The 15 Most Hated Grocery Store Chains in America

What makes one grocery store better than another? Plenty, according to the most recent Consumer Reports survey of more than 50,000 respondents.

Supermarket shoppers are looking for quality produce, fresh meat, short checkout lines, decent prices, and overall cleanliness in their grocery store shopping experiences. Failing to provide those basics may have disastrous results for retailers. In fact, in the cutthroat world of grocery stores, “three in 10 shoppers switched supermarkets due to poor selection, long lines, awful food, or dirtiness.”

While online shopping is changing the face of many categories, most people are still relying on brick and mortar stores to stock their pantry shelves. That means supermarket owners who want to stay competitive need to focus on the overall customer experience, which is much more than just product selection. Some are doing a fantastic job of catering to picky customers, while others are racking up complaints left and right.

Read on to see which grocery stores have the worst reputation in the business.

15.  Lucky

Supermarket aisle | iStock.com/Gopixa

Score: 73 out of 100
Locations: California

This California-based chain was far from the worst but nowhere near the best, thanks to their slow checkout speeds and mediocre produce and meat quality rankings. Unless they can get their act together in those areas, Lucky risks losing customers to better-ranked chains. Californians have a reputation for demanding high-quality offerings, after all.

14. Vons

woman holding a bag of fruit

Woman holding a bag of fruit | iStock.com/Choreograph

Score: 73 out of 100
Locations: California and Nevada

Even though they only have locations in two states, Vons would attract more loyal customers if they worked on improving their pricing, checkout speed, organic selection, and produce quality — all areas where they only received fair marks, earning them the 14th worst spot on the list. They are acing cleanliness and staff courtesy, however, and scored a ranking of good in those areas.

13. Price Chopper

grocery store aisle

Grocery store aisle | iStock.com/Sakkawokkie

Score: 73 out of 100
Locations: Northeast U.S.

With origins dating back to 1900 and more than 130 stores in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire, this discount grocery store scored the worst in the organic options portion of the poll. However, they had a range of responses from fair to good in all other areas. Interestingly, the company cites sustainability as a key initiative for their go-forward strategy.

12. Giant Eagle

empty supermarket aisle

Empty supermarket aisle | iStock.com/Paulprescott72

Score: 73 out of 100
Locations: Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, and Maryland

While they ranked high for prepared food selections and store cleanliness, that wasn’t enough to keep this Eastern supermarket chain off the list of the worst grocery stores. Potential life-long customers gave them low marks when it came to competitive pricing and range of organic options.

11. Winn-Dixie

Empty cash desk

Empty cash desk | iStock.com/Grigorenko

Score: 73 out of 100
Locations: Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, and Mississippi

Down in the South, you’ll find Winn-Dixie — but that doesn’t mean you’ll want to shop there. This subsidiary of Southeastern Grocers, the second largest supermarket chain in the Southeast, achieved ratings that ranged from fair to good in all 12 categories, such as cleanliness and speed of checkout. Overall, they’re not the worst, but they’re also far from the best.

10. Martin’s

Woman grocery shopping in a supermarket

Woman grocery shopping in a supermarket | iStock.com/Minerva Studio

Score: 73 out of 100
Locations: Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia

This mid-Atlantic chain has been consistently serving customers since 1925. Still, they only earned fair ratings for key categories like organic options, produce quality, checkout speed, and pricing. For that reason, they’re No. 10 on the list of the worst grocery chains.

9. Giant

Supermarket goods shelf

Supermarket goods shelf | iStock.com/12963734

Score: 72 out of 100
Locations: Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland and Virginia

They have forward-looking features like a store app with weekly coupons, but that’s still not enough to keep them off the list. Impressively, Giant didn’t get a poor ranking for any category, but instead scored fair across the board, earning themselves the No. 9 spot on the most hated list.

8. Jewel-Osco

Milk aisle | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Score: 72 out of 100
Locations: Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana

When it comes to competitive pricing and range of organic options, potential customers ranked this Illinois-based grocer as poor. The rest of the 12 categories saw higher marks of fair to good. So how can Jewel-Osco attract and keep their clientele? Increase the size of the organic section — but keep it cheap.

7. Pick ‘n Save

Supermarket blurred background

Supermarket checkout area | iStock.com/Kwangmoozaa

Score: 71 out of 100
Locations: Wisconsin

Looking for a range of organic options? Don’t bother visiting Pick ‘n Save. This chain ranked as poor in this key area and only pulled in fair marks for checkout speed, produce quality, and pricing.

6. Safeway

Facing view of an aisle

Looking down an aisle | iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia

Score: 71 out of 100
Locations: Western and Central U.S.

You’ve probably heard of Safeway before, but popularity isn’t always a good thing. With over 2,200 stores in 33 states and the District of Columbia and employing approximately 265,000 people, this chain is clearly doing something right. However, they’re not doing well when it comes to organic selection, where customers ranked them as poor.

5. Acme

Many different drink bottles

Beverage aisle | iStock.com/Kwangmoozaa

Score: 70 out of 100
Locations: Delaware Valley and NYC Metropolitan Areas

Acme isn’t the supermarket of your dreams if you’re in search of great pricing and organic selection. Faring terribly in these key categories helped to put this retailer at No. 5 on the list of the worst grocery chains. After a disastrous attempt at expansion that ended in a quickly opened and closed New Jersey offshoot, Acme would do well to reevaluate their priorities.

4. Stop & Shop

lady shopping with a full filled cart

Person shopping with a filled cart | iStock.com/Freer Law

Score: 69 out of 100
Locations: Northeast U.S.

With mostly fair marks across the board, Stop & Shop could be way worse. They did score poor marks when it came to checkout speed and pricing on their organic fare, but store cleanliness wasn’t bad and healthy options were plentiful. Their go-forward strategy for success? Open some more registers.

3. Shaw’s

Supermarket shelf

Supermarket shelf | iStock.com/Nirad

Score: 68 out of 100
Locations: New England

They date all the way back to 1860 and still rate as fair in the average consumer’s eyes. Most categories saw fair marks except for competitive pricing, produce quality, and organic pricing, where they ranked as poor. Those bad ratings helped them earn the No. 3 spot on the list.

2. Top’s Friendly Markets

People shopping in a large supermarket

People shopping in a large supermarket | iStock.com/Ljupco

Score: 68 out of 100
Locations: New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Vermont

Top’s ranked as good for store cleanliness, but that’s about it. In all the other 12 categories, shoppers rated them as fair or poor and were especially dissatisfied with organic options and produce quality. Still, it wasn’t enough to rank them as the worst store — an honor that goes to the final grocery chain on our list.

1. Walmart Supercenter

walmart employee

No. 1 worst store | Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Score: 66 out of 100
Locations: Nationwide

With $485.9 billion in revenue and 1.5 million associates employed in the U.S. alone, Walmart is far and away the nation’s biggest retailer. But in the end, size and power is not enough to keep customers happy. While they’ve made huge efforts toward improving their organic selection, they fared worst on the list thanks to poor marks in seven out of 12 categories, including cleanliness, staff courtesy, checkout speed, produce and meat quality, and local produce selection. The only category for which they ranked very good was competitive pricing.

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