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The Top 11 Health Food Stores in the United States

The Top 11 Health Food Stores in the United States

From sustainability to allergy recognition, these stores are as healthy as it gets

These grocers offer the healthiest options in the country.

Recently, we highlighted the best 35 Supermarkets in America for 2016. Thus, we present to you The Top 11 Health Food Stores in the United States.

Click here for The Top 11 Health Food Stores in the United States.

While all favorites lists are subjective, we can tell you that all 11 stores featured on this list provide some of the healthiest edibles (and drinkables) out there. Offering things like sustainable wild-caught fish from top companies, every variety of organic salad green you could ever want, a slew of health-promoting dark chocolates, and more, a health food store is defined as any store that offers nutritionally sound, environmentally conscious products and does its best to reduce humankind's footprint. If you’ve ever been to a supermarket that just feels hip (perhaps one that doesn’t provide plastic bags but does offer freshly made juices), you’ve probably been to a health food store as defined by us.

You’ll certainly recognize some of the large, national chains on this list, but many of the healthiest stores in our country are smaller chains with just a handful of locations. We’ve compiled this list using various other lists on the internet as well as information from sources like the Independent Natural Food Retailers Association, filtering the information for what we believe to be the best of the best based on sustainable practices, customer and community integration and education, allergy-related mindfulness, and, of course, availability of the healthiest types of food. Say goodbye to GMOs and hello to health.


The 10 Best Supermarkets in America: 2020

It&aposs remarkable how the unthinkable can just sneak up on you, like it did back in early March, when very nearly overnight, the American supermarket transformed from predictable part of our daily lives to something most of us had only read about in history books.

For weeks, Americans, so accustomed to having it all at the snap of their fingers, were left prowling picked-clean aisles, eagerly snapping up the last box of unusually-shaped pasta, the last dented tin of garbanzo beans nobody wanted, eventually realizing it was probably smarter just to stay home.

The supermarkets slowly began to recognize this as well, lumbering out of panic mode and into safety mode. Suddenly, the keepers of that last, vital link in the food supply chain were being hailed as frontline workers, keeping the country fed for very low pay, fighting in a battle they never signed up for.

Months have passed now, and still, in big cities across the country and sometimes even small ones, we wait in lines, long lines, to get in, following floor markers and wearing masks, feeling victorious each time we see paper towels or our favorite brand of mayonnaise on the shelves. Life comes at you fast, and this year it came like a freight train. We’re all part of the story now, and nobody can say, not for certain, anyway, when and how all of this ends.

Things were very different the last time Food & Wine spotlighted the best supermarkets in the country. In 2019, our needs were simpler—we wanted to know where to find the best values, the best product. Each chain was judged heavily on the relationship with its respective community, or communities. The world has changed, but the criteria has not. If anything, we’re just taking these things more seriously.

Throughout America, unemployment is skyrocketing, the economy is struggling—more than ever, value matters. Quality rolls right into this need, as well—we’re cooking at home, some of us more than we ever intended to in this lifetime. So where can we find the best of everything, once again, at a price we can afford?

The events of 2020 have thrown a spotlight on so many problem areas in our society. After decades of corporate gains, it took a pandemic to highlight the increasing difficulties faced by hourly laborers in America. While some chains reported record sales, supermarket cashiers—suddenly in one of the riskiest jobs outside of healthcare—were too often asked to report for duty without an increase in pay, or safety precautions. Even as the country began locking down in March, management at too many grocery stores were battling with their employees over simple protections like masks and gloves.

Tensions boiled over, predictably a preexisting conflict between Amazon-owned Whole Foods and its workers only intensified, while do-no-wrong Trader Joe’s blindsided loyalists with their response to a small but vocal segment of its workforce that dared to show interest in organizing, at a moment when many felt that their lives were on the line.

This was just one of so many challenges that shoppers faced—how to show solidarity? Would taking your business elsewhere even do any good? Very few of our favorite stores passed the pandemic test with flying colors, after all. Some regional favorites struggled mightily with the new normal, almost stubbornly dragging their heels while dozens of their employees fell sick, leaning on early-days opaque CDC guidelines. Others, remarkably, went above and beyond, leading the way on worker protections, compensation, and expanded health benefits, very early on in the crisis.

One cannot help but be the slightest bit impressed by the timing of this hopefully once-in-a-lifetime event, which sent everybody home, rather urgently, and into their kitchens. The pandemic arrived on our shores in the middle of a lengthy and sustained period of evolution in American food culture, a time in which supermarkets have been impacted mightily, and often for the better. After well over a decade of significant change, during which Americans became increasingly interested in eating well, the country has better access to higher quality food than at any other time in recent memory. (Who is the number one seller of organic foods in the United States, these days? Walmart, that’s who.)

Very few communities of any size are left lacking at least one premium alternative to the standard chain offerings, whether it be a Whole Foods, a Sprouts, a Fresh Market, or a smaller, well-liked regional brand. Best of all, remote grocery shopping had already become simpler than ever, before this started. From store-operated curbside pickups at Wegmans, to Walmart’s nearly on-demand grocery delivery, backed by a thoroughly dynamic inventory keeper, it was possible, if you could tolerate doing so, to pretty much stay home indefinitely.

Some of us, a great deal many of us, it seemed, retreated to the internet entirely, relying on promising mail-order sites like Thrive Market, or Public Goods, or Mercato, all of which were immediately overwhelmed, but managed to weather the storm, and in the process gained streams of new customers. Everyone was hiring, to keep up with demand—Instacart alone announced it was aiming for a quarter of a million more shoppers across the country. Supposing you did not love going to the supermarket, before all this kicked off—the way the industry seems to be battling it out on home delivery, your prayers have been answered.

Whether you choose to never set foot in the store again, or you’re stuck at home longing for a return to normal at your old favorites—is Whole Foods even Whole Foods, without the olive bar?—you’ll want to know where to spend your grocery dollars wisely, and there were some clear winners this year. There wasn’t a corner of the business left unpillaged by the virus, but the question was, how did they respond? What steps were taken, when did they take them, and what are they doing now?

Quite simply, we wanted to know: Who do we want in our foxhole, now, and, let’s hope not too far into the future? Who did we want leaving our two-week supply on the doorstep, or in the trunk of our car? By virtue, no major corporation made up of human beings is ever going to be perfect, but here are ten companies we felt did their damndest.


