- Wegmans regional grocery store beat out Amazon and Costco to be the most loved brand this year.
- We consulted food blogs and online reviews to find some of the best items – and some of the worst – at America’s favourite grocery store.
- Here are 25 products to buy at Wegmans and 15 you should consider skipping.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Most online reviews of Wegmans are nothing but positive. For many, its main flaw is that it’s still just a regional store – headquartered in Rochester, New York, the chain has just 99 stores across the Northeastern US and the East Coast.
Wegmans’ list of accolades is long, including making the roundup of grocery stores Americans love and respect, having one of the biggest cult followings, and even beating out Amazon and Costco to be the most beloved brand this year. The store was also ranked as one of the best places to work in 2019.
Despite these praises, not everything at Wegmans is worth your money. Some things, like name-brand items and bulk purchases, are best saved for other stores. Meanwhile, Wegmans-brand foods – including the store’s famous chocolate chip cookies – are among the best things to take home from your routine trip to the supermarket.
Keep reading for a look at things to buy – and things to skip – the next time you visit your local Wegmans.
Buy: Freshly-made subs
Food & Wine writer David Landsel included Wegmans freshly made subs in his report after spending nearly a whole day at a local store. The subs come in three sizes – small, medium, and large – all for under $US10.50. Landsel reported the large size is big enough to feed two to four people.
In addition to the build-your-own sandwich option, the grocery store offers a fairly extensive menu of pre-made choices. Readers’ Digest and Buzzfeed both included sub menu items in their roundups of items to purchase at Wegmans – Buzzfeed also included a photo to show just how large the 14-inch sandwich is.
Skip: Name-brand items
While we all have our favourite name brand food items – from Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream – these items sometimes aren’t worth the price at Wegmans, and you can often find these items cheaper at other grocery stores or at wholesale stores like Costco.
Buy: Wegmans-brand items
To counter skipping name-brand items, shoppers should opt for Wegmans-brand items instead. While store-brand items are sometimes associated with lower quality and poorer taste – usually making name-brand items worth the extra dollar – Wegmans’ eponymous house brand is oftentimes rated better than many household names.
“Their house brand is one of the best marriages of quality and price you will ever find,” Landsel wrote.
A post on Credit.com offered advice on how to save money when shopping at Wegmans, including choosing house-brand items over big names. According to the post, a can of tomato sauce cost just $US0.79, nearly a dollar less than a $US1.69 name brand. In general,Kiplinger reported that Wegmans store brand costs $US0.82 when compared to a $US1 national brand.
Buy: Frozen waffles
Reader’s Digest notes that Wegmans-brand frozen food items in particular are extremely affordable – including waffles for just $US1.99. Refinery29 included these bargain items on its list of best Wegmans store-brand food items. A further look on the Wegmans website shows the affordable breakfast food comes in several varieties, including a blueberry flavour and a mini-waffle version.
Buy: Organic items
Additionally, many of Wegmans brand items are certified organic – and often sell for lower prices than you would find elsewhere. Wegmans is a great place to shop if buying organic is a priority for you when stocking your pantry.
Skip: Organic eggs — without the discount
That being said, there are some organic items that can be found elsewhere for the same price. Wegmans’ large, organic brown eggs are around $US4, making them no cheaper than Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
However, with a Shoppers Club card, the price drops to $US2.99, making them a steal.
Buy: Any of your favourite items with a Shoppers Club card
Wegmans Shoppers Club card is a must-have. Landsel labelled the free membership card as something “you cannot walk into Wegmans without.”
“Not only do you save a ton of money, there’s also an app that helps you keep track of everything, offers you coupons based on your shopping habits and helps you keep lists of what you like to buy,” he wrote.
Buy: Anything with a coupon
Even if you’re not a Shoppers Club card holder, coupons alone are a major perk to shopping at Wegmans. Unlike some stores, Wegmans will double coupons valued $US0.99 or less. This might seem small, but in many cases you can get items almost free of charge.
You can also stack coupons, while other stores may limit you to just one coupon per item or transaction.
Skip: Certain prepared foods that aren’t worth the price
For the most part, Wegmans prepared foods exceed all expectations of soggy, day-old salads and sandwiches. However, some reported that these items may not be worth the extra cash.
“While a lot of people make a big deal about the prepared food, I have never found it to be any better or any more attractively priced than the alternative, with a few exceptions,” Landsel wrote. “Wegmans, to put it bluntly, is a terrific place to shop if you like to cook at home. After that, it becomes just another upscale supermarket that has successfully fooled people into paying $US8.99/lb. for macaroni and cheese.”
Still, it’s worth trying a few and finding your favourite to grab when you’re short on time to make lunch at home, such as the penne rigate mozzarella salad. It’s important to note that Wegmans prepared food isn’t necessarily more expensive than competitors – but it also isn’t noticeably cheaper.
