There is a lot of media coverage of overeating, dieting, and obesity in the U.S., something that would give the impression that people simply stuff themselves constantly, find some later regret, then diet for awhile, only to ultimately go back to fast food and microwaveable meals. And yet, believe it or not, people really do care about their food. That includes where they get it, how it is presented, how it is shipped, etc. So when it comes to supermarkets, these things -- among others -- really matter to the average shopper. So Consumer Reports surveyed over 24,000 people to see how they graded supermarkets in America and of the top four retail grocery chains in the U.S. (Walmart Supercenters, Kroger, Safeway, Costco), only one made the Top 10 list of best supermarkets in America.
The top four supermarket chains make up 37 percent of the entire American grocery retail market. Of that, 22 percent is taken up by Walmart alone. And no matter how you split up the remaining three giants, with 15 percent divided between them, the smallest amount is far ahead of the fifth largest chain (otherwise they would have been included in the total). One of those four, Walmart, found themselves in the next-to-last position (out of 52 graded supermarket chains) in terms of customer satisfaction in shopping experience.
So which chain got top billing?
Respondents to the survey graded stores in four categories: service (includes employee courtesy and checkout speed), perishables (food quality), price and cleanliness – all of which were scored from “very satisfied,” “fairly satisfied,” “neutral, “fairly unsatisfied” and “very unsatisfied.” Each were to be graded from 0 to 100.
Of those top four grocery retail giants, Costco got the best score, pulling down a cumulative 83 points and ranking fifth overall. Located throughout the U.S. (in 40 states) and in nine foreign countries, Costco is a large enterprise. They get high marks in price, cleanliness, and with perishables. However, they lagged in service and it hurt their score.
Trader Joe's, a chain that can be found in 30 states and in Washington, D.C., got the runner-up spot, scoring an 86 out of 100. It lagged in only one category as well: perishables.
But the top supermarket chain in the land was Wegman's, a company located in New England and the mid-Atlantic states. Scoring an 88, Wegman's scored well all around, but there was one drawback to getting a clean, well-serviced, and well-stocked store: high prices.
Here's a list of the Top 10 Best Supermarkets -- and their scores -- in America:
10. Stater Brothers - 81
9. Hy-Vee - 82
8. Raley's - 82
7. Market Basket - 82
6. Harris Teeter - 83
5. Costco - 83
4. Fareway - 84
3. Publix - 85
2. Trader Joe's - 86
1. Wegman's - 88
Although it was discovered that most of the worst supermarket chains were located in the midwest, mid-Atlantic, and New England states, it was odd to note that quite of a few of the best chains in American were also located in the northeast and midwest. However, the southern states weren't represented in the bottom of the 52 graded chains. They are among the nations top chains, though. Of the top 10, Publix and Harris Teeter are both southern supermarket chains. Three of the top ten best chains were also western: Stater Brothers, Raley's, and Trader Joe's (although nationwide, half of the company's stores are in California).
(photo credit: Stilfehler, Creative Commons)