Food shopping. For some, it’s a pleasurable pastime, a welcome stroll down aisles packed with edibles, selecting the best-picked produce, the most delectable desserts. For others, it’s a ho-hum chore, not much different than cleaning house, that takes time and energy away from other, more enjoyable pursuits. However you look at it, the weekly (or daily) trip to the grocery store is a necessity. Market Force Information surveyed some 12,800 customers to score their favorite grocery chain in a wide variety of categories. Here the top 10 grocer picks, according to the survey.
1. Sam’s Club
Part of Walmart, Sam’s Club is a warehouse club store that sells everything from groceries and living room sectionals to tires and swimming pools. Sam’s Club earned its highest score from survey participants in the “value for money” category.
2. Harris Teeter
Based in North Carolina and part of the Kroger grocery empire, Harris Teeter has locations in seven states and Washington, D.C. Store offerings include a huge selection of wines and gourmet foods. Shoppers give Harris Teeter high marks for good sales and promotions.
3-4. Costco (tie)
If you’re yearning for a ginormous pack of peas, Costco aims to please. For the cost of a membership (starting at $60 per year), you can buy in bulk and get great deals. Consumers in the survey named Costco one of the top chains for giving you good value for the money.
3-4. WinCo Foods (tie)
WinCo, which is owned by its employees, has locations in nine western states. WinCo scores high with customers for offering good value, and prides itself on selling locally-sourced products at reasonable prices.
According to the Market Force survey, Fry’s received some of the industry’s highest scores for good sales and promotions. Now part of Kroger, Fry’s stores can be found throughout Arizona. In addition to selling food, the chain offers electronics, toys, and jewelry.
In the Market Force survey, shoppers ranked H-E-B among the top grocers for item availability, but the Lone Star State is the one and only place you’ll find H-E-B stores. How proud is this grocery chain of its Texas heritage? It sells tortilla chips in the state’s shape and blocks of cheese in the form of cowboy boots. Yee-haw!
No-nonsense shopping, low prices, and locally-grown produce make Aldi a favorite among shoppers. Fun seasonal options include Aldi’s popular “wine advent calendar.” Survey participants rated the chain the nation’s No. 1 grocer for value, and scored it high for checkout speed.
8. Trader Joe’s
According to Market Force, shoppers rated Trader Joe’s best for checkout speed and cashier courtesy, and also said the store was a good place to find what they wanted. Trader Joe’s stores are so popular that they’ve inspired fan clubs and petition drives from shoppers who want to bring the store’s low prices and island vibe to their town.
Publix, found mostly in the southeastern United States, is another employee-owned store. In the Market Force survey, customers noted the great deli departments, store cleanliness, and item availability.
For the third year in a row, Wegmans beat out the competition to take first place in the Market Force survey. Founded more than 100 years ago in Rochester, New York, Wegmans has since spread to only five other states, and is known for reasonable pricing and fresh produce as well as massive selections. In the Market Force Information survey, the chain earned its highest points for item availability and specialty department service.