Buy: Chocolate chip cookies
Plus, kids get a free cookie when they visit the bake shop.
Cheese is something to take home from the regional grocery store, as it boasts something other competitors surely lack – its own cheese caves.
“In 2014, the grocery chain built their own cheese cave near Rochester, New York (where they originated),” Redbook writer Jessica Booth wrote. “The cheese cave is inside a climate-controlled building that was made to replicate European suppliers’ ageing techniques. There are seven ‘caves’ for soft and washed-rind cheeses that are ripened separately to keep their flavours distinct, and an entire room dedicated to brie.”
According to the store’s website, three of its cheeses took home awards from this year’s American Cheese Society Conference.
Buy: Anything you may have to return
Wegmans is known for its stellar return policy. You can return items “with no hassle,” considering no receipt is required, according to Redbook.
Buy: Rotisserie chicken
At $US5, Wegmans rotisserie chickens are the same price as Costco’s – and without the hefty membership fee. Additionally, Wegmans offers a variety of flavours – plain, lemon pepper, and BBQ. The food blog Food52 notes that purchasing the plain option is great for adding your own sauce and pairing with the pasta and vegetables of your choice for a full and easy meal.
Wegmans rotisserie chicken comes fully cooked and is prepared fresh in-store.
Buy: Seltzer or sparkling water
Seltzer remains a consistently popular drink option – and Wegmans has some of the best flavours on the market.
“When I’m at Wegmans, I stock up on the store’s house-brand sparkling water by the trunkful,” said Real Simple writer Elizabeth Sile. “They carry your usual La Croix knockoffs – lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit – but then take it to the next level with their own flavours.”
“The best part is the price: $US2.99 for 12 cans (my non-Wegmans grocery store charges $US7 for La Croix) and often further on sale with a Shoppers Club card.”
Buy: Soft drinks
In addition to Wegmans-brand seltzer, the food blog Spoon University reported that Wegmans-brand soft drinks are also a great alternative to more expensive name brands.
“Off-brand sodas have gotten a bad rep for being flat and only being offered in flavours like Cola, orange, or lemon-lime,” said Spoon University writer Priya Dhond. “Luckily, Wegmans Brand offers your popular soda flavours, while adding some creative twists on others.”
Buy: Chocolate-covered pretzels
While most grocery store sushi is definitely an item to skip, Wegmans sushi is something to rave about.
You can request special selections at the bar, where fresh sushi is made daily. The classic California roll is a fan-favourite, but Wegmans offers an extremely impressive selection for a grocery store, including plenty of options for shoppers on plant-based diets.
When a Business Insider reporter did a grocery store price comparison this year between Wegmans, Whole Foods, and ShopRite, she found Wegmans offered avocados for $US1.49 each – the same price as Whole Foods, and over a dollar cheaper than at ShopRite.
Skip: Most other fresh produce
Despite these fairly-priced avocados, it’s really your call whether you want to purchase all of your produce at Wegmans. While some sources say its produce will make you forget about other stores, others say you could find cheaper – albeit by just a few cents – fruits and vegetables at another chain, like Kroger.
Another main category buyers can choose to skip is meat. While Wegmans offers a decent selection, shoppers on Reddit have commented that the section is not necessarily better than other grocers. If you are a true carnivore, you might be happier going to your preferred local butcher of choice if you prefer not to risk the disappointment of a classic grocery store setup.
A pre-packaged meat item consumers should also avoid, however, is bacon.
A Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, news outlet reported the price differences between several major grocery stores, including Aldi, Giant, Karns, Walmart, Weis, and Wegmans.
While findings showed Wegmans was the second-cheapest chain overall, bacon was one item where it did not offer a particularly good deal.
Buy: Siggi’s Icelandic yogurt
Bicycling magazine listed the popular yogurt as one of its healthy options to buy at Wegmans, and a Business Insider reporter confirmed it was cheaper at Wegmans than other select grocery chains she visited.
Skip: Organic bananas
Skip: Pre-cut fruits and vegetables
This category has a catch – Wegmans will cut any fruit or vegetable for you, but only if you ask at the counter. Pre-cut produce is always more expensive at any grocer, and this Wegmans secret could save you anywhere from a few cents to over a dollar depending on the item.
Skip: Peeled Corn
A former Wegmans employee revealed to Business Insider’s Àine Cain that shoppers are overpaying for peeled corn, when a cheaper alternative is readily available nearby:
“Please stop buying the peeled corn for $US6, when loose corn is just five pieces for $US2,” the employee told Business Insider.
