GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Trips to the grocery store have come with a fair amount of sticker shock lately. Inflation is among the many reasons your receipt may make you want to weep.
With that in mind, you may be interested in what Consumers' Checkbook found when they recently rated grocery stores in our area for price and quality. They say, these days, people are shopping at multiple stores to get what they need.
“The ratings we get from our subscribers is that they are rating several different grocery stores as opposed to just one and I think that's been a big change,” says Kevin Brasler with Consumers’ Checkbook.
"A lot of consumers are shopping at three or four different places each month depending on what they are looking for,” he adds.
In other words, you can't have your cake and eat it, too.
“The lowest-priced stores, which are Aldi and Walmart, and also the big membership warehouse clubs, don't tend to rate very well for things like fresh produce and customer service and keeping things in stock,” says Brasler.
“The highest-rated stores, which are places like Byerlys and Lunds and Kowalski’s, tend to have higher prices,” he says.
Cub, Walmart and Target were low in price, but also low in customer satisfaction and selection of produce and meats. Whole Foods prices were high. Consumers' Checkbook says in some cases, they were 31% higher than competitors. And what about relative newcomer to our area, Hy-Vee? Where did it rank when it comes to prices and satisfaction?
“It's a traditional supermarket, you can probably find everything you need there, and its prices are a little lower than Cub's but its survey customers rate it far higher than Cub,” Brasler says.
The absolute lowest prices were at Trader Joe's and Aldi, but shopping at these stores will almost certainly guarantee you another stop at a more traditional grocery chain. But there was one place that seemed to meet in the middle.
"Fresh Thyme is like the standout because it's the one place where you can get low prices and also, it rates pretty favorably in terms of how it rates for fresh produce and meat and other things,” he says.
So, if low prices and high quality are what you are looking for, you might need to go exploring, and if you get lost in the frozen foods section, well, at least you'll have ice cream.
Consumers' Checkbook also looked at grocery delivery. They say stores like Cub and Hy-Vee are typically cheaper because they have their own built-in delivery services. And if you order from Instacart, pay attention to pricing: There are large markups at some stores.
You can read more about what Consumers' Checkbook found here.
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