Even though there’s plenty of increased competition these days from Amazon Prime, Fresh Direct, meal kit companies and other delivery services, supermarkets remain an essential part of American life. And in every state, one supermarket chain, be it a big national chain or a smaller chain we wish were national, stands out from the pack.
For this list, we have included brick-and-mortar grocers, local markets, supermarkets, membership-only warehouse clubs and nationwide department store retailers that have supermarkets within their retail locations. Convenience stores, delis, farmers markets and technology-based shops like Peapod were not considered.
We evaluated these grocery stores using strict criteria: stock (the range of brands and offerings); innovation (delivery, mobile apps, etc.); value; and contribution to the community.
Of course, in many instances, a great supermarket chain has locations in many states. In order to give the smaller, more homegrown chains their fair shake, each chain only appears on our list once. We gave preference to smaller local chains that were founded in or are headquartered in the state and have become a beloved part of the local community. In certain cases, however, the big chain is indeed the best supermarket in the state, even if its origins are further afield.
Renfroe’s, which has four Alabama locations, is known for stocking traditional Southern items from Alabama, including produce and products from companies like Alabama Sweet Tea and Mama Mocha’s Coffee as well as an impressive craft beer selection. Renfroe’s is known for it’s personal customer service. The store also offers conveniences like Renfroe’s To Go, in which shoppers order online and park in a designated parking spot to pick up their groceries.
Safeway, which has a dozen Alaska locations, focuses on providing customers a variety of ways to shop: in stores, online for Drive Up & Go, home delivery via Safeway’s own in-house drivers as well as Instacart. Safeway’s store brands also offer plenty of plant-based, high-protein, gluten-free and low-calorie options. Extra perks include the Just for U loyalty program, which offers customers grocery and gas rewards.
Sprouts Market has more than 40 locations in Arizona and is famous for its wide selection of fresh produce. The Butcher Shop at Sprouts features beef, chicken, pork and lamb, with the beef graded USDA choice. Plus, stores have an in-house butcher who can assist guests with product selection, seasoning, cooking tips and custom cuts. Guests can also find instant savings on healthy products using the Sprouts app, which offers exclusive mobile coupons; downloading grocery store apps is a supermarket secret that home cooks swear by.
Edwards Food Giant has a handful of stores throughout the state of Arkansas. There are in-house butchers, and the supermarket makes its own sausage and bratwurst. “Professional Shoppers” are available to shop for folks who prefer to buy their groceries online, which is certainly a good way to cut down on shopping time.
Trader Joe’s, which has well over 100 locations in its native California, inspires customer loyalty largely by carefully curating Trader Joe’s branded products. This helps keep prices down, but Trader Joe’s doesn’t offer special promotions, coupons, discounts or sales. Some products are sold only for a short time while others have a cult-like following. Staples like Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend, frozen chicken tikka masala, Speculoos Cookie Butter and Joe-Joe’s Chocolate Vanilla Crème Cookies are all items you should absolutely buy the next time you visit. The friendly “Crew” members who work in the stores are easy to spot thanks to their bright Hawaiian T-shirts worn to style store staff as “traders on the culinary seas.”
Natural Grocers is a beloved natural and organic Colorado-based grocery store, with nearly 50 locations in the state. At Natural Grocers, all produce is organic, all dairy is pasture-based, all eggs are free-range and all meats are humanely raised. The stores also offer all-natural body care products, GMO-free bulk foods, a massive selection of vitamins and dietary supplements, healthy grab-and-go options from local vendors and even books that focus on leading the healthiest life possible.
Stew Leonard’s is known as a fun place for families to shop because of the costumed characters, scheduled entertainment, “Little Farms” petting zoos, and animatronics throughout the three Connecticut stores, making a visit to Stew Leonard’s a great family-friendly trip in its own right. Oh, and did we mention the free small ice cream when you spend $100 or more on a single transaction? Unlike traditional grocery stores that sell an average of 45,000 items, each Stew Leonard’s store carries only 2,200 items. Some 80% of the products sold in the store are fresh – that is, brought in daily or prepared directly in the store.
The best grocery store in Delaware is Harris Teeter, a beloved chain with two locations in the state. Known for its extensive prepared foods section, Harris Teeter also contributes to local communities through partnerships with United Way and takes part in broader charity initiatives through parent company Kroger as well.
