What’s the best supermarket in Southern California?

9 Aug

If you had asked me “What’s the best supermarket?” when I was living in London, I would give you two answers: Waitrose (quality) and ASDA (value). Now that I’m back in Southern California, it’s irrelevant. So one must decide in their lifetime (preferably now) what’s a good supermarket. In Southern California, you’ve got the big three: Albertson’s (owned by SuperValu), Ralphs (owned by Kroger) and Vons (owned by Safeway). Then you’ve got the bit players like Fresh & Easy and Stater Bros. So what’s the best supermarket in Southern California? First, I’ll tell you the worst supermarket in Southern California.

Worst Supermarket in Southern California: Ralphs

Why am I hatin’ on Ralphs? It’s hard to arbitrarily hate a supermarket, but I have grown to hate Ralphs. First, the prices are astronomical. A gallon of milk at Ralphs costs about 50 cents more than other supermarkets in the area. Second, their store brands are of sub-par quality and not worth the price. Don’t get me started with their stick-figure mascots:

Who did Kroger trust to run Ralphs marketing campaign? Some no-name elementary school? Amateurs.

…and now for the moment you’ve been waiting for. The best supermarket in Southern California is…

IT’S A TIE! Fresh & Easy and Vons

Why did I choose two supermarkets as opposed to one? Both have strong qualities that I like in a supermarket. Fresh & Easy has good value at almost excellent quality, especially their ready meals, which they blow all competitors away (even Trader Joes). If a supermarket’s got awesome ready meals like Tikka Masala and Jambalaya rice, then you’ve definitely won my heart. Vons products have excellent quality, especially in its dairy (Lucerne brand) and store-brand products. I give Vons a commendation for its O Organics label for being a more reasonably-priced organics brand. Did I forget to mention their store layout rocks?

I’m sure you want to know if I’ve got any reservations on these choices. Of course I do. Fresh & Easy doesn’t promote itself as much as it should, relying on word of mouth and Tuesday inserts. Mind you that Fresh & Easy is owned by Tesco, one of the world’s largest retailers (in some cases, second to Walmart), so they need to make a good effort to spread the brand. In addition, Fresh & Easy should keep their aisles stocked more often and add just a little bit more products. Just a little bit. As for Vons, their prices are a bit expensive for a mainstream supermarket and they should have more locations (the one in my city closed recently, but they haven’t renovated the location in years).

There you have it. Do you think I’m justified in these conclusions? Am I too harsh on Ralphs? Let me know in the comments.

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5 Responses to “What’s the best supermarket in Southern California?”

  1. rw August 9, 2010 at 23:11 #

    Oh damn, I haven’t even noticed the whole stick figure thing from ralphs. There are lots of ralphs around, and it is definitely a very popular supermarket in southern california, especially to those college kids nearby them. I’ve noticed that some ralphs are rather good, and others are more on the bad end. Their prices are higher, unless there are awesome sales, such as dollar large bottles of arizona green tea. Some ralphs are quite understocked, but there are 3 or 4 within 1.6 miles from me, so haha… yeah, more ralphs varities.
    Vons/pavillions have great sandwich deals at times. No extra charge for avocado, and those free sandwich coupons are amazing.
    I haven’t been to a fresh & easy yet, but I’ve heard many good things about them, so I better check one out whenever I’m around one.

  2. Theresa_w August 10, 2010 at 20:07 #

    Honestly the worst, Stater brothers, every single one of them is so dirty! The lines are horrible, I get frustrated just thinking about them lol!

    • efcarrasco August 11, 2010 at 22:09 #

      Not sure if all the Stater Bros are dirty, but I know quite a lot of them! Don’t get me started with the lines and how outdated a lot of them are!

  3. MarQ August 12, 2010 at 01:15 #

    food 4 less?

    wait, I think they’re pretty awesome.

  4. efcarrasco August 12, 2010 at 20:41 #

    Lol, Food 4 Less.

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