America's Best Supermarkets (Slideshow)
December 22, 2015
You told us, we listened: your picks for the best grocery stores
America's Best Supermarkets
We’re excited to toast these 30 Best Supermarkets that are changing the way we shop, helping us to eat better, and providing one-stop shopping to help ease our busy lives. We salute the hard-working people that make grocery shopping a rewarding experience and thank our panelists and voters for helping us on our survey.
From coast to coast, these are the best supermarkets where America likes to grocery shop. You can be certain we will continue to sign up more trusted panelists and refine the process by which we make our choices. What will the next installment bring? You’ll find out on The Daily Meal.
30. Giant Eagle
Giant Eagle just makes the cut and rounds out our list in the 30th spot. Giant Eagle is a supermarket chain with more than 200 locations in the central Northeast part of the U.S. The store offers a loyalty program that is a discount system and also offers a fuel program to help customers save of gas. In addition to groceries, they offer dry cleaning, pharmacies, and banking.
28. Shop n’ Save
Shop n’ Save is a chain that has close to 50 locations in the South and Eastern parts of the U.S. It is currently owned by SuperValu and offers its own private brand of products. They aim to give customers a variety of products at low prices. They are not only committed to their customers, but support their local community events, like the Special Olympics.
27. A&P Supermarkets
Also known as The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, A&P focuses on fresh and high quality foods with more than 300 stores operating throughout the U.S. It started as a small chain of retail tea and coffee stores in New York and has since grown to be a corporate chain of food retailers and wholesalers. They offer their own brand of products and opeate Pathmark, another grocery chain that made our list.
25. Safeway Inc.
Safeway is one of the largest supermarket chains in North America with close to 1500 stores in the U.S. and even more internationally. Safeway offers their signature private label, Signature Cafe, as well as another label, Primo Taglio, that sells upscale products. In addition, they have Lucerne as a main dairy line and O Organics is their line of organic products. They also introduced a line of organic products in 2006.
This regional American supermarket chain operates more than 200 stores in the Southeastern part of the U.S. The market offers a variety of brand name products in addition to their own label, Laura Lynn. The company is dedicated to focusing on customer service, quality of products, and strives to be a one-stop shopping center.
23. Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers
Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers, a Colorado-based health food chain, has more than 60 stores in 13 different states. The company is a proponent of customer education and operates a series of lectures by health experts that teach patrons about the importance of eating right. The company sells USDA certified organic fruits and vegetables and their products are always free of artificial flavors, preservatives, irradiated food, and meat raised using artificial hormones and antibiotics.
Ralphs, the major supermarket chain in Southern California, is a subsidiary of Kroger, another top grocery store chain on our list. They operate more than 50 stores and carry the Kroger line of products. They offer a fuel program, which earns you fuel points for every dollar spent on groceries. This one-stop shopping center not only gives customers quality products and services, but supports the community as well.
Pathmark is a chain of supermarkets with more than 130 stores in the Northeastern part of the U.S. It is owned and operated by A&P supermarkets, which is another grocer that made our list. Pathmark provides customers with their own brand of products in addition to national brands. They aim to be a one-stop shopping center and have opened up several super-centers as well.
With more than 200 stores in the Midwest, Meijer is a regional “hypermarket” and was one of the first supercenter grocery stores to combine groceries with department store goods. Many of the stores offer gas stations and convenience store items as well. Meijer cares about its shoppers and the community as it allows for customers to make charitable donations with a portion of their purchases going toward community organizations.
H.E.B grocery stores are a privately owned grocery chain with more than 350 stores in Texas and Northern Mexico. The company also operates Central Market, which is a popular chain offering upscale and organic products. The grocery store produces its own line of products, which are reasonably priced and good quality.
Winn-Dixie stores are winning at number eighteen. This supermarket chain currently has close to 500 stores that operate in the South and Eastern parts of the country. They are known for their own brand of soft drinks that produces more than 20 different flavors as well as diet and caffeine-free varieties. Winn-Dixie is currently owned by Bi-Lo, another southeastern supermarket chain.
16. Piggly Wiggly
Piggly Wiggly stores wiggle their way into the number sixteen slot. Piggly Wiggly operates in 17 states in the Midwestern and Southern regions of the U.S. with more than 600 independently owned stores. Piggly Wiggly was the first “self-serving store,” was the first to provide checkout stands, price mark every item in the store, and started to provide carts in 1937. C&S Wholesale Grocers acquired the business in 2003, but Piggly Wiggly’s independently operated stores are still dedicated to being a pioneer in grocery store customer service.