The famed Florida grocer has more than 800 locations throughout the state. In Florida in 1940, Publix introduced innovations like air conditioning and fluorescent lighting to its grocery stores. Shoppers love the supermarket mascot Plato the Publixaurus, the free cookies given to children at the in-store Publix Bakery, its Public Aprons Cooking School, the “Publix Promise” of transparent pricing, and the legendary sub sandwiches from the Publix Deli — which some fans argue are just as good as many of the best sandwiches in America.
Dekalb Farmers Market in Decatur, Georgia, is best known as an international market providing a wide variety of imported and domestic products from all over the world that are high-quality and low-price. Dekalb Farmers Market receives direct shipments of food, avoiding expensive warehousing and distribution delays. There is an extensive food production department, where the store’s own roasted and smoked meats and sausages, as well as perfectly cooked turkeys, are made. The bakery department bakes breads, cakes and pastries in-house, and pastas and salads are also made in the market.
A locally owned grocery chain with more than 20 stores statewide in Hawaii, Foodland has committed itself to giving back to the community through programs like Give Aloha, which has raised more than $32 million for local charities. The stores sell many local products, particularly in the produce department. They also carry certified Angus beef and top-notch poke, which is a food you absolutely must try in Hawaii. Foodland is also known for its Maika’i card loyalty program, which offers savings on groceries and one point for every dollar spent. Points can be redeemed for free products, 5% off groceries or travel miles on Hawaiian Airlines.
Albertsons, which was founded in Boise and today has nearly two dozen locations in Idaho, offers fresh products in stores and online with convenient options like Drive Up & Go and home delivery. The chain also has its own private labels with 11,000 products. Albertsons also gives back to the community via the Albertsons Companies Foundation.
No-frills Aldi, which has more than 200 Illinois locations, sells grocery staples and household items from small kitchen appliances to outdoor furniture and gardening tools, primarily under its exclusive brands. About 90% of the products in each store are sold under Aldi’s store brand, and many have established a cult following. Aldi also offers organic fruits and vegetables, and Black Angus and USDA choice beef. There’s also a generous return policy. If you’re unhappy with any store-brand product, they’ll replace it and refund your money.
Globe-trotting grocer Saraga International Grocery stocks all the staples including meat, fish, poultry and produce along with halal meat and a wide variety of African, Chinese, European, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Mexican and South American foods. Shoppers can expand their culinary horizons with a visit to the 62,000-square-foot shop in Indianapolis, Indiana, and a second location in Greenwood. Oh, and hidden inside the Indianapolis location is the tiny Asian Snack, one of the best Chinese restaurants in the country.
Employee-owned Hy-Vee, which has dozens of Iowa locations and is headquartered in West Des Moines, works with local farmers to source fruits and vegetables from within a 200-mile radius of each store, and its “Low Price Lockdown” guarantees that a product’s price won’t increase. Hy-Vee’s slogan is "A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle," and it offers hundreds of deals, a fuel saver and perks card, and online shopping.
Family-owned Cosentino’s offers fresh USDA choice beef, whole salmon cut fresh daily in stores, seasonal local produce, a wide variety of cheeses, and many specialty and prepared foods. The small chain, which has just three locations all in the Kansas City area, offers online shopping and grocery delivery through Instacart. The company is also committed to giving back to the community, donating more than $1 million to Harvesters Food Network and other local food pantries.
Good Foods Co-Op/ Yelp
Good Foods Co-op in Lexington is the only locally owned and operated cooperative grocery in central Kentucky. The grocer works with more than 250 Kentucky farmers and producers and offers organic produce, natural local meats, sustainably fished seafood and made-from-scratch baked goods. There’s also a hot buffet, salad bar, organic juice bar and coffee bar with free Wi-Fi in the dining areas. Shoppers don’t need to be part of the co-op to shop; however, the co-op’s “owners” get access to special sales and events.
The aisles of family-run Rouses, which has more than 80 Louisiana locations, are stocked with local and seasonal produce, including more than 100 organic fruits and vegetables, along with hot prepared foods and USDA prime beef. Don’t miss the Cajun specialties like andouille, boudin, smoked sausage and tasso ham made with Rouse family recipes and local, wild-caught seafood.
