The 12 Worst Supermarkets In America


ot all supermarkets are created equal. For many Americans, stopping by a chain supermarket has become a major chore, involving long lines, rude employees, unsanitary conditions and poor selection. Consumer Reports recently conducted a survey of more than 24,000 shoppers to rank the best and worst out of 52 grocery store chains – and the results show just how disappointing customer experience can be at some megastores.

Back in 1930, King Kullen Grocery Company in New York’s Long Island became the first supermarket (though some have disputed the claim) that offered a one-stop-shopping experience for groceries. Today, Walmart is currently the largest grocer, accounting for 22 per cent of American food sales in 2010, followed by Kroger, Costco and Safeway. The portion of the market taken up by the four largest grocers in the U.S. continues to increase – accounting for 37 per cent of food sales in 2010, up from less than 4 per cent in 1912. 

The consolidation has given consumers fewer shopping options – more than half of those surveyed by Consumer Reports had at least one complaint about their current store, while nearly a third cited two or more issues. The biggest complaint was a lack of open checkouts, followed by crowded or dirty aisles.

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12. Stop & Shop

11. ACME

10. Ralph's

Reader Score: 73
Location: Southern CA
Year Founded: 1873

Ralphs, a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based Kroger and the oldest supermarket chain in the west, had similar marks as Stop & Shop -- mediocre on everything but cleanliness, which was just above average. Ralphs had a strong presence in Northern California for years, but closed down all of their remaining northern locations in 2006.

9. Pick 'n Save

Reader Score: 73
Location: WI
Year Founded: 1872

Pick 'n Save, operated by Roundy's Supermarkets, fell alongside Ralphs and Stop & Shop -- not terrible, but zero positive ratings except in cleanliness. The chain has struggled in recent years as more competitors have opened in nearby areas, and 62 employees at the corporate headquarters in Milwaukee were laid off in 2010.

9. Food Lion

Reader Score: 73
Location: Mid and South Atlantic regions
Year Founded: 1957

Food Lion was mediocre across the board. Customers weren't even just a little bit satisfied with cleanliness, service, food quality, or price. Originally known as Food Town, Food Lion recently announced it would be closing 113 stores, including all Florida locations, and rethinking their marketing strategy.

7. Weis Markets

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