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10 best Supermarkets

Consumer Reports has come out with a survey that has designated the 10 best supermarket chains in the USA. Trouble is, half of the chains have fewer than 100 outlets. And naturally reflects the economics of their subscribers/respondents.

Check it out at http://finance.yahoo.com/news/consume...

I will leave finding the raw data for those gifted in the art of mining info. And which favorite of yours was overlooked? Mine, Publix, came in at #3 with over 1000 stores. While no matter how great Fairway Stores are, at only 14 stores in a confined area, are they really a chain?

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  1. Both of my favorites made the list - Wegmans, Trader Joe's. I guess I would consider any store with more than 5 stores or stores in at least two states to be a chain but that's just my own definition.

    1. To my way of thinking, any market that has multiple stores is a Chain. We shop at Trader Joe's, and Market Basket which I always thought was a small regional market. I suppose they are but I was surprised to learn they have 77 stores in just Massachusetts and New Hampshire. They listed at #7. (Lucky number 7)

      Recently Whole Foods Market opened in my town and we love their organic produce and meats, etc. Does anyone know where WF appears on that list?

      1. We don't have a trader joes yet in central florida but Publix made the list.

        I enjoy Publix its not expensive or cheap but the quality is there. Things I love about Publix.

        1. Publis Subs with boarshead meats
        2. Clean stores friendly service
        3. Publix sushi - the rainbow roll and the california roll made for a quick light lunch.
        4. the bakery has great breads
        5. The pizza dough
        6. There Greenwise products that include USDA Approved 100 percent organic products like our local grove Uncle Matts in Claremont.
        7. The carry a varity of craft beer

          1. Of the top 10 listed, 2 of the 10 operate in my area, Trader Joe's and Costco.

            BUT...neither one is a supermarket.
            Costco carries limited brands and selections of food in large quantities. Thousands of fewer items than a typical supermarket. It is a 'wholesale/warehouse' club. No service deli.

            Trader Joe's is a grocery store. Too small to be a supermarket and having no service deli or meat department and almost no non-house brands.

            Market Basket is my favorite on the list. I used to have to be in Massachusetts every week and brought our groceries home from Market Basket. Now, every 8 weeks we drive 90 minutes each way to shop at the closest Market Basket for non-perishables and frozen items. The savings, service and selection is worth the trip.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bagelman01

              I love market basket. Cheap, lots of kosher house brand items, simple layout, friendly staff.

              1. re: bagelman01

                Agreed -- Costco and TJs are not close to what anyone would consider a supermarket. Costco has great stuff, but the selection in certain areas, like canned good and cereals, are very limited. So we keep a BJ's membership and I go there about once a month. We have a newish BJ's in Gainesville VA and it's very nice. There's also a Wegman's nearby!

                You "can" do a regular grocery shopping at TJs, but I go there for odds and ends -- frozen ethnic entrees, dried fruits, etc.

                Wegmans is definitely the best supermarket chain -- the prices are good, the house brand products are very good, and they have extras like the sub shop, the pizza bakery, an outstanding wine selection -- in fact, they just won a local wine price competition, even beating Costco. The only problem i have with Wegmans (other than there being about six of them in Northern Virginia, and none are close enough to be my regular supermarket) is the produce section is a complete madhouse due I think to its unusual layout.

                When I lived in Florida (and my dad as well), Publix was definitely our supermarket of choice.

              2. I have shopped at four of the stores, Trader Joe's, Costco, Sprouts, and Winco. Costco and Trader Joe's are not too far from our house, the Sprouts and Winco are in Arizona. I would like it if Winco would open a store near us.

                2 Replies
                1. re: John E.

                  The Winco you went to must be better than the one I went to. I'll never bother to make the drive there again- the produce was literally rotting and the meat department smelled really badly.

                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                    The store I went to was in Mesa, Arizona. I remember the produce department was not all that impressive, but the meat department was good. The prices were much lower than the other supermarkets.

