These Are the Most Expensive (and Least Expensive) Grocery Stores in America

No matter where you shop, grocery shopping gets expensive. But you may be making it worse on yourself by choosing a store that’s known for its high prices. Eat This, Not That! reports that according to Consumer Reports data, it’s pretty clear which grocery stores are the most expensive, and which are the least expensive.

Below, check out the stores where you can waste your money on groceries, and the stores where you’re likely to find great deals.

1. Acme

Acme Markets

Acme Markets | Acme Markets via Instagram

  • Most expensive or least expensive? Most
  • Region? Northeast

Another northeastern chain that lands on the list of the most expensive grocery stores? Acme, which Eat This, Not That! notes numbers among the priciest places you can do your grocery shopping. Philadelphia Magazine characterized Acme as the most expensive grocery store out of four different Philly grocery stores — and was even more expensive than Whole Foods, which most people think of as the priciest option.

Next: This chain will overcharge you for items you can find elsewhere. 

2. The Fresh Market

The Fresh Market

The Fresh Market | Miosotis Jade/Wikimedia Commons

  • Most expensive or least expensive? Most
  • Region? Nationwide

It’s not just regional supermarket chains that sometimes charge their customers exorbitant prices for their groceries. The Fresh Market, a chain with locations nationwide, lands on the list of the most expensive grocery stores in the country. Saving Advice reports that when you shop at a chain like The Fresh Market, you’ll get overcharged for items that you can buy for a lower price at another grocery store or even from the farmers market. (At least most of Fresh Market’s produce is local and high-quality.)

Next: This regional chain doesn’t have the best prices by a long shot. 

3. Giant Eagle

Giant Eagle

Giant Eagle | Giant Eagle via Facebook

  • Most expensive or least expensive? Most
  • Region? Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia

Giant Eagle has locations in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. But if you live in one of those states, you might want to think twice about shopping at this supermarket chain, which has some of the highest prices in the country. Penn Live reports that Giant Eagle may end up being cheaper than other regional alternatives like Wegmans, Karns, and Weis, but it’s still far from your most economical option.

Next: This chain isn’t trying to offer rock-bottom prices. 

4. Harris-Teeter

Harris Teeter

| Mike8411251995/Wikimedia Commons

  • Most expensive or least expensive? Most
  • Region? South

Many southerners are probably pretty familiar with Harris-Teeter. Some people love it. But even if you have one of these supermarkets in your hometown, you might want to do your grocery shopping elsewhere to avoid the chain’s high prices. Harris Teeter, which The Charlotte Observer reports is now owned by Kroger, competes closely with Publix, which means that it’s not trying to offer customers rock-bottom prices like some other chains. And the chain has also cut prices on organic and perishable groceries to attract shoppers who would otherwise patronize Fresh Market and Whole Foods.

Next: This grocery chain doesn’t have a great reputation. 

5. Jewel-Osco

Jewel Osco

Jewel Osco | Jewel Osco via Facebook

  • Most expensive or least expensive? Most
  • Region? Midwest

Midwesterners should watch out for Jewel-Osco, a supermarket chain that lands on the list of the most expensive grocery stores in the United States. Forbes contends that the chain has become complacent, at least with its Chicago-area stores. “Stores aren’t updated, and many are dark and shabby, poorly stocked and staffed by associates who seem overworked or under-inspired.” Combine that with high prices and you should probably steer clear if you can.

Next: This grocery store has a hard time keeping up with the competition. 

6. Randalls

Randalls grocery store

Randalls | Randalls stores via Instagram

  • Most expensive or least expensive? Most
  • Region? Texas

Randalls, a regional chain you’ll find in Texas, makes the list of the most expensive grocery stores in America, as per Consumer Reports. A subsidiary of Albertsons, this chain is reportedly struggling in the very competitive grocery market. The Houston Chronicle reports that at least in the Houston area, the chain has a hard time keeping up with heavyweights such as H-E-B, Kroger, and even Walmart. So if you want the lowest prices, you might want to start shopping elsewhere.

Next: Shoppers don’t like buying groceries at this store.  

7. Shaw’s

Shaw's grocery store

Shaw’s grocery store | Shaw’s supermarket via Instagram

  • Most expensive or least expensive? Most
  • Region? New England

Many people love their regional grocery chain. And the New England-based Shaw’s is no exception. But if you’re searching for good prices, you should look somewhere else, as per the Consumer Reports numbers. The Boston Globe reported years ago that high prices were already hurting the “once-flourishing” grocery chain. In addition to steep prices, customers also complain about the poorly-trained staff and rundown stores. And in Boston and beyond, many shoppers can point to better alternatives for their grocery shopping.

Next: Everyone considers this grocery store expensive. 

8. Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods

Whole Foods | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

  • Most expensive or least expensive? Most
  • Region? Nationwide

Everybody has heard someone complain about spending their entire paycheck at Whole Foods. That’s probably because this nationwide supermarket chain numbers among the most expensive grocery stores in the nation, as per the Consumer Reports data. Whole Foods has defended its high prices in the past, attributing them to the quality of its high-end offerings. The chain did reduce some of its prices after Amazon acquired it, but Money reports that shopping at Whole Foods is still “super expensive.”

