness, no website.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: treb
                                                                    mjg0725 Jul 6, 2009 06:10 PM

                                                                    I called MB HQ today to try to get their weekly sale flyer mailed to me. They informed me they are going to have a site up soon with their weekly sale flyers.

                                                                    1. re: treb
                                                                      greygarious Dec 7, 2010 06:37 PM

                                                                      For the flyer: http://mydemoulas.com/

                                                                      This site is NOT managed by DeMoulas/Market Basket but it does post the weekly circular.

                                                                      1. re: greygarious
                                                                        mcel215 Dec 8, 2010 01:20 AM

                                                                        Thank you grey.

                                                                        Is there a way to zoom in on the circular pictures? I only know the "zoom" feature on my text feature.

                                                                        1. re: mcel215
                                                                          itaunas Dec 8, 2010 03:00 AM

                                                                          To zoom in on images in general, you can save and then open to zoom in a external program or depending on your browser use an add-on to directly zoom. Here is an example for firefox.

                                                                          https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/fire...

                                                                          1. re: mcel215
                                                                            greygarious Dec 8, 2010 07:59 AM

                                                                            If you click the thumbnail you get a full-size image of that page, which is comparable to the actual circular size. It used to have a smaller image that you could zoom in on, but that was not as clear as what I am seeing now.

                                                                            1. re: greygarious
                                                                              mcel215 Dec 8, 2010 03:44 PM

                                                                              Thanks ~

                                                                      2. trufflehound Jul 6, 2009 02:51 PM

                                                                        To report to the heading:
                                                                        Strenghths-Good meat /fish prices and quality. Selection, particularly ethnic. Dairy prices, produce prices, Selection, Meat/seafood, Bakery(the walnut raisin bread is great.
                                                                        Weaknesses: Long check out lines. Less prepared food than other markets. Produce often smaller than other stores and sometimes pre-wrapped(and cheaper still). Free coffee is lousy.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: trufflehound
                                                                          trufflehound Jul 6, 2009 02:54 PM

                                                                          Oh yeah, another positive. With the 10 or less check outs they have 20 or less check outs. Still long.
                                                                          Nother negative. Their deli counter dosen't have excellent brands, usually good ones. But, MUCH less than other stores. And, long lines.

                                                                          1. re: trufflehound
                                                                            threedogs Jul 7, 2009 07:30 AM

                                                                            I agree that MB doesn't have terrific quality cold cuts in the deli counter - they are marketing towards lower prices, I think. I'm on the North Shore, so if I want deli items, I try to travel to one of Joe Pace's stores (either the Lynnfield or N.E. location).

                                                                            1. re: threedogs
                                                                              Chris VR Jul 8, 2009 01:34 PM

                                                                              I believe Pace's stocks Dietz and Watson cold cuts, which can be found at other supermarkets too.

                                                                              1. re: threedogs
                                                                                a
                                                                                AHan Jul 9, 2009 04:17 AM

                                                                                Got some prociutto de parma at MB last week for $10 a pound LESS than WF, right across the street, was selling it for.

                                                                          2. Karl S Jul 6, 2009 02:23 PM

                                                                            It's a myth. All supermarkets have problems with "expired" items (though you should realize that many expiration dates are ersatz), and MB is not more egregious than any other chain in this regard; if anything, because stuff moves a lot faster at MB, it's probably less of an issue with MB.

                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Karl S
                                                                              j
                                                                              jacv Jul 6, 2009 02:36 PM

                                                                              I have been meaning to ask this question, how is the seafood at MB? I have bought the lobsters ans steamers and have been happy. What about the other fresh seafood there? I shop at Woburn mostly.

                                                                              1. re: jacv
                                                                                Karl S Jul 6, 2009 03:04 PM

                                                                                I haven't purchased fish in the Woburn store, but I've had beautiful fish from the Reading store at very fair prices.

                                                                                1. re: jacv
                                                                                  Karl S Jul 6, 2009 03:06 PM

                                                                                  Actually, I would not count Boar's Head (which usually requires a significant tie-in from a chain in order to be offered there) as excellent (BH's reputation having a long half-life from its former level of quality), so I view the lack of BH as a plus, because it means MB isn't stuck carrying so much of one brand.

                                                                                  1. re: Karl S
                                                                                    threedogs Jul 7, 2009 07:28 AM

                                                                                    Karl - so glad you mentioned this! I am SO annoyed at how Boar's Head has taken over entire deli counters (like at Stop & Shop). I'm also glad that MB has the sense not to tie themselves in w/this monopoly. I don't buy cold cuts very often - when I do, I hope to get great quality. If BH was decent quality, they wouldn't be so afraid of competition, IMHNSO.

                                                                                  2. re: jacv
                                                                                    Ali G Jul 8, 2009 08:57 AM

                                                                                    I've bought lobsters, scrod, and haddock at Woburn location and everything has been fresh and much cheaper than other supermarkets. I've also picked up some fresh Maine shrimp, mussels and scallops at another MB location (Burlington maybe?). The scallops were partially frozen, but tasted great. This location also did not have a fish counter. They were constantly bringing out new fish wrapped in celophane. I'm sure you could ask for a specific weight or cut if you could find someone.

                                                                                    1. re: jacv
                                                                                      mcel215 Jul 8, 2009 04:17 PM

                                                                                      The seafood section in Woburn is the reason that brought me back to that store in the first place. The turn over is high and the fish prices are great. And the fish looks clean and fresh. I have been very pleased about the changes in MB of late.

