Grocery store customers are territorial about their favorite places to buy food. With dozens of grocery stores to choose from and the industry totaling over $742 billion in sales in 2020, buying food at a supermarket is as American as apple pie.
The era of the supermarket continues to dominate as well. While the days of the small mom-and-pop grocery store are long gone, supermarkets are still places where people congregate.
The grocery store and supermarket are where you can come up with a dinner selection or pick up a bouquet for a loved one.
That is why I decided to look at the best grocery stores in America.
Best Grocery Stores
With so many choices, it is easy to fall in love with a grocery store. Grab your cart, and let’s get to it!
What can I say about Trader Joe’s that has not already been said?
The home of Two-Buck Chuck (if you are into cheap wine, that is) and a choice selection of organic options, Trader Joe’s is in a class of its own.
Thanks to its unique, tropical atmosphere and a focus on prices, the California-based grocer brings a crowd wherever it opens a new store.
One thing to hammer home about Trader Joe’s is parking. This fact might be because the only Trader Joe’s I have been to have had atrocious parking situations, but pack your patience when seeking a parking spot.
Wegman’s may have just only over 100 stores in the U.S., but it still has a devoted following thanks to its selection of goods from supermarket staples to its hot bar.
Wegman’s takes the supermarket concept and somehow manages to super-size it further.
The grocer also has 52,000+ employees who swear by the company’s methods, putting the company on many “best places to work” lists.
But I need to go back to the store’s selection. Wegman’s selection of organic products alone is fantastic.
Make sure you stop by the hot bar, deli, and bakery for their made-in-store options. Trust me on the cannoli dip!
Publix is another grocery store giant on this list due to fans who love the store to pieces.
At 1,700+ locations nationwide, Publix has a footprint many other stores would dream of having.
The Florida-based chain boasted over $41 billion in revenue in 2021, which continues to climb.
The upscale feel of the chain makes customers feel like they are in a high-end store.
The food selection is fabulous, too! The meat counter and bakery regularly get my money whenever I shop there.
Fresh cuts of ham and turkey make any sandwich delicious enough to compete with sandwich chains, and their birthday cakes make any celebration even better.
Do not get me started on the famous Pub Sub – a lunch staple for many people who want an affordable meal.
Let’s get the initials out of the way first. H-E-B started in Kerrville, Texas under the name C.C. Butt Grocery Store, but Howard E. Butt became the sole owner in 1919. H-E-B is named with Howard’s initials in mind.
The origin story established, H-E-B spent years trying to expand to other parts of Texas until their first expansion store hit paydirt in Del Rio, Texas.
Like striking oil in the Texas oilfields, H-E-B grew and became the largest private employer in Texas and one of the largest in the U.S.
So what inspires the cult of H-E-B? Grocery customers in Texas mostly love the down-home atmosphere and the chain’s community-focused aspects.
The company routinely gives back to the Lone Star State in numerous ways.
The world-famous warehouse and bulk shopping center, Costco inspires legions of fans whenever and wherever the company opens a new storefront.
While other warehouse stores like BJ’s Warehouse Club and Sam’s Club are similar, Costco provides customers with rock-bottom prices and an expansive collection of goods.
Costco’s in-house brand, Kirkland, is of particular note. They even offer affordable liquor from Kirkland!
But Costco goes beyond your typical warehouse fare. The bakery, butcher, and even the tire center are top-notch.
Costco also has some of the cheapest meals you can get with the pizza and hot dog combos well worth the purchase. My Costco card gets a workout based on the cheap hot dogs alone.
Do you have a quarter handy? Make sure you have one before you head to Aldi!
The German-based grocer is known for some of the most affordable food. It all starts with that quarter.
Your quarter is almost like an entry fee, giving you immediate access to a cart so you can shop your heart away.
From there, you will enter the store and notice your typical grocery store selection at much cheaper prices.
These prices occur because the company has low overhead and places all their goods still in boxes on the shelves.
Instead of keeping the money for themselves, Aldi passes that savings on to the consumer.
Aldi also sells goods mostly from its private label, allowing for consumer savings.
The best part about Aldi? You can still get your quarter back once you have returned your shopping cart.
Harris Teeter went through a rough patch in the 1990s and early 2000s. The company is healthier following its merger with Kroger in 2013.
Harris Teeter is a Charlotte-based grocer that focuses on high-end clientele. The company’s stores are largely located in the Mid-Atlantic states of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.
The neighborhood feel of each store separates it from other grocery stores, making customers feel like they are grabbing food in a town square setting.
