Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores

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2009/04/07 09:39:11 (permalink)

Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores

Top 10 supermarkets
1. Wegmans
2. Trader Joe's
3. Publix
4. Raley's
5. Harris Teeter
6. Fareway
7. Costco
8. Whole Foods
9. Market Basket
10. WinCo Foods
Source: Consumer Reports survey of readers
 
http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2009/04/consumer_reports_survey_ranks.html
 
#1

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    Sundancer7
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 09:43:09 (permalink)
    Sadly, none of them are in Knoxville, TN.
     
    I did notice that Publix is now in Chattanooga.  Perhaps they are in the process of moving into Knoxville.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #2
    Greymo
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 09:50:07 (permalink)
    I certainly agree that Wegmans is the very best.   I just wish that there was one closer to me. 64 miles round-trip is not something that I do that often but when I do go, I come home loaded down with great meats and cheeses that I could never find at any other store.

    Best of all, I can stock up on the items that I was used to buying all the time in Central New York. 
    #3
    Scorereader
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 09:54:41 (permalink)
    Greymo, I'm in the same boat as you. If only there was a Wegman's closer to me. Right now, I use Harris Teeter, which is a very good experience - although, Wegman's has more to offer. Still, Harris Teeter beats the pants off the other DC grocery stores.

    Wegman's is supposed to open a store in PG County, only 20 mins from my house in NE DC. If that happens, I'll be a Wegmans regular, once again.
    #4
    wheregreggeats.com
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 09:56:48 (permalink)
    No Safeway ???

    Seriously, I'm not sure statistically how they can do a national survey for regional chains.

    Yet I have been to most and concur with the list overall.

     

    #5
    Davydd
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 10:01:46 (permalink)
    I've been to most of those stores too since it was part of my job to know supermarkets but the list is only as good as opinions dominated by location and voter numbers and thus is an unbalanced survey. I can agree with Wegman's but there is a glaring omission in the Byerly's chain in Minneapolis/St. Paul. I would put them neck and neck with Wegman's and way above the others.
    #6
    Niagara
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 10:16:35 (permalink)
    I agree with Wegmans as #1 - we always stop there when we're back home in WNY.
     
    Here in the Midwest, my favorite is Hy-Vee.
    #7
    David_NYC
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    No Wonder Newhouse is in trouble; they don't charge for advertising 2009/04/07 10:36:25 (permalink)
    This article is nothing more than free advertising for Consumers Union. Neither the Syracuse Post-Standard or Consumers' Reports web sites gives the complete list of 69 chains. You can read it for free when the May issue hits your local supermarket. Or subscribe to either the print edition of the magazine or the web site.
     
    Frankly, web sites such as Yelp will make those Consumer Reports reader surveys obsolete.
     
    The article would be helpful to Central New York Readers if they included all the chains that trade in the area, and their rank in the listings. What if #11, #12, #13, and #14 all had branches in the Central New York area? Those ratings would be helpful information to people who paid money to buy the Post-Standard. Do people in Central New York really care about Harris Teeter?
    #8
    seafarer john
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    Re:No Wonder Newhouse is in trouble; they don't charge for advertising 2009/04/07 10:47:04 (permalink)
    I'm not aware of any of the top ten having a store here in the mid-Hudson Valley -with the possible exception of Costco. We're stuck with  Shop Rite, StopNShop, Hannafords, and a pretty good three store local chain, Adams Fairacre Farms. 

    Cheers, John 
    #9
    chewingthefat
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 10:58:21 (permalink)
    Amen on Wegmans, they are breaking ground in Frederick, Maryland very soon.
    #10
    MiamiDon
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 11:15:15 (permalink)
    Davydd

    I've been to most of those stores too since it was part of my job to know supermarkets but the list is only as good as opinions dominated by location and voter numbers and thus is an unbalanced survey. I can agree with Wegman's but there is a glaring omission in the Byerly's chain in Minneapolis/St. Paul. I would put them neck and neck with Wegman's and way above the others.