Next, let’s take a look at the cheapest grocery stores that you can find in the United States.

Next: This chain has a smart strategy for keeping prices low. 

1. Aldi

Aldi

Aldi | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

  • Most expensive or least expensive? Least
  • Region? Nationwide

We’ll start the list of the least expensive grocery chains with Aldi, which according to Clark Howard, offers some of the lowest prices in America. People love this discount supermarket, which can give customers great prices in part because it doesn’t rely on expensive, name-brand items. Instead, most of the offerings on its shelves are private label. The stores also have a much smaller selection than traditional supermarkets, and the stores aren’t particularly pretty. But if you’re anything like other shoppers, you’ll love the low prices.

Next: Many people love this huge store. 

2. Costco

Costco Wholesale warehouse

Costco | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

  • Most expensive or least expensive? Least
  • Region? Nationwide

If you’ve heard people rave about Costco but have never set foot in the warehouse store yourself, you may want to see what all the fuss is about. (It’s about low prices, as the Consumer Reports data puts Costco on the list of the least expensive grocery stores in the nation.) Time notes that Costco’s bulk sizes aren’t for everyone, and some people think that big-box warehouse stores can’t last forever.  But if you know what to buy at Costco and make your Costco trips work for you, it can be one of the cheapest places to buy your groceries.

Next: People love the low prices at this chain. 

3. Fareway Stores

Fareway big rig

Fareway truck | Source: Fareway via Facebook

  • Most expensive or least expensive? Least
  • Region? Midwest

Don’t assume that all regional grocery chains charge their customers exorbitant prices. Fareway Stores, a chain with locations in the midwest, lands on the list of the least expensive grocery stores in the nation. The Simple Dollar reports that Fareway, like Aldi, is a discount grocery store. “Fareway exists in a ‘middle ground‘ between ALDI and a typical grocery store in that they do some things much like ALDI (limited selection, tight cart control, narrower aisles, smaller stores), but other things like a typical grocer (multiple brand choices for many items),” the publication explains. Plenty of people must love that model because the store has a devoted following.

Next: This grocery store outperforms Walmart at its own game.

4. Market Basket

Market Basket grocery store

Market Basket | Market Basket via Instagram

  • Most expensive or least expensive? Least
  • Region? Northeast

Next on the list of the cheapest grocery stores in America? Market Basket, a supermarket chain with locations throughout the northeast. The Boston Globe reports that Market Basket manages to keep its prices low by stocking each of its stores with the same products, and buying in large quantities. And PYMNTS explains that the small chain manages to beat Walmart at the grocery game by keeping its stores clean, well-stocked, and easy to navigate. Plus, the staff always seems happy to be there, and can help you find things.

Next: People love the unique products at this grocery store. 

5. Trader Joe’s

Sign at Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s has stores across the U.S. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

  • Most expensive or least expensive? Least
  • Region? Nationwide

Another nationwide chain that lands on the list of the least expensive grocery stores? Trader Joe’s. Business Insider reports that Trader Joe’s keeps prices low by selling its own private label products instead of name-brand items. That way, it buys goods directly from suppliers and offers products that shoppers can’t buy anywhere else. Plus, as Today reports, people are willing to wait in long checkout lines to get the Trader Joe’s products they love.

Next: Shoppers can get better deals at this grocery chain than at Walmart. 

6. WinCo

WinCo groceries with shopping bag

WinCo groceries | Source: WinCo via Facebook

  • Most expensive or least expensive? Least
  • Region? West

If you live in a western state — the region where WinCo stores abound — you may want to check out this grocery chain. Eat This, Not That! explains that according to the Consumer Reports data, this store is one of the cheapest places to buy groceries in the United States. Time once noted that experts were calling this low-cost grocer “Walmart’s worst nightmare,” noting that WinCo sells products for a whole lot cheaper than Walmart by purchasing goods directly from farms and factories. The result? Savings that you’ll notice if you start shopping at this regional chain.

Next: People love this warehouse store chain. 

7. Woodman’s Markets

Couple shopping together in grocery store

Grocery shopping | iStock.com/gpointstudio

  • Most expensive or least expensive? Least
  • Region? Wisconsin and Illinois

Woodman’s Markets is another regional chain, and one that makes Clark Howard’s list of the least expensive places to buy your groceries. Grocery.com notes that this small chain “has embraced the warehouse model, whereby stores are spaced in a foot range of 200,000-250,000 square feet. This is contrary to normal grocery stores that have a range of 50,000-75,000 square feet.” By purchasing in bulk, it can fill those huge stores with groceries offered at low prices — a plus for shoppers looking for a bargain.

Read more: These Are the Best-Selling Products at Costco, Including 1 Surprising New Item That People Can’t Get Enough Of

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