We went shopping at Walmart and Target to see which was better for groceries, and there was a clear winner

Business Insider/Jessica TylerWalmart had a ton of fresh produce.

  • Walmart and Target both dedicate a large section of their stores to selling groceries.
  • Both stores have been adding features like same-day grocery delivery and free shipping on orders over $US35.
  • Walmart reported same-store sales were up 4.5% in the most recent quarter, and Target reported same-store sales were up 6.5% in the most recent quarter.
  • We went grocery shopping at each of the stores and found that even though the online selections were comparable, there was a clear winner between the two.

Walmart and Target have a lot of overlap in what they sell, and one of the biggest departments they compete in is grocery.

The two stores have both been working on improving their e-commerce strategies, especially when it comes to grocery. Walmart offers free two-day shipping on orders over $US35, free same-day store pickup on certain orders, and same-day delivery in New York City through Jet.com, which it acquired in 2016. Similarly, Target offers free two-day shipping on orders over $US35 and in-store pickup, and it announced earlier this year that it plans to offer same-day delivery of groceries from half of its 1,800 stores using Shipt, a delivery startup it acquired in December.

In Walmart’s earnings call in August, the retail giant reported second-quarter same-store sales were up 4.5%. It announced earlier this year that it would be remodeling 500 stores and building 20 new locations.

Likewise, in an earnings call at the end of August, Target reported same-store sales were up 6.5% in the second quarter. Target is working towards improving its physical outposts, and it plans on expanding its store fleet while many brick-and-mortar stores are closing.

Even though the stores are both performing well financially, we found one was preferable when it came to the grocery-shopping experience:


First, we went to a Walmart Supercenter store in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

At the front of the department was a bakery with fresh loaves of bread, most of which cost under $US2 for the generic store brand.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were also cupcakes, doughnuts, and snack mixes for under $US3 a package for the store brand.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

A fresh deli counter offered meals and catering.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There was a ton of fresh produce, and most fruits and vegetables were under $US2 each. Everything looked ripe and ready to be eaten.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There was an entire aisle of different salads …

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… and a ton of frozen meals to choose from. Most shelves were well-stocked.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There was an entire aisle of ice cream. A pint from brands like Ben & Jerry’s or Häagen-Dazs cost around $US3.50 on average.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Everything at Walmart was very clearly labelled and organised.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The aisles were all very wide, which made them easy to shop in, especially if it were to get crowded.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Walmart had a huge variety of different brands to offer for every type of product.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were entire aisles for chips, candy, and other snacks, but it definitely seemed to be lacking healthy options outside of fresh food.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Some areas of the store were messier than others …

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… but for the most part, everything was kept pretty tidy.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were also a few aisles that had sodas and juices from brands like Pepsi for under $US4 …

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… along with a big refrigerated section with milk and other dairy products.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Near the exit were a ton of self-checkout counters, and the line was moving quickly.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

All in all, I was impressed by how much fresh food Walmart had. The wide aisles and clear organisation made it an easy shopping experience, and everything was inexpensive. The one thing it seemed to be missing was healthier food options.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Next, we went to a Target store in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The grocery department was definitely a lot smaller than at Walmart. Target has historically lagged behind its competitors when it comes to grocery prices and freshness.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Source: Business Insider


Like at Walmart, there was a section with breads and baked goods, but there was less to choose from, and the products were slightly more expensive.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There was produce, but there wasn’t nearly as big of a selection, and it didn’t seem as fresh. Most fruits and vegetables were under $US4 each. While at Walmart the prices were displayed on huge signs, Target’s were not nearly as obvious. Sometimes it was hard to find a price on specific items.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Target also had a lot of fresh vegetables and several different types of salads, but it was a much smaller aisle than we found at Walmart. Most fresh foods at Target were $US1 or $US2 more expensive than at Walmart.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were a lot of frozen meals …

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… but those were more expensive, too. A pint of ice cream from brands like Ben & Jerry’s or Häagen-Dazs cost around $US4.80 on average at Target.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were a lot more empty shelves at Target than at Walmart …

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… and products and prices weren’t labelled as clearly at Target.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The aisles were a lot more narrow, too.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Target didn’t have as much to choose from as far as snacks like chips and candy …

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… but it had more healthy options, which were clearly labelled with a “nutritious” sticker or a “better for you” sign.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Like Walmart, there were a lot of self-checkout counters near the exit.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

While Target did have a lot in store, Walmart definitely had a bigger variety of groceries at what seemed to be lower prices. It lacked healthy snacks, but it had a lot more fresh fruits and vegetables. Even though both stores have similar grocery offerings online, Walmart was the clear winner.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

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