Skip: Wine by the glass
There’s no arguing that the wine-on-tap station at Wegmans is one of the coolest grocery store features to date. However, at $US6 a glass, this fun luxury isn’t worth the money – especially when entire bottles of wine for a similar price are available just steps away.
Skip: A dozen roses
While grocery stores are often a great place to pick up flowers for your significant other, Wegmans does not offer the best price for a dozen roses. Roses are listed on the store’s website for $US12, and a previous press release advertises the Valentine’s Day fan favourite for $US20.
Alternatively, The Kitchn reported that buyers can find a dozen roses for just $US6.99 at Trader Joe’s or, if you’re in need of more, two dozen for $US16.99 at Costco – both better deals than Wegmans.
Buy: Ice cream
Several sources reported that ice cream at Wegmans is definitely an item to take home. Thrillist and Refinery29 highlighted the popular s’mores variety, while Spoon University called the store brand a cheaper alternative to Ben & Jerry’s famous pints.
“Not only does Wegmans offer ice cream in flavours like traditional chocolate, vanilla, and … chocolate chip cookie dough, they also have flavours like ‘Cherry Licious’ (a store-brand take on Ben & Jerry’s ‘Cherry Garcia’), ‘Scrapin’ the Bowl’ (an alternative to Ben & Jerry’s ‘Half-Baked’) and even S’mores,” wrote Priya Dhond.
Skip: Coconut Oil
Wegmans organic coconut oil, both refined and unrefined, is priced at $US4.99 for a 14-ounce tub, while a 26-ounce tub will cost you $US8.99. Consumers can buy a 16-ounce tub at Trader Joe’s for $US5.99, but the ultimate winner is Publix, who offers a whopping 29 ounces for the same price.
Wegmans popcorn is a favourite amongst shoppers. At nearly a dollar cheaper than the popular Lesser Evil Buddha Bowl brand, this $US2.49 bag comes in an original flavour along with a sweet and salty variety for kettle corn lovers. Wegmans bagged popcorn is made with coconut oil, something the food blog Eating Well cited as a tip for shopping for healthy popcorn.
Buy: Specialty olive oils and vinegars
Both Bicycling magazine and Refinery29 highlighted Wegmans’ hot chilli pepper extra virgin olive oil. Wegmans’ blackberry balsamic vinegar is another smash hit in its specialty oil and vinegar selection.
Wegmans’ seafood selection is extensive for a regional grocery store, along with being sustainably sourced.
“I was thrilled to learn that for a portion of its fish selection, Wegmans partners with small, independent fishermen in Alaska,” The Kitchn’s Cambria Bold wrote. “Wild halibut and salmon are air-shipped to Wegmans within 24 hours of the catch.”
Buy: Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger patties
Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger patties are a popular substitute for traditional beef patties and are among the growing trend of plant-based vegan options that still look, taste, and even bleed like real meat.
Luckily, Wegmans is one of the stores that stocks this item, and the blog Choose Veg listed Wegmans in a roundup of places where you can actually find vegan products. At $US5.49, the patties are reasonably priced, and herbivore shoppers won’t have to make a special trip to another store just for their favourite.
Food and Wine’s David Landsel reported that Wegmans’ baked-to-order $US10 pie “was absolutely enormous” and tasted great in addition to its fair price.
If you are in a rush and don’t have time to wait for a pizza to bake, the store-brand frozen versions are also well-received and – like most items – decently priced.
While it’s OK to grab something small – like a $US0.99 toothbrush – when you’re in a pinch, it’s never a good idea to shop for toiletries at a grocery store. You can usually find these items for a cheaper price at stores like Target and Walmart, and certain items are better from wholesale warehouses like Costco or Sam’s Club.
Skip: Buying in bulk
While Wegmans is a top-notch grocery store, it’s not on the same level as Costco for wholesale items – and it doesn’t try to be. The Wegmans experience focuses on being a great grocery store, so it’s best to limit your big buys to wholesale retailers.
Skip: Paper towels
Buy: Toilet paper
On the other hand, it’s smart to pick up toilet paper at Wegmans. While name brands may be overpriced at the chain, Wegmans-brand toilet paper is affordable. Shoppers should skip toilet paper at wholesale retailers and buy them instead from local grocery stores – like Wegmans – where you can score additional savings with coupons and bi-monthly sales.
Wegmans offers free at-home delivery among other perks, making it a great place to pick up your medicine while you’re already there for groceries.
Buy: Bakery items
Most Wegmans sections exceed expectations of a typical grocery store, and its bakery is no exception. In the spacious area, shoppers will find plenty of freshly baked items from bagels to loaves of bread. There are plenty of varieties from healthier whole wheat and multigrain options to gluten-free versions of basic items.
Additionally, the store has an impressive dessert section, which always boasts colourful, freshly frosted cupcakes.