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America’s Best Supermarkets 2016

America’s Best Supermarkets 2016


All supermarkets are not created equal. Choosing the right store for your needs means a more pleasant experience as you check-off the box on this errand.

Click here for America’s Best Supermarkets slideshow.

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From hypermarkets that offer a one-stop shopping experience to the specialized organic food retailers, there are stores to suit everyone’s needs, time-constraints, and dietary concerns. We asked readers to choose their favorite spots from a list of national and regional supermarket chains based on the stores' range, quality, and availability of products; cleanliness; and level of customer service.

When we first asked, where America shops in 2014, we reached out to a group of trusted food bloggers who spend countless hours shopping for the perfect ingredients where they shop and what stores are reliable fixtures in their lives. From their responses, we crafted a principle list of supermarkets.

Last year, we opened the voting up to the public, asking our readers for input in choosing the top 35 grocery stores in America. A lot has changed in a year. National chain A&P, which once operated more than 15,000 stores, filed bankruptcy in November of 2015, closing all locations and affiliated stores like Pathmark.

A growing trend of health-conscious shoppers has pushed chains, such as Sprouts Farmers Market, Wegmans, and Whole Foods Markets focused on fresh, local, and organic produce up in the ranks. Meanwhile, beloved regional stores like Stew Leonard’s and Lowes Foods made the cut, proving even smaller chains can have an impact on shoppers’ habits.

This year, we asked once again that our readers rank the best supermarkets in America, and many votes later, we have compiled a list of the top 35 stores in the country. Read on to find out if your favorite store made the cut.

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Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.


The 10 Best Supermarkets in America: 2020

It&aposs remarkable how the unthinkable can just sneak up on you, like it did back in early March, when very nearly overnight, the American supermarket transformed from predictable part of our daily lives to something most of us had only read about in history books.

For weeks, Americans, so accustomed to having it all at the snap of their fingers, were left prowling picked-clean aisles, eagerly snapping up the last box of unusually-shaped pasta, the last dented tin of garbanzo beans nobody wanted, eventually realizing it was probably smarter just to stay home.

The supermarkets slowly began to recognize this as well, lumbering out of panic mode and into safety mode. Suddenly, the keepers of that last, vital link in the food supply chain were being hailed as frontline workers, keeping the country fed for very low pay, fighting in a battle they never signed up for.

Months have passed now, and still, in big cities across the country and sometimes even small ones, we wait in lines, long lines, to get in, following floor markers and wearing masks, feeling victorious each time we see paper towels or our favorite brand of mayonnaise on the shelves. Life comes at you fast, and this year it came like a freight train. We’re all part of the story now, and nobody can say, not for certain, anyway, when and how all of this ends.

Things were very different the last time Food & Wine spotlighted the best supermarkets in the country. In 2019, our needs were simpler—we wanted to know where to find the best values, the best product. Each chain was judged heavily on the relationship with its respective community, or communities. The world has changed, but the criteria has not. If anything, we’re just taking these things more seriously.

Throughout America, unemployment is skyrocketing, the economy is struggling—more than ever, value matters. Quality rolls right into this need, as well—we’re cooking at home, some of us more than we ever intended to in this lifetime. So where can we find the best of everything, once again, at a price we can afford?

The events of 2020 have thrown a spotlight on so many problem areas in our society. After decades of corporate gains, it took a pandemic to highlight the increasing difficulties faced by hourly laborers in America. While some chains reported record sales, supermarket cashiers—suddenly in one of the riskiest jobs outside of healthcare—were too often asked to report for duty without an increase in pay, or safety precautions. Even as the country began locking down in March, management at too many grocery stores were battling with their employees over simple protections like masks and gloves.

Tensions boiled over, predictably a preexisting conflict between Amazon-owned Whole Foods and its workers only intensified, while do-no-wrong Trader Joe’s blindsided loyalists with their response to a small but vocal segment of its workforce that dared to show interest in organizing, at a moment when many felt that their lives were on the line.

This was just one of so many challenges that shoppers faced—how to show solidarity? Would taking your business elsewhere even do any good? Very few of our favorite stores passed the pandemic test with flying colors, after all. Some regional favorites struggled mightily with the new normal, almost stubbornly dragging their heels while dozens of their employees fell sick, leaning on early-days opaque CDC guidelines. Others, remarkably, went above and beyond, leading the way on worker protections, compensation, and expanded health benefits, very early on in the crisis.

One cannot help but be the slightest bit impressed by the timing of this hopefully once-in-a-lifetime event, which sent everybody home, rather urgently, and into their kitchens. The pandemic arrived on our shores in the middle of a lengthy and sustained period of evolution in American food culture, a time in which supermarkets have been impacted mightily, and often for the better. After well over a decade of significant change, during which Americans became increasingly interested in eating well, the country has better access to higher quality food than at any other time in recent memory. (Who is the number one seller of organic foods in the United States, these days? Walmart, that’s who.)

