Wegmans, Publix and Trader Joe’s remain at the top of consumer satisfaction ratings conducted by Consumer Reports, the magazine said.
Consumer Reports ranking of 68 supermarket brands also gave good scores to Fareway Stores, Market Basket, Costco and Raley’s. Once again, America’s largest grocer, Walmart, landed at the bottom, along with A&P and Waldbaum’s.
The report, “America’s Best, Freshest Supermarkets,” which includes the complete ratings of grocery stores, is available in the May 2015 issue of Consumer Reports and at its website (subscription required).
Consumer Reports said it polled more than 62,000 subscribers, and their responses to the survey were based on 111,208 visits to traditional supermarkets, warehouse clubs, supercenters and limited-assortment stores between March 2013 and July 2014.
The top-rated supermarkets also received high scores for overall freshness — quality of produce, meats, poultry, bakery items and store-prepared foods. They also stood out for staff courtesy and sparkling clean shopping environment. Walmart Supercenters, consistently one of Consumer Reports’ lowest-rated grocers since 2005, earned low marks in every category other than price.
“Once upon a time, low prices, checkout speed and variety were attributes that mattered most to supermarket shoppers,” said Tod Marks, senior project editor at Consumer Reports. “While these aspects are still critical, more and more consumers demand better fresh foods, more organics, and a greater variety of locally made and grown foods.”
The poll indicated shoppers see their supermarket as a partner in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As a result, consumers are focusing more on fresh foods, organics and store-made meals and less on processed foods with long ingredient lists, preservatives and unpronounceable additives, Consumer Reports said.
In addition to traditional characteristics such as service and cleanliness, Consumer Reports asked subscribers to rate their grocers on the selection of local produce and the price of organics at their stores. Only around six in 10 were completely or very satisfied with the quality of their store’s produce, meat and poultry offerings, according to Consumer Reports’ survey. Just three of the chains — Wegmans and national chains The Fresh Market and Whole Foods — earned stellar produce scores. Seventeen were below average. Eighteen retailers received low scores for produce variety, notably two big warehouse clubs — Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club — as well as Target.
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