Consumer Reports Rated the Healthiest Grocery Stores: They May Surprise You

Most of us know it’s a whole lot easier to eat healthy when our fridge is stocked full of fresh food instead of half-eaten takeout boxes. More than half of grocery shoppers believe their favorite food retailer is “on their side” when it comes to helping them eat healthy, according to Consumer Reports—so the publication recently set out to discover which ones are the best at delivering the goods.

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CR surveyed their members on 96 rated grocers for how well they go above and beyond in providing a variety of high-quality, decently-priced and locally sourced food options. Only six of these supermarkets, warehouse clubs and supercenters achieved top marks for their selection of healthy foods, and they're not national chains like Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. Instead, regional grocery store chains took the top spots. Here they are, listed below:

• Central Market in Texas
• Wegmans in the Mid-Atlantic Region
• Heinen’s in Ohio and the Chicago area
• New Seasons Market in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California
• Fresh Thyme Farmers Market in the Midwest, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania
• Natural Grocers in 19 states west of the Mississippi River

The first four retailers listed received superlative ratings for their selection of healthy foods, produce quality, produce variety and selection of locally sourced foods. Wegmans was a stand-out, with 16 different labels to help consumers identify a product’s health benefits or if it adheres to certain dietary restrictions. Wegmans also offers nutritional info on all store-made food items on their website—a perk not offered by many grocers.

Forty-three percent of those surveyed bought organic foods in the last month, and 25 percent valued good quality produce over organic produce and other food products. No grocer received the highest score for organics, but Trader Joe’s, Costco, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, Natural Grocers, Aldi, Woodman’s and Grocery Outlet were honorable mentions here.

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CR also noted 88 percent of those surveyed believe it is a grocery store’s responsibility to notify consumers of any food-borne illness outbreaks, but only 32 percent felt their grocery store did an adequate job.

This article originally appeared on EatingWell.

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