Very few communities of any size are left lacking at least one premium alternative to the standard chain offerings, whether it be a Whole Foods, a Sprouts, a Fresh Market, or a smaller, well-liked regional brand. Best of all, remote grocery shopping had already become simpler than ever, before this started. From store-operated curbside pickups at Wegmans, to Walmart’s nearly on-demand grocery delivery, backed by a thoroughly dynamic inventory keeper, it was possible, if you could tolerate doing so, to pretty much stay home indefinitely.

Some of us, a great deal many of us, it seemed, retreated to the internet entirely, relying on promising mail-order sites like Thrive Market, or Public Goods, or Mercato, all of which were immediately overwhelmed, but managed to weather the storm, and in the process gained streams of new customers. Everyone was hiring, to keep up with demand—Instacart alone announced it was aiming for a quarter of a million more shoppers across the country. Supposing you did not love going to the supermarket, before all this kicked off—the way the industry seems to be battling it out on home delivery, your prayers have been answered.

Whether you choose to never set foot in the store again, or you’re stuck at home longing for a return to normal at your old favorites—is Whole Foods even Whole Foods, without the olive bar?—you’ll want to know where to spend your grocery dollars wisely, and there were some clear winners this year. There wasn’t a corner of the business left unpillaged by the virus, but the question was, how did they respond? What steps were taken, when did they take them, and what are they doing now?

Quite simply, we wanted to know: Who do we want in our foxhole, now, and, let’s hope not too far into the future? Who did we want leaving our two-week supply on the doorstep, or in the trunk of our car? By virtue, no major corporation made up of human beings is ever going to be perfect, but here are ten companies we felt did their damndest.


The Fresh Market Named Best Supermarket in America

The Fresh Market was named the “Best Supermarket in America” by USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. The panel of 10Best local experts and contributors nominated their favorite American supermarkets based on value, selection, and service. Readers could then cast their vote for their favorite supermarket once per day for a 28-day period through the 10Best website.

“Out of the hundreds of supermarkets in America, we are thrilled to be voted number one,” said Jason Potter, president and CEO of The Fresh Market, in a statement. “Over the last year, we have immersed ourselves in achieving our goal of becoming one of America’s Most Loved Brands and this award proves that customers are recognizing our improvements and we greatly appreciate their business and support.”

Founded in 1982 as a European-style fresh food market by Ray and Beverly Berry, The Fresh Market has become a destination for those looking to discover the best including convenient, restaurant-quality meals, hand-picked produce, premium baked goods, fresh-cut flowers, custom-cut meats and carefully curated offerings for holidays and special occasions.

“This achievement is a true testament to our team members who offer impeccable guest service every day,” Potter continued. “We’re looking forward to continuing our mission of offering the highest quality fresh food and creating the best experience for our guests in 2021 and beyond.”

Hy-Vee took the second slot on the top 10 list, followed by Lidl, Market Basket, Aldi, Stew Leonard’s, Publix, Sprouts Farmers Market, Wegmans Food Markets, and Trader Joe’s.


America’s Most Popular Supermarket May Surprise You

Consumer experience and satisfaction have been in decline over the past few years (well, duh) but it appears to have stabilized a bit, including within the supermarket category. This is all according to a new report from The American Customer Satisfaction Index , a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of quality for U.S. products and services.

to market! Best Reusable Grocery Bags to Buy in 2020 The index used data from interviews with roughly 85,000 customers to compile a score between 1-100, rating grocers on everything from cleanliness to store layout and the quality of meat and produce. While the larger grocery category average score held steady at 78—following a two-year dip in score from 2016-2018—certain individual supermarket chains fared better than others in the report.

H-E-B , a privately owned supermarket chain with locations in Texas and Northern Mexico, took the top slot, tied with Trader Joe’s , whose founder passed away last weekend, and Northeast-based Wegman’s , all scoring an 84 on the index. These were followed by another three-way tie between ALDI , Costco, and Publix , who each racked up a respectable 83.

Down at the bottom of the index is national chain Albertsons and discount grocer Sav-A-Lot, which each scored a 75, with big-box superstore Walmart bringing up the rear, clocking in at 73. Whole Foods, now owned and operated by Amazon, landed in the middle of the pack, scoring a 79 for the second straight year, while BJ’s Wholesale makes the biggest jump, adding four points to its 2018 score.

Find the full Customer Satisfaction Index for U.S. supermarkets below.