    Davydd,
     
    The article says nothing about Consumer Reports' methodology used to handle the 39,000+ survey responses.  We know nothing about possible stratification and weighting.
    #11
    6star
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    Re:No Wonder Newhouse is in trouble; they don't charge for advertising 2009/04/07 11:38:35 (permalink)
    None of these 10 are in central Illinois.  In the article, they say Aldi's comes in at #14.  Aldi's?????  We do have Aldi's here, but if you have read the Aldi's thread, you know that Aldi's probably should be placed at least down to #35 or #40 out of 59, because of a very limited availability of national brands, produce variety and meat.  They mention Wal-Mart is near the bottom because of perishables and service, but Wal-Mart has a much better selection in all the food categories than Aldi.  As a result, even though Consumer Reports is known for being extremely fair in their product testing, I would really question the reliability of this entire survey.
    post edited by 6star - 2009/04/07 11:52:22
    #12
    Davydd
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 11:49:43 (permalink)
    MiamiDon

    Davydd

    I've been to most of those stores too since it was part of my job to know supermarkets but the list is only as good as opinions dominated by location and voter numbers and thus is an unbalanced survey. I can agree with Wegman's but there is a glaring omission in the Byerly's chain in Minneapolis/St. Paul. I would put them neck and neck with Wegman's and way above the others.


    Davydd,
     
    The article says nothing about Consumer Reports' methodology used to handle the 39,000+ survey responses.  We know nothing about possible stratification and weighting.


    I'm knowledgeable enough to know whatever the methodology that it is flawed. It is no better than surveying for the best hamburger. Survey responses can only be from familiarity. Having researched and designed supermarkets and visited most of them around the country as part of my job along with once confidential information about supermarkets I'll stick with my opinion that it is flawed and nothing more than a familiarity and popularity survey and little to do with an actual objective ranking of best.

    I do concede Wegman's. I was blown away by the Fairfax, VA Wegman's and its $999 per lb. truffles right there in produce (but under lock and key).
    #13
    mbrookes
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 14:30:09 (permalink)
    There are none of those located in Jackson, MS, and probably not anywhere in the state. We have (other than Walmart) Kroger, Brookshires, Piggly Wiggly and a local chain (four stores) called McDade's.
    McDade's is my favorite, but I do go to Kroger for more variety.
    #14
    Scorereader
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 15:18:07 (permalink)
    Davydd,

    Notwithstanding your expertise on designing supermarkets, you should be aware that consumer satisfaction is indeed an important factor in consumerism. And, this aspect can be quantified and the statistical information can be compared across the board. While your epertise is indeed important, knowing the opinions of the consumer on their satisfaction of the grocery store they patron, is, if not important to you, important to the grocery store owners. I would think though, that some of the statistical information would be helpful to designers.  

    The result of this survey does not mean that Wegmans is the best grocery store. This same type of statistical information is done for colleges, and believe it or not, one can compare the stats from those students surveyed at a SUNY school to those surveyed at a UNC school to those surveyed at a UC school.  Of course, the SUNY student has no point of reference to compare his education to that of a UC student, but these surveys don't address that. They merely ask about their experiences at their own school. They don't have the students compare their own college to another. The survey taker does not do the ranking. In this case, one's own shopping experience is surveyed, not a survey of their own experience at one store compared to their own experience at another store. The statistical information that is gathered can later be used to compare the stores, but the questions in this type of survey does not have the person rank grocery stores. That would be a bad survey, since people cannot possibly have enough experiences at every grocery chain in the US to make a fair assessment - because people will vote for the one they are most familiar. Instead, this survey compares familiarity and asks the survey taker to rate that to which they are familiar, not to compare the familiar with the unfamiliar.

    So, what this survey tells us, is that people who shop at Wegmans feel more satisfied with their experience than those who shop at Harris Teeter. And the reasons could be numerous. And in fact, it's the ratings of each component that is compiled and quantified and used to rank the stores.

    This is not a hamburger comparison, but rather, a comparison of perception of those who consume. Who feels more satisfied, the consumer of In and Out burgers or Five Guys burgers? Which ever the answer, that result is not a supposition of which burger tastes better. So, while the rating does not tell us which burger is better, it does tell us how people feel about the whole experience.

    This is important statistical information for businesses: "How was your experience?" Certainly, quality may be a part, even a large part, of one making their decision on whether the experience was good or bad. But, it's not the only part.

    Take for example tours given by tour guides. Same tour, two different people. One person speaks loud enough and clear enough, the other doesn't. same tour. Same information, same basic product. Two toally different experiences. The tourists can rate the product: good info, interesting info, relevant info, etc. They can also rate the speaking ability of the tour guide, his body language, his attitude, etc etc. All of that plays into the experience of the tour. And, the tourist can rate that experience, without ever having gone on another tour before. They simply give their rating (not ranking) of the various elements of the tour. Surely, the owners of the tour, would want this information.

