When it comes to shopping for meat, consumers have tons of choices from prepared, frozen and fresh varieties and if you are depending on reviews from the internet and social media it makes your shopping job difficult. The folks as mashed have made things easier by compiling the 6 best and worst grocery stores to buy meat. Here’s what they have come up with good and bad:
BEST STORES FOR MEAT
- Wegmans – this East Coast-based chain offers a great variety of prepared foods and meals like roasted turkey, parmesan chicken, pulled pork, and meatloaf as well as “some of the best choice ribeyes” according to a Reddit user. According to mashed they provide great variety, fair prices and high-quality meats.
- Sprouts - Price of Meat says that Sprouts beef “is always fresh and they never freeze it. It’s rated USDA Choice, which means you know it will be juicy and flavorful. They also have trained butchers and also offer deli sandwiches that taste better than what you can get at some sandwich shops and their beef is 100% grass-fed.
- Publix – this chain has a great variety of ground beef, group-raised veal, pork, steaks, chicken, racks of lamb, turkeys and more and a Redditor says the grade of beef at Publix is higher than meat at Kroger or Walmart. And according to Price of Meat they provide affordable, quality and healthy meat. The only downside is that they only have locations in seven states in the Southeast U.S.
- Costco – Costco sells USDA Prime Beef which means more fat, flavor and marble as well a organic ground beef and numerous Reddit users claim that they offer higher quality at prices less than you would find at local supermarkets. Their $4.99 rotisserie chickens are noteworthy and you can also order a half or a quarter if you don’t need the whole chicken.
- Stater Bros – this southern California chain with 170 locations was in ninth place in the 2017 Consumer Reports survey of the best places to grocery shop and a report from The Press-Enterprise raved about their quality of meat and poultry as well as their staff and competitive prices. A comment from one consumer said “some Stater’s butchers actually will cut you a steak to your preferred thickness if you ask nicely.” They also have reviews touting their excellent quality and reasonable prices.
- Sam’s Club – the main competitor to Costco, Sam’s Club also provides high-quality beef at affordable prices. They are known for their 100% grass-fed organic ground beef as well as prime brisket.
WORST STORES FOR MEAT
- Target – Target only started selling groceries in 1995 and does not specialize in meat. According to Showbiz Cheat Sheet you won’t find the freshest selection in the meat and produce department. Target is big on animal welfare standards but comes up short with meat in this poll.
- Trader Joe’s – a popular chain for many items like snacks and frozen meals but not so much in the meat department due to higher pricing and smaller quantities. One Redditor said “I honestly don’t buy fresh meat at TJs because it’s not my ‘meat’ store’…way too many bad experiences with stuff rotting.”
- Whole Foods – in the past this chain was called “whole paycheck” due to its high prices which may be as much as 40% higher than other stores in the premium meat department. They have been more competitive in their pricing since Amazon acquired them in 2017 but Business Insider recommends shopping at other chains to save some money.
- Walmart – according to Go Banking Rates, meat at Walmart fell under one of their “worst deal” categories. Walmart also gets complaints from Consumer Reports about their “lack of variety and the quality of the meat and poultry.” If you are a Walmart shopper you may want to consider going somewhere else for your meat purchases.
- Aldi – this chain founded in Germany is famous for low prices but several shoppers on Reddit say to avoid buying your meat here and another Aldi shopper said “I skip their meat. The quality doesn’t seem very good and their prices are higher than what I can usually find.” You may want to try farmer’s markets and local grocers instead.
- Safeway - Consumers' Checkbook found that Safeway was among chains that rated low for fresh produce and meat quality. Even though they sell a variety of packaged and whole foods, shoppers had mixed reviews about meat department selections. They do run sales so you may be able to find good deals when those prices are in effect.