  • H-E-B – 84
  • Trader Joe’s – 84
  • Wegman’s – 84
  • Aldi – 83
  • Costco – 83
  • Publix – 83
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club – 82
  • Sam’s Club – 80
  • ShopRite – 80
  • Kroger – 79
  • Target – 79
  • Whole Foods (Amazon) – 79
  • Hy-Vee – 78
  • Meijer – 78
  • Ahold Delhaize – 77
  • Giant Eagle – 76
  • Southeastern Grocers – 76
  • Supervalu – 76
  • Albertsons Companies – 75
  • Sav-A-Lot – 75
  • Walmart – 73

Do you agree with these rankings? Let us know in the comments below.

Header image courtesy of Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury / Getty Images.


The Fresh Market Voted The Best Supermarket In America

GREENSBORO, N.C. , April 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- USA Today's 10Best Readers' Choice Awards has recognized The Fresh Market as the "Best Supermarket in America" for 2021. A panel of 10Best local experts and contributors nominated their favorite American supermarkets based on value, selection and service. Readers could then cast their vote for their favorite supermarket once per day for a 28-day period through the 10Best website. The list of the top 10 winners can be found online here.

"Out of the hundreds of supermarkets in America, we are thrilled to be voted number one," said Jason Potter , President and CEO of The Fresh Market. "Over the last year, we have immersed ourselves in achieving our goal of becoming one of America's Most Loved Brands and this award proves that customers are recognizing our improvements and we greatly appreciate their business and support."

The Fresh Market's rich heritage dates back to 1982 when founders Ray and Beverly Berry opened the first store in Greensboro, North Carolina after returning from a trip to Europe with a vision to emulate the charm and essence of a European-style fresh food market. The initial store differentiated itself from conventional supermarkets by offering a farmer's market atmosphere and intimate epicurean experience, and it became the blueprint for the 159 stores that stand today.

As The Fresh Market's roots as a specialty retailer evolved to meet the needs of guests, it has become a destination for those looking to discover the best including convenient, restaurant-quality meals, hand-picked produce, premium baked goods, fresh-cut flowers, custom-cut meats and carefully curated offerings for holidays and special occasions. The intimate and personalized shopping experience that is still offered today is enhanced with team members who are a hallmark of The Fresh Market providing exceptional hospitality.

"This achievement is a true testament to our team members who offer impeccable guest service every day," said Potter. "We're looking forward to continuing our mission of offering the highest quality fresh food and creating the best experience for our guests in 2021 and beyond."

For more information about The Fresh Market, visit www.thefreshmarket.com or check out The Fresh Market on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

SOURCE The Fresh Market, Inc.

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Bitcoin Slumps as Traders Brace for a Volatile Long Weekend

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America’s Test Kitchen Everyday French Toast (Ep 2016)

We developed this recipe to work with presliced supermarket bread that measures 4 by 6 inches and is ¾ inch thick. Be sure to use vegetable oil spray here it contains lecithin, which ensures that the oil stays well distributed, preventing the toast from sticking. Top with maple syrup or confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 slices hearty white sandwich bread

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Adjust 1 oven rack to lowest position and second rack 5 to 6 inches from broiler element. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Generously spray bottom and sides of 18 by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Whisk eggs, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in large bowl until sugar is dissolved and no streaks of egg remain. Whisking constantly, drizzle in melted butter. Whisk in milk.

2. Pour egg mixture into prepared sheet. Arrange bread in single layer in egg mixture, leaving small gaps between slices. Working quickly, use your fingers to flip slices in same order you placed them in sheet. Let sit until slices absorb remaining custard, about 1 minute. Bake on lower rack until bottoms of slices are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer sheet to upper rack and heat broiler. (Leave sheet in oven while broiler heats.) Broil until tops of slices are golden brown, watching carefully and rotating sheet if necessary to prevent burning, 1 to 4 minutes.

3. Using thin metal spatula, carefully flip each slice. Serve.

PHOTO CREDIT: CARL TREMBLAY

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Our members were generally pleased with customer service they gave just 11 stores below average scores for employee helpfulness and attentiveness.

A notable exception was Walmart Supercenter, the only grocer out of 96 to get a red chevron, our lowest rating, for this attribute. However, Walmart earned a favorable rating for competitive prices.

“This rating is not one that we ever want to have, but it is also not indicative of the overall program,” said Molly Blakeman, a Walmart spokesperson. “We appreciate your feedback, it’s going to help us make the service better overall.”


Costco

Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

Score: 65%

Although tied with WinCo, Costco edged out their competitor by ranking second for value for money with 81 percent of people agreeing their dollar goes far at the wholesale shop. That's about the only attribute the membership retailer excels in every other metric ranks Costco towards the top of the middle of the pack.


Consumer Reports Reveals The 10 Best Supermarkets In America

Americans spend a lot of time and money grocery shopping. The average shopper visits the store about 88 times a year, spending upwards of $6,000.