The German based global discount supermarket chain has close to 1500 stores in the United States. Aldi specializes in staple food items like paper products, food, beverages, and other inexpensive household items. They have their own line of products in addition to major international brand-name products.
14. Fairway Market
As one of the highest grossing food retailers per square foot, Fairway serves the New York metropolitan area with 14 markets and three wine and spirit shops. Fairway offers organic products as well as a variety of brands while keeping prices reasonable. Fairway Market supports the communities they’re in, donating thousands of pounds of food annually as well as supporting firefighters by stepping up to the plate to help supply food and recovery efforts following 9/11.
12. BJ’s Wholesale Club
Simply referred to as BJ’s, the membership-only warehouse club operates on the East Coast and in Ohio with 200 store locations. They offer their own house brands at competitive prices, and even have their own line of organic grocery products, Earth’s Pride. In addition to their own products, they offer a variety of name-brand products at discount wholesale prices.
With close to 3,000 locations, Kroger is one of the largest supermarket chains in the country. Kroger operates several Kroger-brand supermarkets in addition to other grocery stores, like Ralphs in Southern California. In addition to popular brands, Kroger also prides itself in stocking a variety of local and regional products — and selling them all at competitive prices.
10. Walmart Supercenters
Walmart Supercenters carry everything a Walmart discount store does, but also includes a full-service supermarket including meat, baked goods, frozen food, dairy products, seafood, and fresh produce. There are more than 3,000 stores across the Unites States and they offer their own line of quality products, known as Great Value.
SuperTarget is a chain of hypermarkets that offer everything that can be found in a regular Target store plus a full grocery selection. Many stores also offer coffee, bakery stores, and popular fast food chains. With all accessible products at our fingertips, it is no wonder that this super store is so popular.
8. Stop & Shop
Located in the Northeastern part of the U.S., Stop & Shop has become the largest supermarket to operate in Southern New England with more than 380 stores. To make shopping more pleasant, many Stop & Shops have a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts inside. To add to their customer service, they offer a personal shopping assistant that allows customers to track their purchases and do in-cart bagging as they move through the store.
7. Food Bazaar Supermarkets
Food Bazaar Supermarkets is a full-service supermarket chain serving the metropolitan New York City area with close to 20 stores including a handful of outposts in New Jersey and Connecticut. They provide customers with fresh and high-quality ingredients at a competitive price. The Food Bazaar doesn’t just sell groceries though; they want their customers to take the time to learn about different cultures and the communities they serve while offering a variety of ethnic foods from around the globe.
Wegmans is a regional grocery chain in the Northeast with more than 80 stores and its own brand of health food products which they sell for less than national brands. They also carry a variety of important and artisanal products. The in-store dining areas are also popular among shoppers and make for a greater shopping experience.
5. Stew Leonard's
Serving the Northeast in New York and Connecticut, Stew Leonard’s was named by the The New York Times the "Disneyland of Dairy Stores." The chain offers animatronic characters that perform songs and dance to entertain shoppers. This makes for a more engaging shopping experience and keeps the kids entertained while parents can get shopping done.
Serving the Southern part of the country, Publix has more than 1,000 stores and is one of the largest U.S. regional grocery chains. Publix prides itself on customer service and even has a “special order” service that allows you to order any specific product that is not in stock or not even carried in the store.
Although Costco is a membership only corporation, their popularity remains strong and continues to grow, warranting its third place finish on our survey. Costco has close to 650 stores in the United States and abroad. So, what makes Costco popular? The unique sales model — Costco focuses on selling low-priced items at high volume. Buying food items in bulk is not only convenient, but cost-efficient for large families and businesses.
2. Whole Foods Market
The thing that makes Whole Foods so great and lands it second on our list is it’s specialization in organic and natural foods. They promise their shoppers foods that are free of artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives, or hydrogenated fats. The company sells USDA-certified organic foods and products that aim to be environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible. With close to 400 stores and quickly growing in popularity, Whole Foods comes in near the top of our list.
1. Trader Joe's
Trader Joe’s tops our list of America’s Best Supermarkets. The chain boasts more than 400 stores throughout the U.S. but most are concentrated in Southern California, where it originated. While the majority of supermarkets offer more than 50,000 different products, Trader Joe’s stocks about 4,000 and most of them are Trader Joe’s brand. The diversity of gourmet, organic, and vegetarian options as well as excellent prices and quality keep this store on top of the list.