Supermarket Strengths (and weaknesses)

Today, we’re going into a (brief) journey into supermarket strengths and weaknesses.

Some people are set in their ways – and shop at the same place all the time. Whether it’s for convenience, or whatever. That is what they do. And they just will not go outside those boundaries for whatever reason. To each their own.

We, on the other hand, use military-style strategy in our shopping endeavors when possible.

In other words, we know (or strive to know), what our best options are at the supermarkets along our travels. And we enjoy winning. Such as:

  • You don’t really buy ground beef at Wegmans (except for Angus patties).
  • Or, most organic produce is limited at ShopRite (although improving all the time).
  • And you cannot get hot prepared food at ALDI, etc.

Over time, you build an arsenal of information that makes you a supermarket expert.

A brief primer on the supermarket strengths along NJroute22.com

Okay – we not only cover NJ Route 22 – but many other offshoots, including NJ Route 31, NJ Route 202, NJ Route 206 and NJ Route 57. This list below is not fully inclusive of each and every shopping option, be we’re laying a starting foundation as we build this website.

Main shopping options:

ShopRite

ShopRite supermarkets pretty much dominate the NJroute22.com coverage area. I believe it’s 24 supermarkets. That’s huge. And here is what we believe their strengths are, and what we focus our shopping items on. Keep in mind this, and the rest of these entries are limited in scope. If you have anything to add or subtract – please do so in the comments section.

Good at ShopRite:

  1. Their overall selection is up to par.
  2. Decently prepared food.
  3. Competitive prices. Good shoppers club program. Big rewards.
  4. Pat LaFrieda meat products (exclusive).
  5. Great deals on bacon (often 2.99/lb.) and cheeses (ShopRite shredded, for instance).

Needs improvement at ShopRite:

  1. The organic produce selection is limited.
  2. The quality meat selection could do better (get rid of Coleman).

Wegmans

While there are only two Wegmans in the scope of this site, we still feel it’s important to note.

Good at Wegmans:

  1. Organic meats (chicken in particular). Bell & Evans under their brand name at a fraction of the price.
  2. Augmented organic product selection. Not perfect, but better than others.
  3. Selection is fantastic across the store, including beefy “health food” options. We like the seasonal section, too.
  4. Great dog food at affordable prices.
  5. Cheap alcohol. (And great paper towels).

Needs improvement at Wegmans:

  1. Better shoppers card program (theirs is barely worth joining).
  2. Lame hamburger options. The only ones worth buying are the Angus burgers which they haven’t had in the past few weeks.

ALDI

ALDI NJ Route 22ALDI is an el cheapo food market with 90% of their products are self-branded. But they are cheap as can be, and often better quality. They do not have a pharmacy, deli, butcher, or bakery on-site. And their produce is limited, but pretty good quality. Avocados for just 50 cents?

Good at ADLI:

  1. Dairy. Cheapest by far (often 30-50% less than others).
  2. Instant Coffee (tastes better and less than half the cost of Folgers)
  3. Peanuts. $1.89/lb. Unbelievable.
  4. Diapers. $4.29 a pack. Top rated. Also, their paper products are cheap and high-quality as well.
  5. Miscellaneous. So many other things, too many to mention now.

Needs improvement at ALDI:

  1. Meats. Most look suspicious. No burger “blends.” Haven’t tried yet. We are okay with their bacon, though.
  2. They could use MANY more locations along the NJ Route 22 area. How about Clinton, NJ?

Stop and Shop

We mentioned in a VLOG earlier that we’re not huge fans of Stop & Shop. Mainly because of their overall quality compared to other markets. Their stores are outdated and need refreshing. But there is at least one thing we like as of today.

They have some of the least expensive organic baby food jars around. Under a dollar, and often on sale, too. And we’ve seen their deli line out the door. Must be something they’re doing who knows.

But in the end, we only usually shop there out of curiosity. We walk past most of their products knowing we can get that stuff cheaper elsewhere.

Still, we keep giving them a chance. You never know, they could turn around one day with the right management team in place.

Weis

(We have to mention Weis over in Hackettstown / Mansfield – plus PA)

Five years ago, we were fans of Weis markets. The prices were fair, and they often had great deals on everyday staples.

Today, we wonder how long they will stay alive. Each time we shop there, it appears the prices have gone up profoundly for such a basic food supermarket. It’s hard for us to shop with them in 2018.  Maybe if we clipped coupons like maniacs, we’d be better off (they have double coupons).

But in general – they’re in the Stop & Shop league at the moment. I hope they step up – because there are not too many 24-hour supermarkets left on the central or western zones of NJroute22.com.

What about Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s?

Well, we reviewed the newest Whole Foods Market in Bridgewater, NJ recently. So refer to there to get our scoop. There are two others in this general area. One in Madison, NJ and the other up in Morristown, NJ. We’ve been to both, and have the same general consensus as the new Bridgwater spot.

And as far as Trader Joe’s – there are about three fringe locations adjacent to the NJroute22.com coverage areas. Florham Park, NJ, Millburn, NJ and Westfield, NJ. Oh, we’ll get around to covering Trader Joe’s for sure in the future. But a bit outside the core scope of this site at the moment.

There has to be an editorial line drawn somewhere!

There are no other major supermarkets out there, really

Other than Walmart and Target. Those conglomerates do well too. Walmart, being the bigger of these two. And both do indeed include the higher-end or organic items as well.

We only shop there if we find ourselves in the market for other things they sell.

That’s it for the “major” supermarket places.

We’ll delve deeper into the smaller, “local” or “healthy” outfits in the next month or two. Still gathering data!

So where is your “GO TO” supermarket in NJ / PA?

About the author

NJroute22

NJroute22 (site admin) is an avid traveler along NJ Route 22 (and almost all of central New Jersey!) Family man, pet lover, and property owner who has a natural curiosity for everything around.

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