The 10 Best Supermarkets in America: 2020

It&aposs remarkable how the unthinkable can just sneak up on you, like it did back in early March, when very nearly overnight, the American supermarket transformed from predictable part of our daily lives to something most of us had only read about in history books.

For weeks, Americans, so accustomed to having it all at the snap of their fingers, were left prowling picked-clean aisles, eagerly snapping up the last box of unusually-shaped pasta, the last dented tin of garbanzo beans nobody wanted, eventually realizing it was probably smarter just to stay home.

The supermarkets slowly began to recognize this as well, lumbering out of panic mode and into safety mode. Suddenly, the keepers of that last, vital link in the food supply chain were being hailed as frontline workers, keeping the country fed for very low pay, fighting in a battle they never signed up for.

Months have passed now, and still, in big cities across the country and sometimes even small ones, we wait in lines, long lines, to get in, following floor markers and wearing masks, feeling victorious each time we see paper towels or our favorite brand of mayonnaise on the shelves. Life comes at you fast, and this year it came like a freight train. We’re all part of the story now, and nobody can say, not for certain, anyway, when and how all of this ends.

Things were very different the last time Food & Wine spotlighted the best supermarkets in the country. In 2019, our needs were simpler—we wanted to know where to find the best values, the best product. Each chain was judged heavily on the relationship with its respective community, or communities. The world has changed, but the criteria has not. If anything, we’re just taking these things more seriously.

Throughout America, unemployment is skyrocketing, the economy is struggling—more than ever, value matters. Quality rolls right into this need, as well—we’re cooking at home, some of us more than we ever intended to in this lifetime. So where can we find the best of everything, once again, at a price we can afford?

The events of 2020 have thrown a spotlight on so many problem areas in our society. After decades of corporate gains, it took a pandemic to highlight the increasing difficulties faced by hourly laborers in America. While some chains reported record sales, supermarket cashiers—suddenly in one of the riskiest jobs outside of healthcare—were too often asked to report for duty without an increase in pay, or safety precautions. Even as the country began locking down in March, management at too many grocery stores were battling with their employees over simple protections like masks and gloves.

Tensions boiled over, predictably a preexisting conflict between Amazon-owned Whole Foods and its workers only intensified, while do-no-wrong Trader Joe’s blindsided loyalists with their response to a small but vocal segment of its workforce that dared to show interest in organizing, at a moment when many felt that their lives were on the line.

This was just one of so many challenges that shoppers faced—how to show solidarity? Would taking your business elsewhere even do any good? Very few of our favorite stores passed the pandemic test with flying colors, after all. Some regional favorites struggled mightily with the new normal, almost stubbornly dragging their heels while dozens of their employees fell sick, leaning on early-days opaque CDC guidelines. Others, remarkably, went above and beyond, leading the way on worker protections, compensation, and expanded health benefits, very early on in the crisis.

One cannot help but be the slightest bit impressed by the timing of this hopefully once-in-a-lifetime event, which sent everybody home, rather urgently, and into their kitchens. The pandemic arrived on our shores in the middle of a lengthy and sustained period of evolution in American food culture, a time in which supermarkets have been impacted mightily, and often for the better. After well over a decade of significant change, during which Americans became increasingly interested in eating well, the country has better access to higher quality food than at any other time in recent memory. (Who is the number one seller of organic foods in the United States, these days? Walmart, that’s who.)

Very few communities of any size are left lacking at least one premium alternative to the standard chain offerings, whether it be a Whole Foods, a Sprouts, a Fresh Market, or a smaller, well-liked regional brand. Best of all, remote grocery shopping had already become simpler than ever, before this started. From store-operated curbside pickups at Wegmans, to Walmart’s nearly on-demand grocery delivery, backed by a thoroughly dynamic inventory keeper, it was possible, if you could tolerate doing so, to pretty much stay home indefinitely.

Some of us, a great deal many of us, it seemed, retreated to the internet entirely, relying on promising mail-order sites like Thrive Market, or Public Goods, or Mercato, all of which were immediately overwhelmed, but managed to weather the storm, and in the process gained streams of new customers. Everyone was hiring, to keep up with demand—Instacart alone announced it was aiming for a quarter of a million more shoppers across the country. Supposing you did not love going to the supermarket, before all this kicked off—the way the industry seems to be battling it out on home delivery, your prayers have been answered.

Whether you choose to never set foot in the store again, or you’re stuck at home longing for a return to normal at your old favorites—is Whole Foods even Whole Foods, without the olive bar?—you’ll want to know where to spend your grocery dollars wisely, and there were some clear winners this year. There wasn’t a corner of the business left unpillaged by the virus, but the question was, how did they respond? What steps were taken, when did they take them, and what are they doing now?

Quite simply, we wanted to know: Who do we want in our foxhole, now, and, let’s hope not too far into the future? Who did we want leaving our two-week supply on the doorstep, or in the trunk of our car? By virtue, no major corporation made up of human beings is ever going to be perfect, but here are ten companies we felt did their damndest.


The 10 Best Supermarkets in America: 2020

It&aposs remarkable how the unthinkable can just sneak up on you, like it did back in early March, when very nearly overnight, the American supermarket transformed from predictable part of our daily lives to something most of us had only read about in history books.

For weeks, Americans, so accustomed to having it all at the snap of their fingers, were left prowling picked-clean aisles, eagerly snapping up the last box of unusually-shaped pasta, the last dented tin of garbanzo beans nobody wanted, eventually realizing it was probably smarter just to stay home.

The supermarkets slowly began to recognize this as well, lumbering out of panic mode and into safety mode. Suddenly, the keepers of that last, vital link in the food supply chain were being hailed as frontline workers, keeping the country fed for very low pay, fighting in a battle they never signed up for.

Months have passed now, and still, in big cities across the country and sometimes even small ones, we wait in lines, long lines, to get in, following floor markers and wearing masks, feeling victorious each time we see paper towels or our favorite brand of mayonnaise on the shelves. Life comes at you fast, and this year it came like a freight train. We’re all part of the story now, and nobody can say, not for certain, anyway, when and how all of this ends.

Things were very different the last time Food & Wine spotlighted the best supermarkets in the country. In 2019, our needs were simpler—we wanted to know where to find the best values, the best product. Each chain was judged heavily on the relationship with its respective community, or communities. The world has changed, but the criteria has not. If anything, we’re just taking these things more seriously.