Hannaford partners with more than 800 local companies and farmers to stock 7,000-plus local Northeastern products in its 63 Maine stores. Hannaford was the first grocery store in the U.S. to receive LEED Platinum certification for its newly opened, environmentally friendly store in Augusta, Maine, in 2009. In 2012, it became the first major supermarket in the U.S. to document that all seafood products sold in every department were sustainably harvested. And since 1929, Hannaford has continued to give back to its communities through its partnership with United Way.
Founded in 1987 in Rockville and now with 10 Maryland locations, MOM’s prides itself on making environmental action and stewardship front and center, taking steps like having free car charging stations and relying on solar and wind power for energy. MOM’s is known for stocking an impressive selection of organic products. It roasts its own high-quality organic coffee in-house and even sells clothing made with organic cotton. MOM’s has a list of more than 100 banned ingredients you can be assured won’t be in any products, and it also sells cricket and mealworm products.
One way to cut your grocery bill in half? Shop at Market Basket. The weekly flyer at Market Basket, which was founded in Lowell, Massachusetts, and has more than 50 locations in the state, offers deep discounts on dozens of items throughout the store. Stores have in-house butchers cutting certified Angus beef, fruits and vegetables cut in-house, seafood delivered daily from New England docks, and in-store dining and heat-and-eat takeaway meals.
Meijer, which is headquartered in Grand Rapids and has dozens of locations in Michigan, is known for its fresh produce, broad selection and pharmacies that offer select free prescriptions. Freshness, friendly service, home delivery, and a robust deli and bakery round out Meijer’s offerings.
Who doesn’t love a Target run? Target, which has numerous Minnesota locations and is headquartered in Minneapolis, sells a massive variety of groceries, many under its own store brands: Good & Gather, Simply Balanced, Archer Farms and Market Pantry. All Simply Balanced items are free of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and 105 common food additives. Regardless of how often you shop there, there are certain foods you should always buy at Target.
McDade’s Market is a neighborhood grocery store with two locations in Jackson, Mississippi. There’s USDA prime beef in the meat department, local Mississippi produce, craft beer sold in growlers and a hot lunch bar loaded with classic comfort foods like top-notch fried chicken.
Dierbergs is committed to supporting its Missouri community and has donated $60 million worth of food since the 1970s. Its 23 locations have pharmacies and other perks for customers, including cooking schools, baked goods from local bakeries, delivery via Shipt and great weekly specials. They’ll also perfectly cook your seafood for free.
Maurice J. C./ Yelp
The Good Food Store is a massive natural foods store in Missoula, Montana, famous for its selection of quality organic and natural products. The Good Food Store’s bulk foods department has more than 900 individual offerings. Its deli serves daily-changing specialties, great pizza, soups and sandwiches, noodle and rice wok bowls, and fresh juices and smoothies. Select deli items are also sold in reusable glass jars in order to reduce waste. Good Food Store is also home to NEST, a gift, kitchen and home store within the supermarket.
Owned by its shoppers, Open Harvest Co-op in Lincoln, Nebraska, offers a wide selection of local and organic products as well as deli and bakery items along with top-notch customer service. There are creative daily-changing lunch specials, including tempeh stroganoff and comfort foods like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, and house-made bread is available most days. There’s also a major emphasis on sourcing from local producers.
WinCo Foods keeps costs down in some unconventional ways: Its five Nevada locations don’t take credit cards and customers bag their own groceries. WinCo also has its own distribution center, which allows the company to deal directly with suppliers and vendors and eliminate costs in the middle. The supermarket is famous for its bulk foods section, which is a great way to only buy as much as you need.
Local grocer Harvest Market has two stores in New Hampshire. Whether customers shop in-store in Bedford or Wolfeboro or order online, Harvest Market is the go-to neighborhood grocer for affordable staples, and there are great weekly deals. The popular Harvest on the Go offers grab-and-go subs and wraps, all perfect options for an office lunch.
Kings has more than 20 locations throughout New Jersey, where it was founded in 1936. Its staff is constantly on the lookout for new products and flavors. Available specialties include small-batch Thai hot sauces from SD Sauces, family-size chicken pot pies from Griggstown Farm, Long Island littleneck clams and prepared foods such as chili-lime shrimp tacos and quinoa and kale salad with bergamot dressing. Rotisserie chickens, which can be turned into dozens of great meals, cost just $5.99 on Tuesday evenings.