                                                                                      I used to shop at MB many, many years ago and stopped because the quality of the fresh produce was lacking. Everything was sold in plastic bags and it just turned me away. Call me crazy, but I want to inspect all sides of produce before buying. So happy when I came back to find that (Woburn), the fresh produce is not only out of the plastic, but there is a huge assortment of everything!

                                                                                      I hadn't noticed this before a friend brought it up. She swears that MB pushes their own products so much, it's hard to find other brand readily available.

                                                                                      I shop at Costco, MB, S&S and Caleresso's farm stand. And I have just added Stoneham Farmer's Market to my list.

                                                                                    2. re: Karl S
                                                                                      m
                                                                                      mwk Jul 8, 2009 02:31 PM

                                                                                      I was just shopping at the Whole Foods at Charles River Plaza this afternoon. I had to point out to the clerk 4 quarts of skim milk which were 3 days past the sell-by date.

                                                                                      It can happen in any store.

                                                                                    3. c
                                                                                      cutipie721 Jul 6, 2009 01:00 PM

                                                                                      I have not noticed any expiration date problems myself. I shop at the one located on DW highway in Nashua. Here're some things I've noticed about MB:

                                                                                      1. They don't have fancy deco
                                                                                      2. I have not heard of an MB commercial on the radio
                                                                                      3. They don't give out membership key tags
                                                                                      4. They don't do double/triple coupons
                                                                                      5. They don't have any 3rd party perks - when I was pumping gas the other day, I saw a sign next to the pump that says "shop at Shaw's and save on gas" of some sort.

                                                                                      Conclusion: MB has a smaller overhead.

                                                                                      1. Essex County Jul 6, 2009 12:49 PM

                                                                                        I do about 90% of my shopping at MB and the other 10% at Whole Foods. I've found MB's prices very competitive versus S&S and other local chains. I frequent a number of different MB locations and each has a different feel. For example, the MB in Salem, NH has really interesting cuts of meat to appeal to the heavily Latino clientele. Ditto for produce. The MB in North Andover is a big one. It has really good meats and fish and a very large produce section. The MB in Andover is much smaller and tends to have more select meats than choice. (Go figure.) It has a very small fish counter but a pretty good section of organic produce. Perhaps that is to compete with Whole Foods just up the road. All in all, MB isn't Wegmans or Roche Bros or Whole Foods, but it holds up pretty well as a well stocked grocery with very reasonable prices.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: Essex County
                                                                                          p
                                                                                          pastrytroll Jul 7, 2009 06:41 AM

                                                                                          Completely agree that different MB's have a different feel - and carry different products. The MB in Rowley has Cabot Greek yogurt, the one in Haverhill had it for a couple weeks, then never again. The downtown Haverhill MB has good, varied produce. The MB about a mile away at Bldg. 10 apears to have never heard of vegetables. Crosby's is closest, but except for the excellent Valley View Farm cheese from Topsfield, is not all that different from MB!

                                                                                          The place I've consistently found out of date stuff, and even oranges that puffed blue mold once - is the Newburyport Shaws! Go figure...

                                                                                        2. PinchOfSalt Jul 6, 2009 12:34 PM

                                                                                          I have spent the past several months kicking myself for not having been shopping at Market Basket sooner. Before that my only experience was with the one in Burlington - not one of the better locations, but not too far from my usual rounds. Praise of MB by fellow hounds encouraged me to go farther afield. Since then I have been a regular shopper at Woburn and Reading, and have even dragged another friend there. She's a convert too, now. The thing about MB is that not all locations are created equal; you have to find one that works for you.

                                                                                          If people have any complaint about MB it is usually about how many other people shop there too. Given that, it is hard to believe that MB sells food that is almost expired. On the contrary, not only does the meat and poultry that I buy there keep very well in my fridge, but the expiry dates all seem fine and when I visited the Chelsea MB for the first time the other day, the Cinco de Mayo tortillas and gorditas were so fresh, they were still hot (not just warm). Of course it helps that the factory where they are made is also in Chelsea, but I am just saying.

                                                                                          Market Basket does not have the latest in decor, a fancy website, or target itself at the upscale consumer. But it does have great prices on good quality stuff, including many items found in upscale markets. I don't worry at all about shopping there.

                                                                                          1. h
                                                                                            hargau Jul 6, 2009 11:56 AM

                                                                                            I have noticed that people who spend too much on groceries like to say/think that sort of thing to justify shopping at fanier/pricier stores. Makes them feel better.

                                                                                            I have one friend who wont buy anything thats on sale at any store. He claims that it means its about to expire and go bad..... When i ask how they can possibly know that the 30-40 meat/fish/produce items in the newspapers are going bad in all branches a week in advance.. He has not good answer...

                                                                                            That said, we split our shopping between Roche brothers (closest but most expensive), Shaws, Market Basket.

                                                                                            1. p
                                                                                              Pegmeister Jul 6, 2009 11:20 AM

                                                                                              Whenever I head up to NH, I shop at the Market Basket in Loudon, and I've never had a problem. This weekend, I got lobsters (soft shell) for $4.99 a pound along with some choice tenderloin steaks that were the best I've ever bought. I also would like to know where they get their fresh corn, because even early season it's good. As for canned goods, I find tuna and other items are considerably cheaper and I've never experienced a problems with expiration dates.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Pegmeister
                                                                                                CreativeFoodie42 Jul 7, 2009 05:45 AM

                                                                                                I'd have to agree that their canned goods and boxed items are a lot cheaper than anywhere else. I've bought some great steaks and lobsters at Market Basket and I also like their bakery (but I know not all locations have one).

                                                                                              Show Hidden Posts