Grocery Store Showdown

Grocery Store Showdown

Grocery shopping is like going to the candy shop for me. I love planning my meals, getting inspired by seasonal produce, and picking up weird condiments to integrate into my recipes.

After moving to California, I've struggled to find a one stop shop for groceries. I dislike going to 3 different grocery stores every time I want to cook at home. There aren't any HEBs or Central Markets in these parts. 

So I embarked on a search for the best grocery store, and noted the pros and cons of each. 

Tackling the big issues of this world...

Brussel Sprouts from Sprouts

Whole Foods

The Good
So much variety- oh my!
Freshness 
People who work here are knowledgeable.
Found in Austin, TX <3. 
I feel like I'm at an amusement park when I go to Whole Foods. Wheee!

The Bad
You pay for it. Big time. Whole Foods = Whole Paycheck
The cake mix selection is poor. Where are my Betty Crocker's chocolate sauce brownies?!

Safeway

The Good
You'll likely get everything you need here.
Betty Crocker's cake mix!
They're quick to respond on social media when you Tweet something at them. See photo below.

The Bad
I really dislike Safeway's set up. It not at all intuitive. 
No one here knows where anything is.

This is how peppers were set up at Safeway. Notice the line of peppers layering the bottom. I Tweeted "@Safeway How am I supposed to get my peppers?" The response was almost instant asking which location this was at.

Trader Joe's

The Good.
Triple. Ginger. Snaps.
The snacks and condiments here are amazing! 
Samples!
Frozen foods are amazing. (i.e. meatless breakfast patties)
Ravioli
The people who work here will help you find things and know exactly where they are.

The Bad.
Don't buy produce here. It will liquify in a matter of days. This in itself makes Trader Joe's impossible to shop at.
Inexpensive. For the most part. There have been a handful of times where Trader Joe's has swindled me out of money.
Sometimes there's cilantro at Trader Joe's, sometimes there's not. How can you not have such a key ingredient?!

Trader Joe's Pizza Crust

Sprouts Farmer's Market

The Good
Bulk food aisle with reasonable prices. Gummy worms. Gummy worms. Gummy worms!
The produce is fresh.
They have unique foods. Papaya and dragon fruit!
The ambiance is great! It makes you want to buy all the things.

The Bad
You may not always find the obscure item you're looking for, but there are always substitutes. I was looking for wheatberry, but had to settle for farro. 
You might end up spending more money than you anticipated due to the bulk foods.

Lucky's

The Good
Pre- marinated chicken breasts are inexpensive and delicious.
Everything here seems less expensive.

The Bad
Welcome back to the 90s when grocery stores can look like warehouses.

Lucky's Marinated Chicken Breast

Fresh & Easy

The Good
Inexpensive.
Staff is fairly knowledgeable of inventory.
It's like a grocery convenience store. The whole experience is quick, but they may not necessarily have what you want.
Lives up to its name. 

The Bad
Does not always have what you want. Sometimes, they won't have green bell peppers.
Just pay attention to when stuff you buy expires. Just a cautionary warning.

The Farmer's Market

The Good
You are so healthy and yuppy and hippy-dippy.
You can be friends with the people who make your jalapeno focaccia and they'll give you free samples of other breads. 
Samples!

The Bad
If you're price conscious, sometimes you're better off going to Whole Foods.
It's very seldom that you will find all the items you need to make your meals for the week.

The Winner: Sprouts

  • Although they don't always have what I need, they have most of it.
  • The selection here allows me to pursue a healthy lifestyle without having to go to multiple stores.
  • Also, the people working here know where things are - or they will go out of their way to find it for you. 
  • The ambiance makes grocery shopping tolerable. 
  • It's a healthy middle ground between Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.

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Finding food that worth the calories.