La Montañita Co-op is known for its abundance of local and organic foods. There are five New Mexico stores and a grab-and-go location on the University of New Mexico campus, placing the school among the best colleges for food. Locals can purchase co-op memberships, which are $15 per year and $200 for life; these “member-owners” have access to a wide variety of deep discounts, but a membership is not required to shop there.
© Brenda Chae/Dreamstime.com
Wegmans offers delivery powered by Instacart, curbside pickup at select locations, a Wegmans app, digital coupons and meal delivery — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a wide variety of organic, gluten-free and vegan offerings, and some locations boast full-service restaurants and wine bars, which are both among America’s craziest grocery store amenities. Wegmans has a cheese cave upstate turning out award-winning cheeses, and it also operates an organic farm and orchard in Canandaigua. Wegmans has become so beloved in New York that when the first New York City location opened in 2019, crowds flocked to it in droves.
The Fresh Market, which has 21 North Carolina locations and was founded in Greensboro in 1982, was designed to bring back the Old World charm of local markets. The beef selection is noteworthy, there’s nearly three times as much produce available than at most supermarkets, and care is put into every item on the shelves. For example, only extra-virgin olive oil is stocked, and many are labeled with harvest dates. The company also takes pride in its private label, which is impeccably sourced; the farro pasta, for example, is made on a sixth-generation family farm in Umbria, Italy, and is up there with what you’d find at America’s best Italian restaurants.
At Hornbacher’s eight North Dakota stores, departments are stocked with well-priced, quality goods. The store offers a variety of ways for shoppers to save, including weekly ads and reward clubs; for example, if you purchase six rotisserie chickens, sandwiches, hot deli meals, soups or cakes, the seventh is free, and customers can save up to 12 cents per gallon on gas.
The Kroger Co. is headquartered in Cincinnati and operates numerous Ohio locations. Kroger offers pickup, same-day delivery and shipping, and private labels including Simple Truth Plant Based, which is all meat- and dairy-free, and the higher-end Private Selection. It also offers a wide variety of Home Chef heat-and-eat meals, and stores across the country include a location of Murray’s Cheese, the beloved New York cheese shop. If you happen to find yourself in the Cincinnati area, be sure to check out Jungle Jim’s, which very well might be the craziest supermarket in America.
Cress Fresh Market, which has eight Oklahoma locations, maintains its reputation as the “Home of Rock Bottom Prices” by buying directly from 150 manufacturers, limiting advertising, owning all facilities and remaining no-frills. Locations are open 24/7, 365 days per year, and certified Angus beef is cut fresh daily in-store.
© Andrei Gabriel Stanescu/Dreamstime.com
New Seasons Market is a progressive Oregon neighborhood grocer with nearly 20 Portland-area locations. It’s known for quality local products from the best Pacific Northwest producers, including local strawberries and antibiotic- and hormone-free meats. New Seasons also offers employees a robust healthcare plan and a 20% employee discount.
Giant, which has many Pennsylvania locations, is connected to its fresh purveyor roots, bringing shoppers high-quality products including Vermont Creamery cheeses, Columbus Meats charcuterie, scallops from Cape May, New Jersey, and the chain’s own organic Nature’s Promise products, all of which are grocery items worth the splurge.
Dave’s Fresh Marketplace is the largest independent grocery chain in the state of Rhode Island with 10 locations. The grocery stores sell prepared foods made in in-store kitchens that produce ready-made meals and salads and stock the hot bars, cold bars and soup stations. Fresh breads and pastries are also baked in-house daily. Don’t miss the made-to-order brick oven pizzas and Rhode Island tomato pizza, a beloved regional specialty.
Bi-Lo has locations in North Carolina, Georgia and dozens in South Carolina, where it’s headquartered. It has a number of private labels, including Essentials, Prestige, SE Grocers and Naturally Better, an organic line. In addition to bakery and deli departments, Bi-Lo also sells flowers and lottery tickets and offers money transfers and pharmacy services.
Sunshine Foods is a South Dakota neighborhood grocer with seven locations. Each locally owned store offers groceries, produce, meats from the butcher shop, sweet treats from the bakery and favorites from the deli. Locations in Madison and Sioux Falls offer delivery, and downloading the app can save shoppers money on grocery items they should never pay full price for via coupons and a loyalty program.
