Supermarkets seem to be declining in quality—with the exception of these top-ranked chains.

Photo courtesy of Wegmans


This story originally appeared on Marthastewart.com by Zee Krstic.

If you feel like grocery shopping has become more of a chore recently, you're not alone-new data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index shows that shoppers are less satisfied with their purchases and shopping experiences across the board. But a few major supermarket chains managed to impress shoppers more this year, and you're already very familiar with one of them.

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The Index, which is composed of retail experts who work across different service industries measuring customer satisfaction in the United States, has new data that shows a slight decline in satisfaction-about 1.3 percent -across the board. The average score for supermarkets-which is based on a 100-point scale using information from more than 300,000 customer interviews-was just about a 78. There are two outliers that are exceptions to this average, however: Trader Joe's and Wegmans.

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Trader Joe's pulled in a total score of 86, whereas northeastern chain Wegmans scored an 85, both of which are about one perfect increases in year-over-year scores. The top marks for these supermarkets don't have anything to do with food quality: Friendly customer service and fast checkout speeds are the main reasons why each supermarket outperformed other chains.

There was a two-way tie for third place, overall: Publix, a Southeastern regional chain known for its ready-to-eat items, and Aldi, the budget-friendly German import that recently overhauled offerings to include healthier items. Both earned a score of 84, right behind Wegmans, which is still a one percent drop from their retrospective scores in 2017. And what about Costco? The wholesaler rounded out the top five with a score of 83.

If you're wondering which supermarkets that shoppers are leastsatisfied with, you might be surprised to hear that Whole Foods saw a noticeable decline between 2017 and 2018. "For Whole Foods, its acquisition by Amazon does not appear to have boosted the company in the eyes of its customers as satisfaction sinks 2% to 79,"​ the report noted.

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The store's rounding out the bottom of the index's top 21 stores include Southeastern Grocers, a group of grocers that include Winn Dixie, Albertsons, and Walmart, which saw an additional one percent drop since 2017.

Across the board, shoppers told retail experts that brand names were harder to find this year compared to previous years, and that merchandise selection in general was poorer. Customers also said that they felt stores weren't as clean and organized as they once were. Another reason for declining scores is the lackluster quality of meat and produce in most supermarkets, shoppers said.

"Supermarket customer service is showing the same strains as other retail categories. Service personnel are less helpful and courteous in person and over the phone. The checkout process is slower and rates lowest at 75," the report said.


This article originally appeared on Martastewart.com

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