Throughout America, unemployment is skyrocketing, the economy is struggling—more than ever, value matters. Quality rolls right into this need, as well—we’re cooking at home, some of us more than we ever intended to in this lifetime. So where can we find the best of everything, once again, at a price we can afford?

The events of 2020 have thrown a spotlight on so many problem areas in our society. After decades of corporate gains, it took a pandemic to highlight the increasing difficulties faced by hourly laborers in America. While some chains reported record sales, supermarket cashiers—suddenly in one of the riskiest jobs outside of healthcare—were too often asked to report for duty without an increase in pay, or safety precautions. Even as the country began locking down in March, management at too many grocery stores were battling with their employees over simple protections like masks and gloves.

Tensions boiled over, predictably a preexisting conflict between Amazon-owned Whole Foods and its workers only intensified, while do-no-wrong Trader Joe’s blindsided loyalists with their response to a small but vocal segment of its workforce that dared to show interest in organizing, at a moment when many felt that their lives were on the line.

This was just one of so many challenges that shoppers faced—how to show solidarity? Would taking your business elsewhere even do any good? Very few of our favorite stores passed the pandemic test with flying colors, after all. Some regional favorites struggled mightily with the new normal, almost stubbornly dragging their heels while dozens of their employees fell sick, leaning on early-days opaque CDC guidelines. Others, remarkably, went above and beyond, leading the way on worker protections, compensation, and expanded health benefits, very early on in the crisis.

One cannot help but be the slightest bit impressed by the timing of this hopefully once-in-a-lifetime event, which sent everybody home, rather urgently, and into their kitchens. The pandemic arrived on our shores in the middle of a lengthy and sustained period of evolution in American food culture, a time in which supermarkets have been impacted mightily, and often for the better. After well over a decade of significant change, during which Americans became increasingly interested in eating well, the country has better access to higher quality food than at any other time in recent memory. (Who is the number one seller of organic foods in the United States, these days? Walmart, that’s who.)

Very few communities of any size are left lacking at least one premium alternative to the standard chain offerings, whether it be a Whole Foods, a Sprouts, a Fresh Market, or a smaller, well-liked regional brand. Best of all, remote grocery shopping had already become simpler than ever, before this started. From store-operated curbside pickups at Wegmans, to Walmart’s nearly on-demand grocery delivery, backed by a thoroughly dynamic inventory keeper, it was possible, if you could tolerate doing so, to pretty much stay home indefinitely.

Some of us, a great deal many of us, it seemed, retreated to the internet entirely, relying on promising mail-order sites like Thrive Market, or Public Goods, or Mercato, all of which were immediately overwhelmed, but managed to weather the storm, and in the process gained streams of new customers. Everyone was hiring, to keep up with demand—Instacart alone announced it was aiming for a quarter of a million more shoppers across the country. Supposing you did not love going to the supermarket, before all this kicked off—the way the industry seems to be battling it out on home delivery, your prayers have been answered.

Whether you choose to never set foot in the store again, or you’re stuck at home longing for a return to normal at your old favorites—is Whole Foods even Whole Foods, without the olive bar?—you’ll want to know where to spend your grocery dollars wisely, and there were some clear winners this year. There wasn’t a corner of the business left unpillaged by the virus, but the question was, how did they respond? What steps were taken, when did they take them, and what are they doing now?

Quite simply, we wanted to know: Who do we want in our foxhole, now, and, let’s hope not too far into the future? Who did we want leaving our two-week supply on the doorstep, or in the trunk of our car? By virtue, no major corporation made up of human beings is ever going to be perfect, but here are ten companies we felt did their damndest.


The 10 Best Supermarkets in America: 2020

It&aposs remarkable how the unthinkable can just sneak up on you, like it did back in early March, when very nearly overnight, the American supermarket transformed from predictable part of our daily lives to something most of us had only read about in history books.

For weeks, Americans, so accustomed to having it all at the snap of their fingers, were left prowling picked-clean aisles, eagerly snapping up the last box of unusually-shaped pasta, the last dented tin of garbanzo beans nobody wanted, eventually realizing it was probably smarter just to stay home.

The supermarkets slowly began to recognize this as well, lumbering out of panic mode and into safety mode. Suddenly, the keepers of that last, vital link in the food supply chain were being hailed as frontline workers, keeping the country fed for very low pay, fighting in a battle they never signed up for.

Months have passed now, and still, in big cities across the country and sometimes even small ones, we wait in lines, long lines, to get in, following floor markers and wearing masks, feeling victorious each time we see paper towels or our favorite brand of mayonnaise on the shelves. Life comes at you fast, and this year it came like a freight train. We’re all part of the story now, and nobody can say, not for certain, anyway, when and how all of this ends.

Things were very different the last time Food & Wine spotlighted the best supermarkets in the country. In 2019, our needs were simpler—we wanted to know where to find the best values, the best product. Each chain was judged heavily on the relationship with its respective community, or communities. The world has changed, but the criteria has not. If anything, we’re just taking these things more seriously.

Throughout America, unemployment is skyrocketing, the economy is struggling—more than ever, value matters. Quality rolls right into this need, as well—we’re cooking at home, some of us more than we ever intended to in this lifetime. So where can we find the best of everything, once again, at a price we can afford?

The events of 2020 have thrown a spotlight on so many problem areas in our society. After decades of corporate gains, it took a pandemic to highlight the increasing difficulties faced by hourly laborers in America. While some chains reported record sales, supermarket cashiers—suddenly in one of the riskiest jobs outside of healthcare—were too often asked to report for duty without an increase in pay, or safety precautions. Even as the country began locking down in March, management at too many grocery stores were battling with their employees over simple protections like masks and gloves.

Tensions boiled over, predictably a preexisting conflict between Amazon-owned Whole Foods and its workers only intensified, while do-no-wrong Trader Joe’s blindsided loyalists with their response to a small but vocal segment of its workforce that dared to show interest in organizing, at a moment when many felt that their lives were on the line.

This was just one of so many challenges that shoppers faced—how to show solidarity? Would taking your business elsewhere even do any good? Very few of our favorite stores passed the pandemic test with flying colors, after all. Some regional favorites struggled mightily with the new normal, almost stubbornly dragging their heels while dozens of their employees fell sick, leaning on early-days opaque CDC guidelines. Others, remarkably, went above and beyond, leading the way on worker protections, compensation, and expanded health benefits, very early on in the crisis.