The Turnip Truck Urban Fare/ Yelp
The Turnip Truck is the only locally owned natural food grocer in Nashville, Tennessee. The aisles of its two stores are stocked with products from local farmers and producers, and much of its organic food is sourced from within 200 miles. Each store boasts a juice bar, salad bar and a hot bar that serves weekday breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a weekend brunch spread that’s up there with what’s available at America’s best brunch restaurants. The hot bars also feature paleo, low-carb, vegan and vegetarian options. A deli and bakery round out the offerings.
Serving everything from platters of Texas barbecue and bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers to ready-to-bake flatbread pizzas and creative sushi rolls and poke bowls, H-E-B has become a beloved Texas institution with dozens upon dozens of locations in the state. H-E-B Plus! locations also offer clothes and household goods like coolers, smokers and party supplies. The store brand also offers plenty of classic Texas foods like kolaches, jumbo buttermilk biscuits and even condiments from beloved Texas fast food chain Whataburger, a regional chain we wish were national.
Harmons has more than a dozen locations in Utah. Along with great weekly ads and a wide variety of local products, artisanal breads and baked goods, Harmons sells beef from renowned producers including Double R Ranch, which provides beef to some of America’s leading steakhouses. It also publishes a wide variety of recipes, produces recipe videos and even has a podcast. Labels indicate when food items have been approved by staff dieticians, and locations also have in-house flower shops.
Shaw’s is one of the oldest continuously operating supermarkets in the U.S., with roots dating back to 1860. Shaw’s, which has 19 Vermont locations, supports many local nonprofits through Shaw’s Foundation. Customers can save on groceries with Just For U deals and rewards, and there’s also an app that’s loaded with coupons; not downloading it is akin to wasting money.
German supermarket Lidl is famous for its high-quality products, in-store bakery and low prices, and more than 80% of items sold are under its own private label. There’s a dedicated Master of Wine, bread is fresh-baked in-house daily, produce is sourced locally whenever possible, and there’s a large selection of grass-fed and Angus beef. The family-owned chain didn’t open its first U.S. stores until 2017, but there are currently nearly 30 Virginia locations.
The first Costco opened in Seattle, Washington, in 1983. The store’s main philosophy is to keep costs low and pass savings on to customers, who pay an annual membership fee. Not only does Costco provide a wide selection of meat, produce, and groceries in bulk in its palatial warehouse stores, but it also offers alcohol as well as consumer goods and exclusive member services like a travel agency, optical services, a pharmacy, a customer-favorite food court and gas stations. Costco has its own private label, Kirkland Signature, which includes juices, cookies, coffee, housewares, luggage, clothing and of course its famous and wildly popular $4.99 rotisserie chicken. There’s no shortage of Costco shopping hacks, and there are some items that you should always buy there.
Known for its rigorous sourcing standards and focus on sustainability, Glen’s Garden Market in Washington, D.C., has built relationships with producers and farmers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed to keep all possible products local. In addition to selling high-quality local groceries, there’s also a deli that serves pizza and sandwiches along with a great brunch, a bakery-cafe and a bar with local craft beers on tap. There’s also a robust catering operation.
Located inside an old train station in Charleston, West Virginia, Capitol Market has grown from a farmers market to a giant retail hub offering meats, fish, dairy, produce, coffee, wine, great local beer and retail in a variety of walkable indoor and outdoor spaces. The indoor market features a wide selection of West Virginia-made products, a butcher shop and charming eateries like the casual Italian restaurant Soho’s. The outdoor component sells fresh seasonal produce from local growers.
What started as a produce stand in Janesville, Wisconsin, has expanded to more than a dozen stores in Illinois and Wisconsin. The employee-owned Woodman’s Market sells groceries, including plenty of snacks we know and love, with a focus on savings and service. Customers can shop online, and there’s also an app that’s loaded with coupons and useful info.
© Marek Uliasz/Dreamstime.com
King Soopers is owned by Kroger, so it offers many of the same foods and services as the beloved chain, including store brands Simple Truth and Private Selection. It offers a wide variety of meat, produce and pantry items as well as meal kits via Home Chef. There are also plenty of coupons available, as well as a wide variety of goods that can be shipped to your door. Like Kroger, it’s up there with the best supermarkets in America.
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