I wish there were one grocery chain with good prices and all the foods I buy on a weekly basis. But that place does not exist. The Washington Post just did a survey of local chains, and readers reported that prices are about the same at Giant, Wegmans, and Harris Teeter.
Interestingly, prices at Safeway were about seven percent higher than the three previously mentioned. That’s too bad because the closest store to me is Safeway. If I’m in a hurry to get something specific, that’s where I shop. There’s also Whole Foods. They are expensive, and in the survey people reported that the quality has gone down since Amazon bought them. I’ve found that too. I used to buy stuff from their prepared food tables. Now I rarely do. The food lacks flavor, and sometimes it looks like salads have been sitting around.
The chains where you could save the most were Food Lion and Walmart. Walmart’s prices were sixteen percent below average. I don’t know much about their quality because these stores are not on my beaten path. Plus, buying groceries at Walmart means standing in line behind people buying tea kettles and underpants.
The Post also reported on the no frills stores, Lidl and Aldi which have a more limited selection. The closest one of those to me is Lidl, but I prefer Aldi.
They have a lot of products that I buy regularly like salsa, fire roasted diced tomatoes, whole grain bread, canned beans, and cat food. Their produce is also good. Unfortunately, the selection is limited. If I want fresh parsley, rutabaga, or artichokes, I have go to a traditional grocery store. But they have great buys on colored peppers, bananas, potatoes, and clementines. And I like their meat. One nice perk is that it’s vacuum packed, so it keeps in the fridge for ten days or maybe longer. (This is also true of Wegmans.) Aldi is a regular stop for ground beef, stew beef, sausages, corned beef and fresh salmon. Sadly, dh does not eat chicken, so I rarely buy it anywhere.
When I’m doing a big shopping, I usually start at Aldi and get what I can there. Then I go on to Wegmans or Harris Teeter, to get the things I couldn’t find at Aldi. I have been saying “I,” but actually dh and I go together. We each get a cart and meet up periodically and keep in touch by phone while we shop. That cuts the time–particularly since we’re going to two stores. And if we’re in the mood for bulk buying, we also stop at Costco or BJ’s, which both have better prices than any of the normal grocery stores.
I find the biggest selection of products at Wegmans. They carry the specialty spicy cheese dh loves. They also have great smoked salmon, whitefish salad, and cream cheese spreads to go with their bagels. Their meat is good quality. They also have a good deli department, where I sometimes buy meat for sandwichs, and a few prepared meals that I like, although these also used to be better. Oddly, their packaged bread department is not great.
Where do you do your grocery shopping and how many stores do you regularly visit?
NY Times & USA Today best-seller, Rebecca York, is the author of over 150 books. She has written paranormal romantic thrillers for Berkley and romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue. Her romantic-suspense series, Decorah Security, is set at a detective agency where agents have paranormal powers or work paranormal cases. She also writes an Off-World series where each story is a science fiction romance taking place on a distant planet in the far future. She also writes the Unbound series for Changeling Press.