One cannot help but be the slightest bit impressed by the timing of this hopefully once-in-a-lifetime event, which sent everybody home, rather urgently, and into their kitchens. The pandemic arrived on our shores in the middle of a lengthy and sustained period of evolution in American food culture, a time in which supermarkets have been impacted mightily, and often for the better. After well over a decade of significant change, during which Americans became increasingly interested in eating well, the country has better access to higher quality food than at any other time in recent memory. (Who is the number one seller of organic foods in the United States, these days? Walmart, that’s who.)

Very few communities of any size are left lacking at least one premium alternative to the standard chain offerings, whether it be a Whole Foods, a Sprouts, a Fresh Market, or a smaller, well-liked regional brand. Best of all, remote grocery shopping had already become simpler than ever, before this started. From store-operated curbside pickups at Wegmans, to Walmart’s nearly on-demand grocery delivery, backed by a thoroughly dynamic inventory keeper, it was possible, if you could tolerate doing so, to pretty much stay home indefinitely.

Some of us, a great deal many of us, it seemed, retreated to the internet entirely, relying on promising mail-order sites like Thrive Market, or Public Goods, or Mercato, all of which were immediately overwhelmed, but managed to weather the storm, and in the process gained streams of new customers. Everyone was hiring, to keep up with demand—Instacart alone announced it was aiming for a quarter of a million more shoppers across the country. Supposing you did not love going to the supermarket, before all this kicked off—the way the industry seems to be battling it out on home delivery, your prayers have been answered.

Whether you choose to never set foot in the store again, or you’re stuck at home longing for a return to normal at your old favorites—is Whole Foods even Whole Foods, without the olive bar?—you’ll want to know where to spend your grocery dollars wisely, and there were some clear winners this year. There wasn’t a corner of the business left unpillaged by the virus, but the question was, how did they respond? What steps were taken, when did they take them, and what are they doing now?

Quite simply, we wanted to know: Who do we want in our foxhole, now, and, let’s hope not too far into the future? Who did we want leaving our two-week supply on the doorstep, or in the trunk of our car? By virtue, no major corporation made up of human beings is ever going to be perfect, but here are ten companies we felt did their damndest.


The 10 Best Supermarkets in America: 2020

It&aposs remarkable how the unthinkable can just sneak up on you, like it did back in early March, when very nearly overnight, the American supermarket transformed from predictable part of our daily lives to something most of us had only read about in history books.

For weeks, Americans, so accustomed to having it all at the snap of their fingers, were left prowling picked-clean aisles, eagerly snapping up the last box of unusually-shaped pasta, the last dented tin of garbanzo beans nobody wanted, eventually realizing it was probably smarter just to stay home.

The supermarkets slowly began to recognize this as well, lumbering out of panic mode and into safety mode. Suddenly, the keepers of that last, vital link in the food supply chain were being hailed as frontline workers, keeping the country fed for very low pay, fighting in a battle they never signed up for.

Months have passed now, and still, in big cities across the country and sometimes even small ones, we wait in lines, long lines, to get in, following floor markers and wearing masks, feeling victorious each time we see paper towels or our favorite brand of mayonnaise on the shelves. Life comes at you fast, and this year it came like a freight train. We’re all part of the story now, and nobody can say, not for certain, anyway, when and how all of this ends.

Things were very different the last time Food & Wine spotlighted the best supermarkets in the country. In 2019, our needs were simpler—we wanted to know where to find the best values, the best product. Each chain was judged heavily on the relationship with its respective community, or communities. The world has changed, but the criteria has not. If anything, we’re just taking these things more seriously.

Throughout America, unemployment is skyrocketing, the economy is struggling—more than ever, value matters. Quality rolls right into this need, as well—we’re cooking at home, some of us more than we ever intended to in this lifetime. So where can we find the best of everything, once again, at a price we can afford?

The events of 2020 have thrown a spotlight on so many problem areas in our society. After decades of corporate gains, it took a pandemic to highlight the increasing difficulties faced by hourly laborers in America. While some chains reported record sales, supermarket cashiers—suddenly in one of the riskiest jobs outside of healthcare—were too often asked to report for duty without an increase in pay, or safety precautions. Even as the country began locking down in March, management at too many grocery stores were battling with their employees over simple protections like masks and gloves.

Tensions boiled over, predictably a preexisting conflict between Amazon-owned Whole Foods and its workers only intensified, while do-no-wrong Trader Joe’s blindsided loyalists with their response to a small but vocal segment of its workforce that dared to show interest in organizing, at a moment when many felt that their lives were on the line.

This was just one of so many challenges that shoppers faced—how to show solidarity? Would taking your business elsewhere even do any good? Very few of our favorite stores passed the pandemic test with flying colors, after all. Some regional favorites struggled mightily with the new normal, almost stubbornly dragging their heels while dozens of their employees fell sick, leaning on early-days opaque CDC guidelines. Others, remarkably, went above and beyond, leading the way on worker protections, compensation, and expanded health benefits, very early on in the crisis.

One cannot help but be the slightest bit impressed by the timing of this hopefully once-in-a-lifetime event, which sent everybody home, rather urgently, and into their kitchens. The pandemic arrived on our shores in the middle of a lengthy and sustained period of evolution in American food culture, a time in which supermarkets have been impacted mightily, and often for the better. After well over a decade of significant change, during which Americans became increasingly interested in eating well, the country has better access to higher quality food than at any other time in recent memory. (Who is the number one seller of organic foods in the United States, these days? Walmart, that’s who.)

Very few communities of any size are left lacking at least one premium alternative to the standard chain offerings, whether it be a Whole Foods, a Sprouts, a Fresh Market, or a smaller, well-liked regional brand. Best of all, remote grocery shopping had already become simpler than ever, before this started. From store-operated curbside pickups at Wegmans, to Walmart’s nearly on-demand grocery delivery, backed by a thoroughly dynamic inventory keeper, it was possible, if you could tolerate doing so, to pretty much stay home indefinitely.

Some of us, a great deal many of us, it seemed, retreated to the internet entirely, relying on promising mail-order sites like Thrive Market, or Public Goods, or Mercato, all of which were immediately overwhelmed, but managed to weather the storm, and in the process gained streams of new customers. Everyone was hiring, to keep up with demand—Instacart alone announced it was aiming for a quarter of a million more shoppers across the country. Supposing you did not love going to the supermarket, before all this kicked off—the way the industry seems to be battling it out on home delivery, your prayers have been answered.