    Same is true of grocery stores.
    #15
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 15:23:47 (permalink)
    Scorereader
    This same type of statistical information is done for colleges, and believe it or not, one can compare the stats from those students surveyed at a SUNY school to those surveyed at a UNC school to those surveyed at a UC school.  Of course, the SUNY student has no point of reference to compare his education to that of a UC student, but these surveys don't address that. They merely ask about their experiences at their own school. They don't have the students compare their own college to another. The survey taker does not do the ranking. In this case, one's own shopping experience is surveyed, not a survey of their own experience at one store compared to their own experience at another store. The statistical information that is gathered can later be used to compare the stores, but the questions in this type of survey does not have the person rank grocery stores. That would be a bad survey, since people cannot possibly have enough experiences at every grocery chain in the US to make a fair assessment - because people will vote for the one they are most familiar. Instead, this survey compares familiarity and asks the survey taker to rate that to which they are familiar, not to compare the familiar with the unfamiliar.


    Score I think what Davydd was referring to is the inherent unbalance in the way you might collect information on grocery stores when there is, let's say, 1000 of this store versus 25 of that one.  I have no idea how Consumers Union addressed this--I do know that their sampling schemes tend to be quite good and that I trust most information that comes from them.  I would suspect they did some sort of a weighted rank, corrected for the number of stores of each type in operation.
     
    As for your college survey analogy . . don't get me started.  I could go all day.  ;)
    #16
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 15:40:35 (permalink)
    How can Costco be consider, what with a required membership fee and appeal to businesses?
    #17
    WarToad
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 16:14:20 (permalink)
    Unfortunately, none of them in the northern tundra of North Dakota.

    I would kill for a Whole Foods.  The closest one is 7 hours away in Minneapolis.  About twice a year I make a very long day roundtrip roadtrip to stock up on goodies.
    #18
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 16:19:18 (permalink)
    ..but you guys can hunt your own bison and bear and elk and antelope eh?
    #19
    WarToad
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 16:25:06 (permalink)
    Deer, elk, moose, bighorn, yes.  But I haven't seen any bears.  You can buy bison in the grocery store next to the beef, there's a plethora of it.

    You made me check what's in my deep freeze.

    Duck, pheasant, dove, deer sausage, and elk loin.  No bison.  But thats always in the grocery store.
    #20
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 16:44:33 (permalink)
    We can get bison here at Krogers but not the other meats.
    #21
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 16:45:15 (permalink)
    We can't ever spell plethora around these here parts!
    #22
    Davydd
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 17:15:15 (permalink)
    It's still hamburger no matter how you try to explain it. Consumer Reports is representing the list as THE 10 BEST grocery stores in the nation no different than the surveys that rank 10 best colleges or hamburgers. No one person or group can know. It is just a subjective popularity and familiarity survey with misleading implications in the way it's reported as an objective absolute. Perhaps one cannot understand what I am saying if one has never visited or shopped a Byerly's, and yes they compete with Trader Joe's, Costco and Whole Foods on that list in the Twin Cities, and in terms of service, appearance, quality and variety those three are not in the same league. About as different as North Carolina and Syracuse in basketball. Maybe I have too much knowledge but I look at it with a jaundice and suspicious eye.
    #23
    Davydd
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 17:18:13 (permalink)
    Bison and elk are quite ubiquitous in Twin Cities stores, but it all comes from bison and elk farms not wild.
    #24
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 17:18:45 (permalink)
    I think it may be a Communist conspiracy.
    #25
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 17:19:44 (permalink)
    We are in awe of those  who use the word ubiquitous!
    #26
    David_NYC
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    Use Google News to find articles from around the country. 2009/04/07 18:16:46 (permalink)
    I just used Google news to search for articles in other media outlets. One of the articles credited the AP for the report. A lot of re-write guys around the country included the rankings of the supermarkets trading in their area, while leaving out mention of those chains that didn't trade in their area. 
    There are 70 Google hits at present for this story from local media outlets around the country.
     
    EDIT: from other media outlets:
    Bi-Lo #35
    Fool Lion #53
    Walmart #56
    BJ's Wholesale #42
    Tops #51
    Giant Eagle #46
    Sav-A-Lot #29
    Winn-Dixie #55
    Shaw's #57
    The Tenglemann concentration camps: A&P: #58 and Waldbaum's #59
    Safeway #44
    Giant Landover #54
    Super Target #20
    Sam's Club #38
     
    Here is the story on PR Newswire:
    http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=PRNI2&STORY=/www/story/04-06-2009/0005001804&EDATE=
     
    Finally, the writer of the original story at the Syracuse Post-Standard wrote that the article goes on sale May 6th. Maybe he meant April 6th?
    post edited by David_NYC - 2009/04/07 18:49:58
    #27
    the ancient mariner
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    Re:Use Google News to find articles from around the country. 2009/04/07 18:33:37 (permalink)
    When in Rome ----- and when in Wherever do as the whereverians do.

