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Consumer Reports subscribers’ preferences mirror these trends.In our latest ratings of 62 supermarkets and food retailers, based on survey responses from almost 58,000 subscribers, East Coast chain Wegmans earned the top spot, a place it has held since 2006.Rather than taking a one-store-fits-all approach, some grocers are hypertargeting a single customer type and scaling back in size as a result.Those new locations offer a more “curated” grocery shopping experience—say, selling just a few choices of organic olive oil instead of many—saving shoppers the work of distinguishing among brands. The smaller-format stores feature primarily Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value products.The supermarkets that are doing well are premium stores such as Wegmans, specialty stores like Trader Joe’s, and discounters such as Win Co.
Experts say the supermarkets that have anchored many a community are struggling to compete with higher-end retailers such as Wegmans on one hand and bargain vendors like Walmart and Costco on the other.
It’s beloved for most everything, from the quality and variety of produce to the courtesy of staff.
(Our supermarket and grocery store ratings are available to subscribers.) Other stores that did very well overall include Trader Joe’s, Publix, and the family-owned Market Basket chain, serving the Northeast.
Increasingly, a commitment to principles that shoppers deem important—for instance, fair-trade goods, sustainably and locally farmed foods, and fair labor practices—also wins loyalty, says David Fikes, FMI’s vice president of communications and consumer/community affairs. One such store, Woodman’s, which operates in Illinois and Wisconsin, passes savings on by selling certain items in bulk.
Win Co, with 115 stores in the West, also sells bulk items, and takes no credit cards to avoid transaction fees.