Wegmans, Trader Joe's and Publix Among the Best.

This April 6, 2009 press release from Consumer Reports details a survey they conducted on grocers, Although Private Brand is not specifically the topic the many of grocers who fared well are often recognized for their Private Brand programs.

Consumer Reports Survey Finds Wegmans, Trader Joe’s and Publix Among the Best of 59 Grocery Chains
Changing shopping habits can slash grocery bills by as much as 46 percent; New tips to save big and avoid costly in-store mistakes

wegmans-sorbetPRNewswire – Shoppers found Wegmans and Trader Joe’s supermarkets among the most satisfying chains to shop at according to Consumer Reports latest survey of the best national and regional grocery chains.

Consumer Reports asked 32,599 respondents about their experiences at supermarkets, super centers, or warehouse clubs in the past year. In total, Consumer Reports Ratings include information from 48,831 store visits.

Rounding out some of the other top-rated chains shoppers found to be very satisfying were Publix, Raley’s, Harris Teeter, Fareway, Costco, Whole Foods Market, Market Basket, WinCo Foods, and Stater Bros.

Overall, grocers earned higher marks than in CR’s last supermarket survey (2005) for service, checkout speed, quality of store brands, baked goods, and produce. But finding the perfect store was difficult. The few chains that were spotless, offered standout meat and produce, and had helpful and friendly staff and quick checkout earned only average scores for price, at best.

The survey found it’s hard to find the perfect store. Respondents found Trader Joe’s, Costco, Market Basket, WinCo, Aldi, and Sav-a-Lot, to be better than others at offering low prices. Wegmans and Whole Foods offered praiseworthy meat and produce and Wegmans, Trader Joes and Raley’s earned high marks for service. On the other hand, the least expensive markets generally offered so-so perishables and service.

Walmart, the nation’s largest grocer and the supermarket where the highest percentage of survey respondents shopped (14 percent), landed near the bottom of the CR’s Ratings, with low scores for service and perishables. Target proved better than many chains but has only 200 locations with a full grocery store inside.

Respondents still had plenty to complain about. The biggest gripe was mostly about not enough open checkout lanes. Walmart was the worst offender: Half of the respondents who shopped there said that not enough lanes were open. Other leading gripes: congested aisles and out-of stock advertised specials. One-third of all respondents reported that they had switched stores, usually in search of lower prices.

Savvy Shoppers Can Slash Bills:
Consumer Reports found several growing supermarket trends including more visible value brands, expanded bonus-card programs, Web-site specials, longer sales, discount drugs, and more coupons, giving consumers greater opportunity to save. By doing a little homework and adjusting shopping habits, consumers can shave thousands of dollars off their yearly grocery bills.

Tod Marks, author of the Consumer Reports Tightwad Tod money-saving blog, found he could cut his bill by as much as 46 percent on the same 30 products at two stores over several days by changing his shopping strategies. First he impulse-shopped and it cost $288.26 for all 30 items. Then paying attention to price, Marks cut his cost significantly using different strategies: Savvy at supermarket: $166.22, Bulk Shopping at warehouse club: $156.16, Buying store brands at supermarket: $154.62.

Complete grocery store ratings on all 59 major national and regional changes, great everyday products more tips to save, and more on the latest grocery store trends are available in the Consumer Reports May issue or online at http://www.ConsumerReports.org starting May 6, 2009.



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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.