Consumer Reports survey of Walmart grocery items

Friday, March 28, 2014

YONKERS, New York (KGO) -- Walmart is known for its low prices, so how does the big box retailer do compared to grocery stores?

Consumer Reports has partnered exclusively with 7 On Your Side to find out.

How often do you shop at the supermarket? The average American makes 88 trips a year, according to the food marketing institute. And the average amount spent is about $6,000. Consumer Reports' survey of more than 27,000 of its readers can help you find the best place to put all that time and money.

Walmart is America's largest grocer, but in Consumer Reports' ratings of 55 supermarkets, Walmart Supercenters landed at the bottom, based on a survey of its subscribers. Eight out of 10 shoppers had at least one gripe, such as not enough open checkout lanes, or items were out of stock. Walmart earned low scores for meat and produce quality.

"Many people were drawn to Walmart because of its low prices. But when we surveyed our subscribers, we found that people thought that the prices were as low or even lower at other grocery chains," said Tod Marks of Consumer Reports.

In fact, seven of the highest-rated supermarkets rated better than Walmart for price.

But no matter where you shop, there are good ways to cut costs. Buy store brands. You'll save about 20 percent on average. And in Consumer Reports taste tests they often score as well as name-brands. Skip cut up fruits and vegetables. Cantaloupes are about a dollar a pound. Cut up they're 4.99 a pound. Check unit pricing. It's the best way to determine which package size is the most economical. Weekly specials are big bargains.

"The idea is that they draw you into the store. But don't be seduced into buying more expensive items that aren't on sale," said Marks.

And beware those 10 for $10 deals. You usually get the same bargain if you just buy one. So only buy what you really need.

Consumer Reports rated 55 supermarkets for overall satisfaction, as well as prices, service, cleanliness and the quality of the perishables.

In a statement, Walmart spokesperson Danit Marquardt said, "The customer is at the core of everything we do. We recently held our annual meeting with our 4,000 store managers and are more committed than ever to delivering our customers the products, prices and store experiences that exceed their expectations. Over the last several years, we've taken significant efforts to help ensure the quality of our meat and produce, and we've seen our customers respond positively to these changes. We also offer our customers a satisfaction guarantee on meat and produce. If they are not completely satisfied, all they have to do is bring back their receipt for a full refund."

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2010. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)