                2. Trader Joe's was perhaps three or four stores when I was introduced to them on my first visit to SoCal in 1981. We were living in Nashville then. Now we're here in Pasadena, where TJ's began, and there's one in Nashville! Yes, it's now a chain.

                  A "supermarket" is by definition a store that sells all categories of fresh and packaged foods and some household items under one roof. Service delis are nice, but not a necessary item, nor is an in-store bakery. I do in fact do nearly all of my everyday shopping at a Trader Joe's – I have five within a seven-mile radius – with supplemental shopping at Ralphs, our regional Kroger affiliate, mostly for cleaning items and cat food/litter. Whole Foods gets an occasional visit too, mostly in tomato season.

                  1. As much as I love Sprouts (and I do,) its really a specialty grocer, not a supermarket. Its a farmers market/natural foods store.

                    1. I am always irked when Sam's or Costco is on these lists... I've even seen WalMart on a few.
                      To me, those aren't grocery stores OR supermarkets.
                      However, there is a substantial minority who only shop for their food at big-box/ club stores now.
                      My complaint is that I feel we are left with only the ends of the grocery spectrum -- generic bland bulk stuff or speciality pricey things. No middle ground [and the club stores sell Both categories].

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Kris in Beijing

                        if it's any consolation, wal mart was ranked at or near the bottom of this list.

                      2. Yes, and I believe Fairway went public recently. They simultaneously slipped badly in terms of pricing and quality of service and the overall shopping experience. Don't get me started about their wide variety of cheeses, ruined by cutting unripe wheels, wrapping the pieces in plastic and selling them in a case long after they've rotted. It's where old cheese goes to die; even the folks working there admit to it.

                        They have a coffee roaster, but so much of the coffee sits out long enough that you can scoop a pile of it for one cup and it still wont taste like coffee.

                        I used to be there weekly at least, often more often. Now maybe once a month.

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: mcf

                          Where do you go then? Supermarkets in NYC are generally depressing places to be, and for a local chain, Fairway stands out as...less depressing.

                          1. re: BuildingMyBento

                            I'm on Lawn Guyland. I go to a ridiculous number of places and use online sources to get the stuff I want. From Fairway in Plainview (and rarely, Westbury, where I can never figure out the layout), Whole Foods, Wild by Nature, ShopRite... all but one involving significant mileage.

                            I used to frequent Fairway primarily, but it's not what it used to be, service, enivironment, food quality, etc.. and prices all worse than they were.

                            1. re: mcf

                              Fairway has definitely slipped. I used to do the majority of my shopping there, but the prices have skyrocketed

                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                Did you notice it right around the time of IPO? I was there today, notice that variety is diminished in some areas, too. Not olive oils for vinegars, though! And I can get pastured eggs there for the best price I've found in a store around me, if they have them at all.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  When was the IPO?
                                  I noticed it going downhill before the summer.
                                  They drastically reduced their kosher offerings. No separate kosher fish counter, kosher meat was all prepacked stuff. Kosher groceries were reduced to one little section of matzah meal & gefilte fish.
                                  The bakery also was always out of fresh breads. I noticed the baguette recipe changed, and it no longer has a crisp crust. They used to have a fantastic fresh garlic bread...not anymore.
                                  I also noticed much higher prices on dairy. Yogurt, cream cheese, cottage cheese...all went up.
                                  Freezer section has more premade meals and a smaller selection of vegetables.

                                  But what really grossed me out and turned me off:
                                  My husband bought a coffeemate- type refrigerated creamer to keep in his office. This was thanksgiving time (I think). He opened it the next day, and it was spoiled. The Sell By date happened to be pretty close. I honestly never buy those things, so I had no idea what the date should be. Happened to be in Shoprite when he called to tell me it was spoiled--- they had the same product with April/May dates!

                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                    The IPO was exactly a year ago. And I've been noticing outdated stuff and close to it for a long time, too.

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      Not sure exactly when the Brooklyn store reopened after Sandy. I remember going for the first time after the re opening and being shocked at the high produce prices. (And a really rude bakery employee)

                                      1. re: cheesecake17

                                        Bummer, right? There used to be cheerful folks walking the aisles out here, asking if you needed help finding something, taking you to it. No one working there makes eye contact or shows any interest in helping if you ask.

