Clark Howard: Rating the best and worst grocery stores

A new tally of supermarkets names a Northeastern regional chain as the best grocery store in the nation.

Consumer Reports has crunched the data and found Wegmans to be the top pick. For those who are not familiar with Wegmans, this is a store that has been consistently adored through the years by people who shop there.

In second place, we have Trader Joe’s, the national alternative grocer that is a real crowd pleaser and distinguishes itself by doing natural and organic food for less money. In third place, we have the Southeastern regional chain Publix, which has topped the American Customer Satisfaction Index for 17 years.

At the other extreme, the lowest score was earned by Northeastern chain Pathmark. Adding insult to injury, they’re the only supermarket chain that got a bad score on cleanliness, and they actually beat out Walmart for being bad.

According to Consumer Reports, 32 percent of Walmart grocery shoppers reported having three or more problems at the store, while 31 percent of Pathmark shoppers reported the same. Though the one area where Walmart does do a great job in is price. (No surprise there!)

However, the price champ of them all, Aldi, got a very good score. They were not near the very top, but they still did well. So not only do you get the good prices with Aldi, but you have a shopping experience that people found pleasant.

Consumer expert Clark Howard's column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark's website. And get more savings tips from Clark's previous blog posts.

-- Clark Howard -- Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs -- for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

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