Consumer Reports says that one-third of their readers have switched grocery stores in the past year. The main reason was to get better prices, but their readers also switched in search of better selection, shorter lines, or more courteous staff.
In an eight page report in the May issue, 52 grocery stores were ranked by Consumer Reports readers on service (which combines customer satisfaction with employee courtesy and checkout speed), perishables (quality of meat and produce), price and cleanliness. Of the stores operating in Iowa, Fareway ranked highest at #4, Costco at #5, and Hy-Vee at #9. Aldi and Target were 20 and 22. Can you guess which store came in lowest? Walmart Superstores ranked at the bottom (51 out of 52)
Fareway received the highest rating in all the categories. Costco was rated lower in service, HyVee was knocked because of high prices. Aldi got good ratings for price and Target rated high in cleanliness. Walmart was rated low in service and cleanliness but got a favorable rating in price.
Money Saving ideas mentioned in the article include:
- Using store brands. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed said they used store brands and 89% of those said store brands were as good as national brands.
- Unit pricing. It would be wonderful if more states required this, but only 9 states do and there is no standard formatting so it can be hard to compare.
- Paying attention to the sale flyers. Some items are priced below cost to get you to the store. However not everything in the sale flyer costs less than the regular price. (it’s the same as specials in a restaurant—specials are not necessarily cheaper or even something that is not on the menu all the time—they are just a shout out to a “special” meal.
- Coupons. The report mentions that more coupons now require you to buy multiples and the coupons expire quicker than they used to.
- Loyalty cards or senior citizen savings. I have used these in other parts of the county, but they are not being used much in Iowa.
If you would like more tips to reduce your spending on groceries check out our shopping tips at SpendSmart.Eat Smart.