                                        1. re: mcf

                                          Definitely a bummer.
                                          We used to spend Sundays in Red Hook, always ending at fairway. Haven't been in months...

                              2. re: mcf

                                Always did like stocking up at the ShopRite Can-Can Sale when I lived in northern NJ. :-)

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Were those owned by the Greenfield family, too? The local ones are, a handful of them.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    Don't know. I moved from northern NJ to central PA (farm country) in 1984. :-)

                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                    I do the bulk of my grocery shopping at shoprite.

                                    They recently changed the dairy layout of the store near me and it bugs me to no end

                            2. I shop (moderately) at Wegmans, TJs and Whole Foods.

                              Frequently at Market Basket and Hannafords. (Don't know if they made the list).

                              1. Good to see Giant and Safeway--of which there are dozens in and around DC--make the Worst List. And good to see Wegmans, TJs, and Whole Foods giving them some competition. There's a new, well-stocked Safeway near my that I refuse to shop at because they have no self checkout and never more than two checkout aisles open.

                                12 Replies
                                1. re: monkeyrotica

                                  Omg, yes! The service at both of these store just sucks. If you can find a nicely renovated Giant I'd pick that over a Safeway any day for quality of product, but still. And really, why doesn't Safeway have any self check-outs?

                                  1. re: SaraAshley

                                    Market Basket doesn't either, but they usually have many many checkout aisles open. If there are 12 checkouts and 4 Express, all 4 Express and at least 8 checkouts will be open on a Saturday - or Sunday before football starts. :-)

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      That's great. Not so is the case with my local Safeway, lol. It's usually only one express lane, 2 at the most.

                                    2. re: SaraAshley

                                      Some do, some don't. It's a crapshoot. It's why I dropped my Costco membership. After dealing with the parking nightmare, by the time I got what I needed, they were down to two open aisles with dozens waiting in line.

                                      The Harris Teeter self checkout moves pretty fast, unless some idiot is trying to pay using pennies and raggedy-ass dollar bills.

                                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                                        Lol, yes I never have a problem with Harris Teeter's self check out, but then again, I never have a prob finding a regular check out with more than a 2 customer deep line either.

                                      2. re: SaraAshley

                                        Union Labor?

                                        Actually the only good thing I can say about my local Safeway (California) is that they always have lots of lanes open.

                                      3. re: monkeyrotica

                                        What I did not like about Safeway was that just after the reciept was printed, the clerk would look at it and thank you by name. When I register for the instore card that keeps track of purchases I put down a fake name, address, and telephone number.

                                        1. re: John E.

                                          Really? That doesn't bother me and it's certainly not the only grocery store I've experienced it at.

                                        2. re: monkeyrotica

                                          I was a regular Giant customer from my first year at Johns Hopkins (1978) through various moves around the Baltimore/DC area UNTIL Harris-Teeter opened in Stone Ridge and then South Riding. Buh-bye Giant. Harris-Teeter is very solid, very much like Publix. Hopefully Kroger won't ruin it.

                                          BTW, Giant's sister chain in the Royal A-hole I mean Ahold family, Stop & Shop in New England, sucks now too.

                                          1. re: Bob W

                                            Love Harris Teeter. I live in Baltimore and until recently safeway has been closest but a Harris Teeter just opened right nearby so I won't be shopping at safeway much I imagine.

                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                              What I like about Teeter is that they carry obscure regional brands, not as many as Wegmans, but still. Every time I go to Safeway they seem to have gotten rid of something I actually buy and replace it with three things I have no interest in. Do we really need 10 feet of hummus? Fig puree? Ten kinds of bloated dough white bread, each indentically flavorless, and no kaiser rolls?
                                              Come on!

                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                This is an example of good customer service from H-T. The first year they were open in this area, I went to get some Passover stuff and, being an NC-based chain that was new to this area, they didn't have any and basically didn't know what I was talking about.

                                                The next year, they had Passover stuff.