Whether you choose to never set foot in the store again, or you’re stuck at home longing for a return to normal at your old favorites—is Whole Foods even Whole Foods, without the olive bar?—you’ll want to know where to spend your grocery dollars wisely, and there were some clear winners this year. There wasn’t a corner of the business left unpillaged by the virus, but the question was, how did they respond? What steps were taken, when did they take them, and what are they doing now?

Quite simply, we wanted to know: Who do we want in our foxhole, now, and, let’s hope not too far into the future? Who did we want leaving our two-week supply on the doorstep, or in the trunk of our car? By virtue, no major corporation made up of human beings is ever going to be perfect, but here are ten companies we felt did their damndest.


The 10 Best Supermarkets in America: 2020

It&aposs remarkable how the unthinkable can just sneak up on you, like it did back in early March, when very nearly overnight, the American supermarket transformed from predictable part of our daily lives to something most of us had only read about in history books.

For weeks, Americans, so accustomed to having it all at the snap of their fingers, were left prowling picked-clean aisles, eagerly snapping up the last box of unusually-shaped pasta, the last dented tin of garbanzo beans nobody wanted, eventually realizing it was probably smarter just to stay home.

The supermarkets slowly began to recognize this as well, lumbering out of panic mode and into safety mode. Suddenly, the keepers of that last, vital link in the food supply chain were being hailed as frontline workers, keeping the country fed for very low pay, fighting in a battle they never signed up for.

Months have passed now, and still, in big cities across the country and sometimes even small ones, we wait in lines, long lines, to get in, following floor markers and wearing masks, feeling victorious each time we see paper towels or our favorite brand of mayonnaise on the shelves. Life comes at you fast, and this year it came like a freight train. We’re all part of the story now, and nobody can say, not for certain, anyway, when and how all of this ends.

Things were very different the last time Food & Wine spotlighted the best supermarkets in the country. In 2019, our needs were simpler—we wanted to know where to find the best values, the best product. Each chain was judged heavily on the relationship with its respective community, or communities. The world has changed, but the criteria has not. If anything, we’re just taking these things more seriously.

Throughout America, unemployment is skyrocketing, the economy is struggling—more than ever, value matters. Quality rolls right into this need, as well—we’re cooking at home, some of us more than we ever intended to in this lifetime. So where can we find the best of everything, once again, at a price we can afford?

The events of 2020 have thrown a spotlight on so many problem areas in our society. After decades of corporate gains, it took a pandemic to highlight the increasing difficulties faced by hourly laborers in America. While some chains reported record sales, supermarket cashiers—suddenly in one of the riskiest jobs outside of healthcare—were too often asked to report for duty without an increase in pay, or safety precautions. Even as the country began locking down in March, management at too many grocery stores were battling with their employees over simple protections like masks and gloves.

Tensions boiled over, predictably a preexisting conflict between Amazon-owned Whole Foods and its workers only intensified, while do-no-wrong Trader Joe’s blindsided loyalists with their response to a small but vocal segment of its workforce that dared to show interest in organizing, at a moment when many felt that their lives were on the line.

This was just one of so many challenges that shoppers faced—how to show solidarity? Would taking your business elsewhere even do any good? Very few of our favorite stores passed the pandemic test with flying colors, after all. Some regional favorites struggled mightily with the new normal, almost stubbornly dragging their heels while dozens of their employees fell sick, leaning on early-days opaque CDC guidelines. Others, remarkably, went above and beyond, leading the way on worker protections, compensation, and expanded health benefits, very early on in the crisis.

One cannot help but be the slightest bit impressed by the timing of this hopefully once-in-a-lifetime event, which sent everybody home, rather urgently, and into their kitchens. The pandemic arrived on our shores in the middle of a lengthy and sustained period of evolution in American food culture, a time in which supermarkets have been impacted mightily, and often for the better. After well over a decade of significant change, during which Americans became increasingly interested in eating well, the country has better access to higher quality food than at any other time in recent memory. (Who is the number one seller of organic foods in the United States, these days? Walmart, that’s who.)

Very few communities of any size are left lacking at least one premium alternative to the standard chain offerings, whether it be a Whole Foods, a Sprouts, a Fresh Market, or a smaller, well-liked regional brand. Best of all, remote grocery shopping had already become simpler than ever, before this started. From store-operated curbside pickups at Wegmans, to Walmart’s nearly on-demand grocery delivery, backed by a thoroughly dynamic inventory keeper, it was possible, if you could tolerate doing so, to pretty much stay home indefinitely.

Some of us, a great deal many of us, it seemed, retreated to the internet entirely, relying on promising mail-order sites like Thrive Market, or Public Goods, or Mercato, all of which were immediately overwhelmed, but managed to weather the storm, and in the process gained streams of new customers. Everyone was hiring, to keep up with demand—Instacart alone announced it was aiming for a quarter of a million more shoppers across the country. Supposing you did not love going to the supermarket, before all this kicked off—the way the industry seems to be battling it out on home delivery, your prayers have been answered.

Whether you choose to never set foot in the store again, or you’re stuck at home longing for a return to normal at your old favorites—is Whole Foods even Whole Foods, without the olive bar?—you’ll want to know where to spend your grocery dollars wisely, and there were some clear winners this year. There wasn’t a corner of the business left unpillaged by the virus, but the question was, how did they respond? What steps were taken, when did they take them, and what are they doing now?

Quite simply, we wanted to know: Who do we want in our foxhole, now, and, let’s hope not too far into the future? Who did we want leaving our two-week supply on the doorstep, or in the trunk of our car? By virtue, no major corporation made up of human beings is ever going to be perfect, but here are ten companies we felt did their damndest.


The 10 Best Supermarkets in America: 2020

It&aposs remarkable how the unthinkable can just sneak up on you, like it did back in early March, when very nearly overnight, the American supermarket transformed from predictable part of our daily lives to something most of us had only read about in history books.

For weeks, Americans, so accustomed to having it all at the snap of their fingers, were left prowling picked-clean aisles, eagerly snapping up the last box of unusually-shaped pasta, the last dented tin of garbanzo beans nobody wanted, eventually realizing it was probably smarter just to stay home.

The supermarkets slowly began to recognize this as well, lumbering out of panic mode and into safety mode. Suddenly, the keepers of that last, vital link in the food supply chain were being hailed as frontline workers, keeping the country fed for very low pay, fighting in a battle they never signed up for.

