Most of us rely on grocery stores for our daily needs. They are the places where you can find everything you might need to live from fruit and vegetables to dry goods, meat, dairy products, laundry detergents, paper towels, and so much more.
Many people favor farmers markets for some of their weekly shopping (check out our tips for shopping at farmers markets), but farmers markets aren’t always open and don’t provide the ease and convenience of grocery stores.
This article is based primarily on personal experiences with varied grocery store chains in America. We considered price, quality of products, freshness of produce, customer service, and store cleanliness.
Check below to see if your favorite store made our list of the top 5 grocery store in America.
That’s H-E-B; you pronounce the letters. They stand for Howard E. Butt, which sounds like a playground taunt but was the actual name of the supermarket chain’s founder. Nowadays, the initials also stand for “Here Everything’s Better,” the store’s slogan.
HEB is famous for its private-label foods. They make just a ridiculous number of products for their stores, ranging from the obvious—flour, peanut butter—to the, um, less obvious. Things like Texas-shaped tortilla chips, apple celery juice, Bayou Brothers Creole Sauce, sangria flavored soda, and, of course, That Green Sauce.
A privately held supermarket chain, H-E-B operates over 370 stores throughout Texas.
Trader Joe’s is a chain of grocery stores based in California, owned by a German private equity family trust. By 2015, it was a competitor in “fresh format” grocery stores. Trader Joe’s has over 475 stores nationwide in 43 states.
Trader Joe’s was founded by Joseph “Joe” Coulombe in 1958. The first store branded as “Trader Joe’s” opened in 1967. Germany’s Theo Albrecht bought the company in 1979 as a personal investment for his family.
While a typical grocery store may carry 50,000 items, Trader Joe’s stocks about 4,000 items, 80 percent of which bear one of its own brand names. Trader Joe’s describes itself as “your neighborhood grocery store.” Products include gourmet foods, organic foods, vegetarian foods, unusual frozen foods, imported foods, domestic and imported wine and beer, and staples such as bread, cereal, eggs, dairy, coffee, and produce.
Costco Wholesale is a multinational corporation that operates a chain of membership-only warehouse clubs. Costco has over 740 warehouses in the U.S. and Canada and nine other countries. Costco has a presence in 44 states and nine Canadian provinces.
Costco focuses on selling products at low prices, often at very high volume. These goods are usually bulk-packaged and marketed primarily to large families and businesses. Furthermore, Costco does not sell multiple brands or varieties when the item is essentially the same except when it sells its highly popular house brand, Kirkland Signature label. This results in high volume of sales from a vendor allowing reduction in price. A typical Costco warehouse sells 4,000 distinct products while a typical Walmart Supercenter carries 140,000 products.
Fred Meyer is a chain of superstores founded in 1922 in Portland, Oregon, by Fred G. Meyer (not to be confused with Frederik Hendrik Meijer, founder of the Meijer superstore chain, based in Michigan). The company was one of the pioneers of one-stop shopping, eventually combining a complete grocery supermarket with a drugstore, clothing store, shoe store, fine jewelers, home decor store, home improvement center, garden center, electronics store, toy store, sporting goods store, and more under one roof.
Fred Meyer stores are located in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska. The company merged with the Kroger food empire in 1998. Although the company is now an entity of Kroger, the stores are still branded Fred Meyer.
Rouses Supermarkets is a chain of over 55 grocery markets in Louisiana, Mississippi Gulf Coast, and Mobile (Alabama) area. Bon Appétit rated Rouses one of the eight best supermarket chains in the country citing one very important reason: Rouses is dedicated to local food culture as exemplified in its sponsorship of the World Championship Crawfish Eating Contest in mid-February.
Andouille, tasso, and boudin sausages are handcrafted in-house by their “Bayou Boys”; meat is smoked and seafood boiled every day. Helpful and pleasant employees. Never a long wait in line. Great meat and seafood department and bakery.
I ate another apple pie and ice cream; that’s practically all I ate all the way across the country, I knew it was nutritious and it was delicious, of course.
―Jack Kerouac, On the Road