    Here in Florida Publix is king (and queen) it is numero uno and way ahead of numero two.  I have shopped till I dropped in Wegman and in Trader Joe's and both are great, but they ain't here so -----#3 moves up to #1.  PUBLIX is Great !!!!!!  Clean and neat, the help is helpful and polite---and the prices are as good as they can be-----Love Publix. 
    #28
    Scorereader
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 19:28:24 (permalink)
    Davydd

    It's still hamburger no matter how you try to explain it. Consumer Reports is representing the list as THE 10 BEST grocery stores in the nation no different than the surveys that rank 10 best colleges or hamburgers. No one person or group can know. It is just a subjective popularity and familiarity survey with misleading implications in the way it's reported as an objective absolute. Perhaps one cannot understand what I am saying if one has never visited or shopped a Byerly's, and yes they compete with Trader Joe's, Costco and Whole Foods on that list in the Twin Cities, and in terms of service, appearance, quality and variety those three are not in the same league. About as different as North Carolina and Syracuse in basketball. Maybe I have too much knowledge but I look at it with a jaundice and suspicious eye.

     
    Sorry, I have to disagree on the "hamburger" comment. I agree, that the way the Post Standard has reported, that they are making it a "best grocery store" list, but, hey, they need to sell newspapers. But it's not mere popularity. Since the survey takers are not ranking grocery stores, popularity doesn't fold in the mix. See, the survey taker is not rating 59 grocery stores, the taker is rating just the one store named at the top of the survey. 
     
    Why Byerly's was not chosen for inclusion into the study is unknown, perhaps it did not meet the requirements for inclusion. Ideally, one would need to read the whole article to see the qualifications that needed to be met to be included as one of the stores where the survey was used. My guess, is that Byerly's (and Lunds) are not regional enough, since the stores are found in and around only one metropolitan area.
    Any "best" list is always subject to a critical eye, but to pass it off as a mere popularity vote is imprudent. When one designs a grocery store, I'd imagine that the consumer, to some degree, is considered in the design. Surveys on customer satisfaction are one way to see what works for the consumer and what doesn't. From lighting, to color palette, to signage, etc. The grocery store, I would guess, would be inviting and set up an atmosphere where shoppers feel they want to shop. And this is definately part of the experience and leads to overall satisfaction.
     
    To ignore customer sentiments and opinions is bad business. One cannot merely look at sales figures to know if folks like the store where they shop. Customer surveys that inquire about the customers' experience are vital if the grocery store wishes to improve in a way that will be appreciated by their customers.
     
    Your argument would be spot on if consumers were ranking grocery chains and/or answering the same questions for all 59 stores. However, that wasn't the case. So, popularity isn't an issue. And if CNY/WNY people overly love Wegmans to the point that the result are skewed, well then, it begs the question as to why they are so passionate about Wegmans? What is Wegmans doing that makes their customers more appreciative of them, than customers of other stores are of their own store?
    And, for the record, since you mentioned them, I should point out that Trader Joe's, Costco and Whole Foods are not in the same league as Wegmans, either. Neither is Harris Teeter (although their customer service in DC is fantastic), but that's the closest decent place near me - so I'd place Wegmans #1, since there is two within the DC metro area, and Harris Teeter is #2 here. I have to put HT ahead of Trader Joe's because TJ's is not a full service grocery store - so I can't do ALL my grocery shopping there. So, when I leave TJ's, although I have enjoyed myself (and feel awesome about the great deals on niche foods), I'm a little depressed because I know I'm not done with the shopping list. So, I end up at Harris Teeter anyways.
     
     
     
     
     

     
    post edited by Scorereader - 2009/04/07 19:37:03
    #29
    Scorereader
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    Re:Consumer Reports: Top Grocery Stores 2009/04/07 19:44:26 (permalink)
    of course, I do see my hypocrisy in that I state that the survey was not comparitive, rather only the results were comparitive, and then I go ahead and compare grocery stores at the end of my post. Ah well, what can I say? I simply have to live with the fact that I am a walking contradiction.
    #30
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