Months have passed now, and still, in big cities across the country and sometimes even small ones, we wait in lines, long lines, to get in, following floor markers and wearing masks, feeling victorious each time we see paper towels or our favorite brand of mayonnaise on the shelves. Life comes at you fast, and this year it came like a freight train. We’re all part of the story now, and nobody can say, not for certain, anyway, when and how all of this ends.

Things were very different the last time Food & Wine spotlighted the best supermarkets in the country. In 2019, our needs were simpler—we wanted to know where to find the best values, the best product. Each chain was judged heavily on the relationship with its respective community, or communities. The world has changed, but the criteria has not. If anything, we’re just taking these things more seriously.

Throughout America, unemployment is skyrocketing, the economy is struggling—more than ever, value matters. Quality rolls right into this need, as well—we’re cooking at home, some of us more than we ever intended to in this lifetime. So where can we find the best of everything, once again, at a price we can afford?

The events of 2020 have thrown a spotlight on so many problem areas in our society. After decades of corporate gains, it took a pandemic to highlight the increasing difficulties faced by hourly laborers in America. While some chains reported record sales, supermarket cashiers—suddenly in one of the riskiest jobs outside of healthcare—were too often asked to report for duty without an increase in pay, or safety precautions. Even as the country began locking down in March, management at too many grocery stores were battling with their employees over simple protections like masks and gloves.

Tensions boiled over, predictably a preexisting conflict between Amazon-owned Whole Foods and its workers only intensified, while do-no-wrong Trader Joe’s blindsided loyalists with their response to a small but vocal segment of its workforce that dared to show interest in organizing, at a moment when many felt that their lives were on the line.

This was just one of so many challenges that shoppers faced—how to show solidarity? Would taking your business elsewhere even do any good? Very few of our favorite stores passed the pandemic test with flying colors, after all. Some regional favorites struggled mightily with the new normal, almost stubbornly dragging their heels while dozens of their employees fell sick, leaning on early-days opaque CDC guidelines. Others, remarkably, went above and beyond, leading the way on worker protections, compensation, and expanded health benefits, very early on in the crisis.

One cannot help but be the slightest bit impressed by the timing of this hopefully once-in-a-lifetime event, which sent everybody home, rather urgently, and into their kitchens. The pandemic arrived on our shores in the middle of a lengthy and sustained period of evolution in American food culture, a time in which supermarkets have been impacted mightily, and often for the better. After well over a decade of significant change, during which Americans became increasingly interested in eating well, the country has better access to higher quality food than at any other time in recent memory. (Who is the number one seller of organic foods in the United States, these days? Walmart, that’s who.)

Very few communities of any size are left lacking at least one premium alternative to the standard chain offerings, whether it be a Whole Foods, a Sprouts, a Fresh Market, or a smaller, well-liked regional brand. Best of all, remote grocery shopping had already become simpler than ever, before this started. From store-operated curbside pickups at Wegmans, to Walmart’s nearly on-demand grocery delivery, backed by a thoroughly dynamic inventory keeper, it was possible, if you could tolerate doing so, to pretty much stay home indefinitely.

Some of us, a great deal many of us, it seemed, retreated to the internet entirely, relying on promising mail-order sites like Thrive Market, or Public Goods, or Mercato, all of which were immediately overwhelmed, but managed to weather the storm, and in the process gained streams of new customers. Everyone was hiring, to keep up with demand—Instacart alone announced it was aiming for a quarter of a million more shoppers across the country. Supposing you did not love going to the supermarket, before all this kicked off—the way the industry seems to be battling it out on home delivery, your prayers have been answered.

Whether you choose to never set foot in the store again, or you’re stuck at home longing for a return to normal at your old favorites—is Whole Foods even Whole Foods, without the olive bar?—you’ll want to know where to spend your grocery dollars wisely, and there were some clear winners this year. There wasn’t a corner of the business left unpillaged by the virus, but the question was, how did they respond? What steps were taken, when did they take them, and what are they doing now?

Quite simply, we wanted to know: Who do we want in our foxhole, now, and, let’s hope not too far into the future? Who did we want leaving our two-week supply on the doorstep, or in the trunk of our car? By virtue, no major corporation made up of human beings is ever going to be perfect, but here are ten companies we felt did their damndest.


The 10 Best Supermarkets in America: 2020

It&aposs remarkable how the unthinkable can just sneak up on you, like it did back in early March, when very nearly overnight, the American supermarket transformed from predictable part of our daily lives to something most of us had only read about in history books.

For weeks, Americans, so accustomed to having it all at the snap of their fingers, were left prowling picked-clean aisles, eagerly snapping up the last box of unusually-shaped pasta, the last dented tin of garbanzo beans nobody wanted, eventually realizing it was probably smarter just to stay home.

The supermarkets slowly began to recognize this as well, lumbering out of panic mode and into safety mode. Suddenly, the keepers of that last, vital link in the food supply chain were being hailed as frontline workers, keeping the country fed for very low pay, fighting in a battle they never signed up for.

Months have passed now, and still, in big cities across the country and sometimes even small ones, we wait in lines, long lines, to get in, following floor markers and wearing masks, feeling victorious each time we see paper towels or our favorite brand of mayonnaise on the shelves. Life comes at you fast, and this year it came like a freight train. We’re all part of the story now, and nobody can say, not for certain, anyway, when and how all of this ends.

Things were very different the last time Food & Wine spotlighted the best supermarkets in the country. In 2019, our needs were simpler—we wanted to know where to find the best values, the best product. Each chain was judged heavily on the relationship with its respective community, or communities. The world has changed, but the criteria has not. If anything, we’re just taking these things more seriously.

Throughout America, unemployment is skyrocketing, the economy is struggling—more than ever, value matters. Quality rolls right into this need, as well—we’re cooking at home, some of us more than we ever intended to in this lifetime. So where can we find the best of everything, once again, at a price we can afford?

The events of 2020 have thrown a spotlight on so many problem areas in our society. After decades of corporate gains, it took a pandemic to highlight the increasing difficulties faced by hourly laborers in America. While some chains reported record sales, supermarket cashiers—suddenly in one of the riskiest jobs outside of healthcare—were too often asked to report for duty without an increase in pay, or safety precautions. Even as the country began locking down in March, management at too many grocery stores were battling with their employees over simple protections like masks and gloves.

