Grocery

America's Favorite Grocery Store Has Been Revealed & We Have Sooo Many Feelings

Get ready to load up those carts.

January 25, 2019

Calling all cookie butter fans! As you might've guessed, you're far from alone.

According to a recent survey of 7,000 U.S. households released by global customer data science company dunnhumby, Trader Joe’s is the top-rated grocery retailer in America for the second year running.

The study had respondents rate the top 55 largest grocery retailers across seven main factors: price, quality, digital shopping functions, operations, convenience, discounts/rewards, and speed. Of these ranking measures, dunnhumby says, "The retailers who focus their business on superior value perception–defined by the strongest combination of price and quality–tend to have the most financial success and the strongest emotional bond with consumers."

Emotional bond? That sure sounds like TJ's to us. (We're not so proud we're crying, you're so proud that you're crying!)

The top 10 highest-scoring grocery stores overall are:

  1. Trader Joe’s
  2. Costco Wholesale
  3. Amazon
  4. H-E-B
  5. Wegmans Food Markets
  6. Market Basket
  7. Sam’s Club
  8. Sprouts Farmers Markets
  9. WinCo Foods
  10. Walmart

What do you think of the results? Do you agree, or do you have another favorite? And if you're a TJ's die-hard, what's your all-time favorite product? Let us know in the comments!


Where do you grocery shop? Tell us allll of your thoughts in the comments!
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Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a a writer at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner.

31 Comments

Karen O. April 28, 2019
I have shopped from New York to Florida and Publix is the best supermarket in town...by far
 
Dawn April 18, 2019
I love Wegmans and T J’s, but I’m really surprised that Publix isn’t on that list. Publix customer service can’t be beat and that’s no doubt due the fact that they pay and treat their employees better then most. They also have great products. Some people say they are a bit pricey, but honestly, I disagree. They usually have great sales and bogo deals, as well as a great selection! I live in an area now that has a Kroger’s and a Walmart and I pray everyday that Publix comes to our town. There is one 30 minutes away and it’s worth the drive!
 
morna1953 April 18, 2019
Publix also sells only USDAN Choice quality beef -- never Select. Makes a big difference.
 
Molly F. April 18, 2019
I have to agree with other commenters, I prefer a grocery store that does its own butchering. Some of those in the top 10 have no butcher in house. The only exception I make is for my local coop, where I buy local meat that comes prepackaged from a local butcher.
Meat, especially, is something that must be trustworthy and of very high quality. When we do eat it, I want to know all about it. It can't come from a mystery source.
I get near daily recall notices in my inbox from the USDA. Ninety-nine percent of the recalls involve meat.
 
Denise M. April 3, 2019
I have to wonder if Trader Joe’s sponsors food 52 in someway. There’s just an incredible number of post about it. I don’t like buying my food prepackaged even if they are cutting back on plastics. I want to go to a store that has a butcher counter and a fishmonger and great produce that I can touch and is not in a package. I like cheeses from different countries that I can have cut to the size I need.
I shop at Central Market which is part of the HEB family. I think they only have these in large cities. If not there than some of the other better HEB stores.
 
KPhetteplace February 12, 2019
I sure wish there was a Trader Joe's near us (Hanover/West Lebanon NH)...nearest one is 2 h. away in Burlington VT. I also wish a Market Basket was near us as they rock with meat quality & prices. Upon occasion, we do drive past Warren NH on I-89 and visit that location's store. Which, the parking lot is ALWAYS full. Come to us, please, Trader Joe's and Market Basket!
 
Paulette January 28, 2019
Trader Joe's is a great store. But not if you are a full on cook.
They do have good prices an some things. I prefer New Seasons
 
Tomoose January 28, 2019
I've loved TJ's since I started going there in 2000. The prices for nuts, seeds, spices, etc. can't be beat. Their junk food is yummy though I try not to buy too much. I have at times had to buy an extra suitcase to bring my stash back to Canada. Wish they would open in Toronto but the prices probably wouldn't be as low with the distribution costs, exchange rate etc. as they are in the U.S.
 
Dan January 28, 2019
Can’t believe HyVee didn’t make the list. They have such a loyal following, employee owned and the newer ones have an excellent resturant atrached (Market Grille). It’s s top 5 for sure.
 
Maya M. January 28, 2019
And the cheese... Trader Joe's Udderly delicious cheese sourced globally are to die for......
Parking always sucks, at any TJ but the store is such a global experience it's worth it.
Take the best of each and forgo the rest. Bon Chance!
 
Julie January 28, 2019
Aldi is pretty amazing too!! While produce doesn’t last too too long, you still get great pricing. Almond milk, eggs, milk and butter are ALWAYS a bargain!!
 
Maya M. January 28, 2019
You are right the Aldi produce turns almost immediately. Yuck!
Some good butterflied lamb on sale periodically.
 
Ed C. January 27, 2019
My wife and feel pretty good about your results. Our regular grocery shopping is with Trader Joe, Sprouts, Walmart. Not too shabby for a town with a population in 5 figures.

