Choosing a Grocery Store: Brand Names & Quality


Ranking of Popular Grocery Stores

Is cheap food always the best option? It can be tempting to take advantage of a bargain when it comes to grocery shopping, especially since food bills are among the biggest monthly expenses for families, but are you getting the same value? Is there a difference between buying your eggs at Whole Foods or Walgreens?

Grocery stores tend to be one of two things: quality food or great prices. A 2014 study by Consumer Reports polled more than 27,000 readers to rate the best supermarket chains in America. The results reveal that bigger isn’t always better.

The same report states the average American shopper visits the grocery store about 88 times a year, spending upwards of $6,000. According to the report, the top 10 places to shop are:

  1. Wegmans
  2. Trader Joe’s
  3. Publix
  4. Costco
  5. Sprouts Farmers Market
  6. Market Basket
  7. Raley’s
  8. Fairway Stores
  9. Stater Bros.
  10. WinCo Foods

The following stores were ranked the lowest:

  1. Pick ‘n Save
  2. Acme
  3. Pathmark
  4. Shaw’s
  5. Wal-Mart Supercenter

The Consumer Report study is based on user feedback. Health polled six health experts to gauge the 35 biggest grocery store retailers in the country to determine the 10 healthiest places to shop. Using criteria like shelf life, freshness of produce, healthiness of packaged goods, available nutritional information and nutritional value, the following stores were listed among the healthiest places to shop for your groceries:

  1. Whole Foods
  2. Grocer
  3. Harris Teeter
  4. Trader Joe’s
  5. Hannaford
  6. Albertsons
  7. Food Lion
  8. Publix
  9. Pathmart
  10. SuperTarget

Store Brand Products vs. Brand Name Products

Store brand products are usually cheaper than the brand name versions. It is not always best to splurge on necessities by purchasing the most expensive brand.

The next time you are in the store, check out these generic brands that work just as well as the expensive brand, according to Business Insider:

  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Flour
  • Baking soda
  • Dried, frozen and canned fruit
  • Frozen and canned vegetables
  • Cheese
  • Cashews and walnuts
  • Mayonnaise
  • Maple syrup
  • Ketchup
  • Spices
  • Milk
  • Cereal
  • Bottled Water
  • Aluminum foil

So, when should you splurge?

Generic paper products – tissues, paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper – usually require more to get the job done, so while it is more expensive to buy the brand name, it will last longer, providing the better deal in the end.

Diapers, soda, chips, and candies top the list of products that are better when purchased by the brand name vs. the generic alternative, according to a taste-test by Daily Finance. Specifically, Pampers, Coke, Reese’s, Whoppers and Tostitos beat the generic brands.

Tips for Smart Decisions

The grocery store is full of options: healthy or cheap? Bulk or single? Fresh or frozen? The tips below can help you make decisions for you and your family based on health and budget:

  • Use a list – You are less likely to impulse purchase with a list in your hand. Bonus tip: save your list from week to week so you can easily see what kind of products you need on a weekly/monthly basis.
  • Plan a menu – A menu can help you determine if you should buy fresh or frozen. It can also help you plan to use all of your fresh veggies and fruit so they don’t go bad during the week.
  • Buy in bulk – Paper products and canned goods are good groceries to buy in bulk since they won’t go bad. Pro tip: make sure you have a place to store your materials.
  • Coupons – Spend an hour a week clipping coupons for big savings. Learn more about coupon clipping.
  • Shop during off hours – Payday, the day before major holidays and right after 5 p.m., are the worst time to go to the grocery store. Opt for late or early hours to beat the crowds

Don’t be afraid to compare the generic and name brands by quality, price and taste. Many times they can be a Name Brand Maker with an off brand or store label. When choosing a food store, consider this when deciding which choice is the best option for you and your family.

Additional Resources




  • Food Delivery, by True Digital Content and Media Company Limited, available on iTunes for free
  • Fareway Food Stores, by Blue Compass Interactive, available on iTunes for free
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