Regardless of troubles in the past, Harris Teeter’s merger with Kroger has allowed them to maintain its identity and continue to operate as its own entity.
I am glad to live only a few miles away from Harris Teeter. Growing up with them, I have warm and fuzzy feelings about the store. No judgment, please!
Known as the grocery store “where there’s a helpful smile in every aisle,” Hy-Vee makes this list for all its offerings.
The food courts in many of its stores offer comfort foods and international fare.
The Iowa-based chain has been delighting customers for decades with a rabidly customer-focused experience from start to finish.
The meat department and fuel savings are two reasons Hy-Vee gets high marks.
But the customer service provided at the company’s stores makes the experience at a Hy-Vee store unique.
Have you ever passed a Lidl store and thought you were looking at an airport terminal?
Perhaps you have even confused the store for Aldi? No matter what, Lidl has marketed itself as another unique grocery store with a killer selection of groceries and made-in-store options.
The company prides itself on low prices and its private label selection of goods.
Not only can you get groceries at Lidl, but the store also carves out real estate in the middle of its stores for household goods like blankets, pots and pans, and even power tools.
One of Lidl’s best-kept secrets is their cheap energy drinks. For less than a cup of coffee, you can get enough of a boost to put Red Bull to shame.
I admit to buying a case of these if I am feeling particularly squirrely.
Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods Market is a grocery store so nice that Amazon decided to buy it.
I will go ahead and get the “Whole Paycheck” joke out of the way since that is the first thing people say about this store.
Yes, you will pay a premium for food at Whole Foods, but you receive quality items in exchange.
Whole Foods has cornered the market on high quality due to its meat selection and organic offerings.
Since Amazon purchased the company, Whole Foods is also available for delivery through Amazon Prime.
Forgive me if you have never heard of WinCo Foods before.
Considering the store’s footprint is out west, my west coast audience is probably cheering at the sight of the store on this list.
Anyways, WinCo lands here because of pricing and overall customer experience. The company’s pride comes from offering low prices and 24-hour service across many stores.
The company’s bulk offerings also provide low prices and high value for bargain shoppers.
The company only accepts cash or debit cards at their stores, helping cut credit card fees.
Do you have your Kroger Plus Rewards card? We hope you do because you do not want to miss out on the savings and Kroger Fuel Points.
Kroger is one of the best grocery stores in America for many reasons.
The Cincinnati-based company has over 2,800 locations nationwide and focuses primarily on deal-hungry middle-class customers.
Kroger accomplishes this goal due to its loyalty program and mobile app.
Kroger also has gas stations at many of their locations where the savings continue.
Kroger loyalty club members receive an automatic 3-cent reduction when they fuel up at a Kroger gas station.
The company’s fuel points from grocery purchases can be redeemed for up to $1 off per gallon.
Market Basket might be one of the smallest chains on this list with 90 stores, but that will not stop me from giving the company a spotlight.
With stores primarily in New England, Market Basket has a reputation for community-focused stores and an aggressive pricing model that even Consumer Reports enjoys.
Still, this small chain boasts billions in revenue each year. There must be something in the water in New England for Market Basket customers.
New Seasons Market
Another west coast favorite, New Seasons Market’s footprint lies primarily in Oregon, Washington, and California.
New Seasons sells plenty of organic offerings, a favorite among the more environmentally-conscious customers in that region of the U.S.
Food advocacy is one of this company’s pillars as well, as it was one grocer who joined the push to label foods created with GMOs.
Still, with a high-quality food selection and affordable prices, New Seasons is a winner in my eyes.
Why does Stew Leonard’s land on this list with only seven stores in its footprint?
The company, thanks to an assist by Ripley’s Believe It or Not, bills itself as the “world’s largest dairy store.”
When you walk into Stew Leonard’s, you are hit with enough dairy products to make you wonder if you have landed in dairy heaven.
Milk, ice cream, yogurt, cheeses, and hundreds of other dairy products receive top billing at this New England chain.
You can also enjoy the wide variety of produce, an excellent bakery selection, and plenty of everyday staples to make your trip to Stew Leonard’s worth it.
Best Grocery Stores
- Trader Joe’s
- Harris Teeter
- Whole Foods Market
- Winco Foods
- Market Basket
- New Seasons Market
- Stew Leonard’s
These 15 grocery stores are the cream of the crop in my opinion. I love a place where I can go to find a wonderful meal selection and an atmosphere that makes me feel at peace with buying my family’s food.
Wherever you shop for groceries, count yourselves among the fortunate if you shop at these best grocery stores in America. Happy shopping!
Check out superfoods you can get at these popular markets if you’re looking to improve your health!