Tensions boiled over, predictably a preexisting conflict between Amazon-owned Whole Foods and its workers only intensified, while do-no-wrong Trader Joe’s blindsided loyalists with their response to a small but vocal segment of its workforce that dared to show interest in organizing, at a moment when many felt that their lives were on the line.

This was just one of so many challenges that shoppers faced—how to show solidarity? Would taking your business elsewhere even do any good? Very few of our favorite stores passed the pandemic test with flying colors, after all. Some regional favorites struggled mightily with the new normal, almost stubbornly dragging their heels while dozens of their employees fell sick, leaning on early-days opaque CDC guidelines. Others, remarkably, went above and beyond, leading the way on worker protections, compensation, and expanded health benefits, very early on in the crisis.

One cannot help but be the slightest bit impressed by the timing of this hopefully once-in-a-lifetime event, which sent everybody home, rather urgently, and into their kitchens. The pandemic arrived on our shores in the middle of a lengthy and sustained period of evolution in American food culture, a time in which supermarkets have been impacted mightily, and often for the better. After well over a decade of significant change, during which Americans became increasingly interested in eating well, the country has better access to higher quality food than at any other time in recent memory. (Who is the number one seller of organic foods in the United States, these days? Walmart, that’s who.)

Very few communities of any size are left lacking at least one premium alternative to the standard chain offerings, whether it be a Whole Foods, a Sprouts, a Fresh Market, or a smaller, well-liked regional brand. Best of all, remote grocery shopping had already become simpler than ever, before this started. From store-operated curbside pickups at Wegmans, to Walmart’s nearly on-demand grocery delivery, backed by a thoroughly dynamic inventory keeper, it was possible, if you could tolerate doing so, to pretty much stay home indefinitely.

Some of us, a great deal many of us, it seemed, retreated to the internet entirely, relying on promising mail-order sites like Thrive Market, or Public Goods, or Mercato, all of which were immediately overwhelmed, but managed to weather the storm, and in the process gained streams of new customers. Everyone was hiring, to keep up with demand—Instacart alone announced it was aiming for a quarter of a million more shoppers across the country. Supposing you did not love going to the supermarket, before all this kicked off—the way the industry seems to be battling it out on home delivery, your prayers have been answered.

Whether you choose to never set foot in the store again, or you’re stuck at home longing for a return to normal at your old favorites—is Whole Foods even Whole Foods, without the olive bar?—you’ll want to know where to spend your grocery dollars wisely, and there were some clear winners this year. There wasn’t a corner of the business left unpillaged by the virus, but the question was, how did they respond? What steps were taken, when did they take them, and what are they doing now?

Quite simply, we wanted to know: Who do we want in our foxhole, now, and, let’s hope not too far into the future? Who did we want leaving our two-week supply on the doorstep, or in the trunk of our car? By virtue, no major corporation made up of human beings is ever going to be perfect, but here are ten companies we felt did their damndest.


The 10 Best Supermarkets in America: 2020

It&aposs remarkable how the unthinkable can just sneak up on you, like it did back in early March, when very nearly overnight, the American supermarket transformed from predictable part of our daily lives to something most of us had only read about in history books.

For weeks, Americans, so accustomed to having it all at the snap of their fingers, were left prowling picked-clean aisles, eagerly snapping up the last box of unusually-shaped pasta, the last dented tin of garbanzo beans nobody wanted, eventually realizing it was probably smarter just to stay home.

The supermarkets slowly began to recognize this as well, lumbering out of panic mode and into safety mode. Suddenly, the keepers of that last, vital link in the food supply chain were being hailed as frontline workers, keeping the country fed for very low pay, fighting in a battle they never signed up for.

Months have passed now, and still, in big cities across the country and sometimes even small ones, we wait in lines, long lines, to get in, following floor markers and wearing masks, feeling victorious each time we see paper towels or our favorite brand of mayonnaise on the shelves. Life comes at you fast, and this year it came like a freight train. We’re all part of the story now, and nobody can say, not for certain, anyway, when and how all of this ends.

Things were very different the last time Food & Wine spotlighted the best supermarkets in the country. In 2019, our needs were simpler—we wanted to know where to find the best values, the best product. Each chain was judged heavily on the relationship with its respective community, or communities. The world has changed, but the criteria has not. If anything, we’re just taking these things more seriously.

Throughout America, unemployment is skyrocketing, the economy is struggling—more than ever, value matters. Quality rolls right into this need, as well—we’re cooking at home, some of us more than we ever intended to in this lifetime. So where can we find the best of everything, once again, at a price we can afford?

The events of 2020 have thrown a spotlight on so many problem areas in our society. After decades of corporate gains, it took a pandemic to highlight the increasing difficulties faced by hourly laborers in America. While some chains reported record sales, supermarket cashiers—suddenly in one of the riskiest jobs outside of healthcare—were too often asked to report for duty without an increase in pay, or safety precautions. Even as the country began locking down in March, management at too many grocery stores were battling with their employees over simple protections like masks and gloves.

Tensions boiled over, predictably a preexisting conflict between Amazon-owned Whole Foods and its workers only intensified, while do-no-wrong Trader Joe’s blindsided loyalists with their response to a small but vocal segment of its workforce that dared to show interest in organizing, at a moment when many felt that their lives were on the line.

This was just one of so many challenges that shoppers faced—how to show solidarity? Would taking your business elsewhere even do any good? Very few of our favorite stores passed the pandemic test with flying colors, after all. Some regional favorites struggled mightily with the new normal, almost stubbornly dragging their heels while dozens of their employees fell sick, leaning on early-days opaque CDC guidelines. Others, remarkably, went above and beyond, leading the way on worker protections, compensation, and expanded health benefits, very early on in the crisis.

One cannot help but be the slightest bit impressed by the timing of this hopefully once-in-a-lifetime event, which sent everybody home, rather urgently, and into their kitchens. The pandemic arrived on our shores in the middle of a lengthy and sustained period of evolution in American food culture, a time in which supermarkets have been impacted mightily, and often for the better. After well over a decade of significant change, during which Americans became increasingly interested in eating well, the country has better access to higher quality food than at any other time in recent memory. (Who is the number one seller of organic foods in the United States, these days? Walmart, that’s who.)

