The 13 Cheapest and Best Grocery Stores


For the second year in a row, Trader Joe’s claims the top spot in a newly released survey of customer perception about supermarkets.

Customer data firm Dunnhumby took a look at almost five dozen of America’s favorite grocery stores across seven categories to determine its rankings.

RELATED: 5 simple changes you can make to cut your food bill in 2019

Trader Joe’s, Costco and Amazon for win, place and show

The 2019 Retailer Preference Index (RPI) – Grocery Edition measures consumer perception of supermarkets on important considerations like price, quality, digital, convenience, discounts, speed and operations.

This year’s RPI was developed from an online survey of 7,000 U.S. households as consumers were asked about 56 chains:

dunnhumby grocery list

Of course, the majority of people care most about those first two categories that the RPI assessed: Price and quality.

So without further ado, let’s see who topped those individual tallies…

Best Quality

Key measures of quality: Availability of fresh meat, fruits and vegetables; appetizing prepared and ready-to-eat foods; wide variety of natural/organic products and more

  1. Wegman’s
  2. The Fresh Market
  3. Trader Joe’s
  4. Publix
  5. Sprouts
  6. HyVee
  7. HEB
  8. Harris Teeter
  9. Raley’s
  10. Costco Wholesale
  11. Lowe’s Foods
  12. Peapod
  13. Ingles

Cheapest Prices

Key measures of price ranking: Having prices lower than other retailers; fair pricing on natural/organic products; and offering well-liked private/store brands

  1. Aldi
  2. Market Basket
  3. WinCo Foods
  4. Food4Less
  5. Costco Wholesale
  6. Walmart
  7. Trader Joe’s
  8. Walmart Neighborhood Market
  9. Lidl
  10. Amazon
  11. HEB
  12. Peapod
  13. Sam’s Club

Meanwhile, here’s a quick overview of the other categories and who did exceptionally well in each:

Discounts, rewards and information

Key measures: Offers frequent discounts or coupons on the items that shoppers buy regularly; robust loyalty program; and an easy to use mobile phone app

Fry’s took the top spot in Dunnhumby’s RPI rankings for this sub-section, followed by Kroger, King Soopers, Price Chopper and Smith’s.


Key measures: Offers convenient locations with the right product mix so you can do all your shopping at one store

Walmart came in tops here, followed by Walmart Neighborhood Market, Publix, Market Basket and Jewel Osco.


Key measures: Offers well stocked shelves with infrequent price changes on inventory; the right product mix; and clean, well-maintained stores

Market Basket was the winner here, followed by WinCo Foods, BJ’s Wholesale, Publix and Costco Wholesale.


Key measures: Makes it easy to shop online and offers useful email communications

Amazon took pole position, followed by Target, Peapod, Walmart and Sam’s Club.

Overall winners

When you factor in all the data above, Dunnhumby says these the overall winners are:

  1. Trader Joe’s
  2. Costco Wholesale
  3. Amazon
  4. HEB
  5. Wegman’s
  6. Market Basket
  7. Sam’s Club
  8. Sprouts
  9. WinCo Foods
  10. Walmart
  11. Aldi
  12. Peapod
  13. The Fresh Market

Final thought

Money expert Clark Howard has long sung the praises of grocery stores like Costco Wholesale, Aldi and Trader Joe’s because of the money-saving possibilities they introduce into your life.

But don’t just take his word for it. Now you have independent confirmation from the 7,000 U.S. households surveyed by Dunnhumby!

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