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The top three stores — Wegmans, an East Coast chain, Trader Joe's, a Southern California-based specialty food chain, and Publix, a Southern chain — all had high marks for service and cleanliness.

Wal-Mart had a bad reputation among customers, ranking dead last. Customers complained about slow checkout speeds and subpar food quality.

Here are the top 10 supermarkets, according to Consumer Reports:

1. Wegmans (83 stores in the mid-Atlantic region, in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia)

Consumer Reports Reader score: 88. Best service, Best perishables, Good prices, Best cleanliness

2. Trader Joe's (408 stores in 30 states) Consumer Reports Reader score: 87. Best service, Good perishables, Best prices, Best cleanliness 3. Publix (1,080 stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee) Consumer Reports Reader score: 85. Best service, Best perishables, Okay prices, Best cleanliness 4. Costco (648 stores worldwide)

Consumer Reports Reader score: 84. Okay service, Best perishables, Best prices, Good cleanliness

5. Sprouts Farmers Market (150 locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, Kansas and Georgia) Consumer reports Reader score: 84. Good Service, Best perishables, Good prices, Good cleanliness 6. Market Basket (71 supermarkets in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine) Consumer Reports Reader score: 83. Good service, Good perishables, Best prices, Good cleanliness 7. Raley's (85 stores in California and Nevada) Consumer Reports Reader score: 83. Good service, Best perishables, Bad prices, Best cleanliness 8. Fairway Stores (14 stores in the tri-state area) Consumer Reports Reader score: 83. Best service, Good perishables, Best prices, Good cleanliness 9. Stater Bros. (167 stores in California) Consumer Reports Reader score: 82. Good service, Good perishables, Best prices, Good cleanliness 10. WinCo Foods (93 stores in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Texas) Consumer Reports Reader score: 81. Okay service, Okay perishables, Best prices, Okay cleanliness And the bottom five on Consumer Reports' ranking: 51: Pick 'n Save: Reader score: 72 52. Acme: Reader score: 70 53. Pathmark: Reader score: 70 54. Shaw's: Reader score: 69 55. Wal-Mart Supercenter: Reader score: 67

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Whole Foods

279 stores in 38 states and Washington, D.C.

natural-foods chain would make the list, but who knew it would hands-down top it? &ldquoIt&rsquos the Rolls Royce of healthy eating,&rdquo says Kate Geagan, a nutritionist in Park City, Utah, and one of our judges. Whole Foods has the whole package&mdashfrom an extraordinary selection of fresh conventional and organic fruit and vegetables to delicious prepared foods with healthy ingredients and clear labeling. (Most other stores offer mystery meals that may very well be loaded with butter.) And Whole Foods puts a premium on products that are grown or produced locally (read: superfresh).

There&rsquos also hard-to-find grass-fed meats, ready-to-cook organic and free-range chicken, and a well-stocked selection of just-caught seafood. The desserts are pretty good for you: Every item in the bakery is free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, and trans fats. Our judges also raved about Whole Foods&rsquos snacks, singling out the store&rsquos own dark chocolate, fresh-cut veggies, and nut and seed mixes. Alan Greene, MD, a Palo Alto, California&ndashbased pediatrician and one of our panelists sums it up best: &ldquoThe store celebrates great, healthy food from start to finish.&rdquo


The Fresh Market Named Best Supermarket in America

The Fresh Market was named the “Best Supermarket in America” by USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. The panel of 10Best local experts and contributors nominated their favorite American supermarkets based on value, selection, and service. Readers could then cast their vote for their favorite supermarket once per day for a 28-day period through the 10Best website.

“Out of the hundreds of supermarkets in America, we are thrilled to be voted number one,” said Jason Potter, president and CEO of The Fresh Market, in a statement. “Over the last year, we have immersed ourselves in achieving our goal of becoming one of America’s Most Loved Brands and this award proves that customers are recognizing our improvements and we greatly appreciate their business and support.”

Founded in 1982 as a European-style fresh food market by Ray and Beverly Berry, The Fresh Market has become a destination for those looking to discover the best including convenient, restaurant-quality meals, hand-picked produce, premium baked goods, fresh-cut flowers, custom-cut meats and carefully curated offerings for holidays and special occasions.

“This achievement is a true testament to our team members who offer impeccable guest service every day,” Potter continued. “We’re looking forward to continuing our mission of offering the highest quality fresh food and creating the best experience for our guests in 2021 and beyond.”

Hy-Vee took the second slot on the top 10 list, followed by Lidl, Market Basket, Aldi, Stew Leonard’s, Publix, Sprouts Farmers Market, Wegmans Food Markets, and Trader Joe’s.