Very few communities of any size are left lacking at least one premium alternative to the standard chain offerings, whether it be a Whole Foods, a Sprouts, a Fresh Market, or a smaller, well-liked regional brand. Best of all, remote grocery shopping had already become simpler than ever, before this started. From store-operated curbside pickups at Wegmans, to Walmart’s nearly on-demand grocery delivery, backed by a thoroughly dynamic inventory keeper, it was possible, if you could tolerate doing so, to pretty much stay home indefinitely.

Some of us, a great deal many of us, it seemed, retreated to the internet entirely, relying on promising mail-order sites like Thrive Market, or Public Goods, or Mercato, all of which were immediately overwhelmed, but managed to weather the storm, and in the process gained streams of new customers. Everyone was hiring, to keep up with demand—Instacart alone announced it was aiming for a quarter of a million more shoppers across the country. Supposing you did not love going to the supermarket, before all this kicked off—the way the industry seems to be battling it out on home delivery, your prayers have been answered.

Whether you choose to never set foot in the store again, or you’re stuck at home longing for a return to normal at your old favorites—is Whole Foods even Whole Foods, without the olive bar?—you’ll want to know where to spend your grocery dollars wisely, and there were some clear winners this year. There wasn’t a corner of the business left unpillaged by the virus, but the question was, how did they respond? What steps were taken, when did they take them, and what are they doing now?

Quite simply, we wanted to know: Who do we want in our foxhole, now, and, let’s hope not too far into the future? Who did we want leaving our two-week supply on the doorstep, or in the trunk of our car? By virtue, no major corporation made up of human beings is ever going to be perfect, but here are ten companies we felt did their damndest.


The 10 Best Supermarkets in America: 2020

It&aposs remarkable how the unthinkable can just sneak up on you, like it did back in early March, when very nearly overnight, the American supermarket transformed from predictable part of our daily lives to something most of us had only read about in history books.

For weeks, Americans, so accustomed to having it all at the snap of their fingers, were left prowling picked-clean aisles, eagerly snapping up the last box of unusually-shaped pasta, the last dented tin of garbanzo beans nobody wanted, eventually realizing it was probably smarter just to stay home.

The supermarkets slowly began to recognize this as well, lumbering out of panic mode and into safety mode. Suddenly, the keepers of that last, vital link in the food supply chain were being hailed as frontline workers, keeping the country fed for very low pay, fighting in a battle they never signed up for.

Months have passed now, and still, in big cities across the country and sometimes even small ones, we wait in lines, long lines, to get in, following floor markers and wearing masks, feeling victorious each time we see paper towels or our favorite brand of mayonnaise on the shelves. Life comes at you fast, and this year it came like a freight train. We’re all part of the story now, and nobody can say, not for certain, anyway, when and how all of this ends.

Things were very different the last time Food & Wine spotlighted the best supermarkets in the country. In 2019, our needs were simpler—we wanted to know where to find the best values, the best product. Each chain was judged heavily on the relationship with its respective community, or communities. The world has changed, but the criteria has not. If anything, we’re just taking these things more seriously.

Throughout America, unemployment is skyrocketing, the economy is struggling—more than ever, value matters. Quality rolls right into this need, as well—we’re cooking at home, some of us more than we ever intended to in this lifetime. So where can we find the best of everything, once again, at a price we can afford?

The events of 2020 have thrown a spotlight on so many problem areas in our society. After decades of corporate gains, it took a pandemic to highlight the increasing difficulties faced by hourly laborers in America. While some chains reported record sales, supermarket cashiers—suddenly in one of the riskiest jobs outside of healthcare—were too often asked to report for duty without an increase in pay, or safety precautions. Even as the country began locking down in March, management at too many grocery stores were battling with their employees over simple protections like masks and gloves.

Tensions boiled over, predictably a preexisting conflict between Amazon-owned Whole Foods and its workers only intensified, while do-no-wrong Trader Joe’s blindsided loyalists with their response to a small but vocal segment of its workforce that dared to show interest in organizing, at a moment when many felt that their lives were on the line.

This was just one of so many challenges that shoppers faced—how to show solidarity? Would taking your business elsewhere even do any good? Very few of our favorite stores passed the pandemic test with flying colors, after all. Some regional favorites struggled mightily with the new normal, almost stubbornly dragging their heels while dozens of their employees fell sick, leaning on early-days opaque CDC guidelines. Others, remarkably, went above and beyond, leading the way on worker protections, compensation, and expanded health benefits, very early on in the crisis.

One cannot help but be the slightest bit impressed by the timing of this hopefully once-in-a-lifetime event, which sent everybody home, rather urgently, and into their kitchens. The pandemic arrived on our shores in the middle of a lengthy and sustained period of evolution in American food culture, a time in which supermarkets have been impacted mightily, and often for the better. After well over a decade of significant change, during which Americans became increasingly interested in eating well, the country has better access to higher quality food than at any other time in recent memory. (Who is the number one seller of organic foods in the United States, these days? Walmart, that’s who.)

Very few communities of any size are left lacking at least one premium alternative to the standard chain offerings, whether it be a Whole Foods, a Sprouts, a Fresh Market, or a smaller, well-liked regional brand. Best of all, remote grocery shopping had already become simpler than ever, before this started. From store-operated curbside pickups at Wegmans, to Walmart’s nearly on-demand grocery delivery, backed by a thoroughly dynamic inventory keeper, it was possible, if you could tolerate doing so, to pretty much stay home indefinitely.

Some of us, a great deal many of us, it seemed, retreated to the internet entirely, relying on promising mail-order sites like Thrive Market, or Public Goods, or Mercato, all of which were immediately overwhelmed, but managed to weather the storm, and in the process gained streams of new customers. Everyone was hiring, to keep up with demand—Instacart alone announced it was aiming for a quarter of a million more shoppers across the country. Supposing you did not love going to the supermarket, before all this kicked off—the way the industry seems to be battling it out on home delivery, your prayers have been answered.

Whether you choose to never set foot in the store again, or you’re stuck at home longing for a return to normal at your old favorites—is Whole Foods even Whole Foods, without the olive bar?—you’ll want to know where to spend your grocery dollars wisely, and there were some clear winners this year. There wasn’t a corner of the business left unpillaged by the virus, but the question was, how did they respond? What steps were taken, when did they take them, and what are they doing now?

Quite simply, we wanted to know: Who do we want in our foxhole, now, and, let’s hope not too far into the future? Who did we want leaving our two-week supply on the doorstep, or in the trunk of our car? By virtue, no major corporation made up of human beings is ever going to be perfect, but here are ten companies we felt did their damndest.