These Are the Cheapest Grocery Stores in America
These Are the Cheapest Grocery Stores in America
The 8 Cheapest Stores In America, According to This Survey
In 2018, the grocery industry expanded into areas American shoppers never thought it would—services like Whole Foods' 2-hour home delivery, Target's in-store delivery team, Kroger's decision to launch a fleet of driverless cars, and the rise of plant-based foods at nearly every major retailer (like Target, for example). But one of the most important aspects for consumers has remained the same—shoppers still care how much money can they save while buying groceries.
The team of retail experts at Consumer Reports conduct a survey every year to determine how much shoppers are spending at more than 60 recognizable chain supermarkets across the nation. They ask 50,000 shoppers about their spending habits at each grocery store—and compare prices of grocery staples at each chain, too.
Consumer Reports shared their ranking of the top eight supermarkets that scored best for affordability: While these supermarkets outperformed others by slashing prices, the following list is ranked alphabetically.
Without further ado, these are the cheapest grocery stores in America:
We're not too surprised to see Aldi on this list. The German retailer makes low-cost, private-label products the focus of its stores, which have a much smaller footprint than traditional grocery stores. Their tight business model means you'll find low-cost staples all over the store, from produce—where Haas avocados average between 50 and 70 cents each—to snacks, and ready-to-eat products You can also find gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free products at much lower prices. Aldi's prices are so aggressive that studies show their stores actually cause neighboring supermarkets to lower their prices to keep up with competition.
The first thing that pops to mind when shoppers think of Costco? Delicious rotisserie chicken for just $5—but the truth is that Costco's Kirkland products are often much cheaper than similar products elsewhere. Costco has earned a reputation for some of the best prepared foods due to a rehaul of their cafeteria menu (one of the five benefits anyone—even non-members—can enjoy.)
Grocery prices are lower due to Costco's annual membership, which averages about $60 annually. But if you're interested in shopping at the warehouse, here's how you can do it without coughing up the cash for a membership.
This is a smaller regional chain with locations in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota—but their reputation for low prices has earned Fareway serious street credit with retail experts around the nation. One of the chain's most celebrated deals? Three 24-packs of soda or other carbonated beverages for under $11. For more information about this regional chain, click here.
4) Market Basket
If you've ever visited the beaches along the beautiful coast of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or Maine, there's a good chance you've made a pit stop in Market Basket. This Northeastern chain is beloved by New Englanders for low prices and rows of self-checkout lanes—many locals compare Market Basket to Publix, a Southeastern regional chain that’s known for its BOGO deals and unique deli services.
5) Trader Joe's
Trader Joe's has racked up a list of accolades and awards so long that it's hard to keep up—it has been named America's favorite grocery store two years in a row, and shoppers can't get enough of the private-label products that TJ's is known for. Trader Joe's has more than enough healthy grocery staples to keep Cooking Light editors coming back for more: here are the 15 best items you can find in store for $5 or less.
Anyone who has ever shopped at WinCo., a warehouse-like chain clustered along the West coast and into the Midwest, will tell you that they often sell their items in bulk, which is why their prices are so shockingly low. Like other chains on this list, WinCo's stores aren't exactly modern beauties; they're designed to house groceries effectively, and staff is limited, so you'll have to bag your own groceries.
Another warehouse-style supermarket, Woodman's can be found in Illinois and Wisconsin and sells items in bulk—but shoppers don't need a membership. Woodman's is able to offer some of the lowest prices in the Upper Lakes region by accepting cash only: Woodman's saves on banking fees, which in turn creates additional savings for customers.
Bonus Mention: Military Commissaries
Did you know that the federal government actually operates a chain of larger convenience stores for some of its employees? Survey respondents said that shoppers with a valid Department of Defense ID cards can pay rock-bottom prices for more than 38,000 items sold in these stores, and prices are said to remain steady (no flash sales!) throughout the entire year.