Suggestions? Our unique faves from each: we get our yogurt from Walmart. Their greek-style yogurt rocks. My wife gets plain. I get vanilla. We get Joseph Farms part skim mozzarella from Sprouts. True textured and authentic. My wife doesn't eat butter. My favorite lifetime find is Trader Joe's cultured butter. The Santa Fe store only does salted which is fine by me. I use their house brand for frying, etc.. The cultured, salted butter is from Brittany and it's what I use on my home-baked bread, any style. They've been importing it for a year or so - and run out once in a while - so I always keep a few packages in the fridge.
 
bookjunky January 27, 2019
Definitely TJs is the #1 place I shop, followed by Costco. To those who think they only have junk, I can only say you have to shop selectively wherever you shop. At both places I buy mostly fresh fruit and veg, dairy, coffee (they have the best) sometimes bakery or meat, along with some other ingredients for cooking and the rare convenience foods. Both carry a good selection of stuff that is fresh and usually organic. For me one of the best things about TJs is that it’s small, with limited choices, but at the same time I can find pretty much everything I need.
 
Jennifer January 26, 2019
Can we clarify--Trader Joe's sponsors Food52 in some way, right? I'd like a straight yes or no on this--yes Food52 takes $ from TJ, or else, no it does not. I'm not exactly anti-TJ, but I don't get the love. Seems very best for highly processed foods (from frozen appetizers to salty snacks to baking mixes to ersatz "hummuses" to those insanely good almond rings at the winter solstice). I stop in once or twice every month to try to figure out what everyone else is excited about. Still haven't figured it out. The produce is.... substandard, compared (for example) to Wegman's. (Although to be honest, here in Syracuse, we have such superb vegetables 9 months a year [yes, even in winter months] that I rely mainly on our CSA/regional farm markets.) Also compared to Wegman's, efforts to engage other local purveyors fall short. If I were feeding a big hungry family I'd probably go the Costco route.... TJ seems to best serve boutique shoppers who don't actually like to cook. If I'm wrong, tell me how! Please! Not trying to start a flame-war--I just want to understand the appeal....
 
Maya M. January 28, 2019
Its partly: the attitude of the happy helpful employees, the small size of the packages so you can get a variety of stuff, the french chocolates. the italian pizza, crunchy flaxed peanut butter, lovely hams and marmalades....
Its partly the flyer, and oh yes the chocolates and the wine!!!
 
Denise M. April 3, 2019
I’d like to know if Trader Joe’s sponsors food 52 also. There’s just an incredible number of posts about how wonderful it is. Personally I don’t shop there too much packaging. I like to go to a store with the butcher counter and vegetables I can choose from. I shop at H-E-B’s central market here in San Antonio
 
Marie F. January 26, 2019
I love Trader Joe's, but the produce does not last more than a couple of days, spoils much faster than my local fresh market.
 
Tami January 26, 2019
I'm a winco shopper . Costco we have a trader Joe's its makes me crazy vary small . I shop for 2 and for various types of my husband is a snackers so sometime its game on .
 
PhilW January 25, 2019
We have Wegmans, Trader Joes, and Costco near us and shop all three as well as a local natural food store. They all have quality products at reasonable prices. Private labels at the three rated markets are of high quality and low cost. They pay their employees well for the industry. Wegmans is more my favorite because of the variety and depth of products and the many prepared foods that are healthy. However, I would not let lists preclude making up your own mind.
 
Paula January 25, 2019
I can feel the looks coming my way already, but definitely not a Trader Joe's fan. I heard TJ's described as a Hipster 7-11, and I feel that is not wrong. So little real food, so much junk, at least in ours. Plus, their location and parking make it a desperation project for me to go there.
 
Sugarfoot January 26, 2019
No real food at Trader Joes?
Fresh produce, frozen fruits and veg. Freeze dried fruits and veg. Oats, quinoa, grassfed meats, organic foods, organic yogurts etc. Look again.
 
Gammy January 26, 2019
Continuing on from Sugarfoot (below), Trader Joe's also has a large good cheese selection, great wines, interesting salad mixes, those wonderful baby avocados, good variety of nuts (many raw and/or unsalted), wide selection of olive oils, artisan breads. I have yet to see any roller hot dogs, slurpee machines or Little Debbie snacks. I don't understand at all your comparison to 7-11... oh, they do have fabulous "Pound Plus" Belgian Chocolate bars, potato and tortilla chips, fresh-made salsa and pre-popped popcorn, but "so much junk"? Not in any of the TJ's I have been in. I will agree that parking at our local store could be easier, but then I don't drive a huge SUV either.
 
Sarah January 29, 2019
I agree with the Hipster 7-11 designation and find these responses weird. TJ's has a variety of foods, yes, but there's a ton of junk and novelty items. I always feel like I'm spending a lot of money relative to the stuff I bring home. Produce is limited and I while I'm drawn to the bagged salads and mixes, they start to turn almost immediately. If you don't actually cook much it's fine, and I love splurging on their random treats, but I don't do my regular weekly shopping here. Seems like there's some hardcore pro-TJ's bots trolling this comment thread, which is a pity.
 
Aluel January 25, 2019
I LOVE Trader Joe's❤!!!!
 
Paisley January 25, 2019
Trader Joe's all the waaay since 1995...
 
Maya M. January 25, 2019
Sarah,
I hear you about Sam's etc but you should give Coscto a chance. They do carry processed "food" but on the main they carry excellent, often organic, Lamb, beef, Chicken, excellent fish and the freshest veg ever.

Also they pay their people very well. Give it a shot, you can always correct me if I am wrong.
 
Sarah H. January 25, 2019
I have tried their meat and found it to be okay. I haven't found any American meat that I love yet. For us, costco is 20 mins away and has the yearly fee, so not worth it. A friend lives near it and stopped going once they built a publix