Consumer Reports: Super Supermarket Survey

Walmart is America's largest grocer, but in Consumer Reports' ratings of 55 supermarkets Walmart supercenters landed at the bottom, based on a survey of 27,000 of Consumer Reports' subscribers.

Eight out of ten shoppers had at least one gripe — such as not enough open checkout lanes or items were out of stock. And Walmart earned low scores for meat and produce quality.

Many people are drawn to Walmart because of its low prices. But Consumer Reports' survey found that people thought that the prices were as low or even lower at other grocery chains. In fact, seven of the highest-rated supermarkets rated better than Walmart for price (Trader Joe's, Costco, Market Basket, Fareway Stores, Stater Brothers, Win-Co, and Aldi).

But no matter where you shop, there are good ways to cut costs.

· Buy store brands. You'll save about 20 percent on average. And in Consumer Reports' taste tests they often score as well as name brands.

· Skip cut up fruits and vegetables. Whole produce costs far less.

· Check unit pricing. It's the best way to determine which package size is the most economical.

· Skim weekly specials for big bargains. The idea is that they draw you into the store. But don't be seduced into buying more expensive items that aren't on sale.

· Beware those "ten for ten dollar" deals. You usually get the same bargain if you just buy one. So only buy what you really need.

When it comes to local scores, here's how they ranked when it came to Reader Scores:

Trader Joe's: 87

Publix: 85

Costco: 84

Aldi: 81

Harris Teeter: 81

Whole Foods Market: 80

Ingles: 78

Kroger: 77

Target/ Super Target: 77

Save-A-Lot: 77

Piggly Wiggly: 76

Bi-Lo: 76

Sam's Club: 76

BJ's Wholesale Club: 75

Safeway: 73

Food Lion: 73

Acme: 70

Walmart Supercenter: 67

To see the full survey results and how they ranked for service, perishables, prices, and cleanliness you must subscribe to Consumer Reports.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.


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