The Safest Grocery Store to Shop During the Pandemic

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Grocery store worker in a mask
SmartPhotoLab /

Millions of us continue to hunker down at home, trying to limit our outside activities to avoid the coronavirus. But even the most cautious souls must purchase groceries at some point.

Before choosing where to shop, know that some grocery chains might be a bit safer than others, according to a survey of grocers by Ipsos, a global research firm.

As part of its research, Ipsos sent out a crew of “mystery shoppers” to personally prowl the aisles of major retail chains nationwide. The shoppers then reported back on which stores did the best job of adhering to health and safety practices designed to lower the risk of coronavirus transmission.

The findings, released in September, are an update of a similar survey in June.

Whole Foods Market topped the list in both the June and September surveys. Ipsos says Whole Foods beat its competitors in several categories, including:

  • Having health and safety related signage
  • Store cleanliness
  • Compliance with employees wearing protective gear
  • Barriers to enforce distancing
  • Availability of sanitizing options

In 76% of Whole Foods stores visited, mystery shoppers witnessed employees actively cleaning high-touch areas. That compared to an average of 59% across all grocery stores included in the survey.

Associates wore masks at every Whole Foods store that mystery shoppers visited, and 98% of customers at these stores did the same.

Finally, 99% of Whole Foods stores enforced social distancing in some way, including closing every other checkout lane, and closing self-serve food and beverage stations.

Three other retailers also performed strongly in Ipsos’ survey: Trader Joe’s, ShopRite and Costco.

Making grocery shopping even safer

Another way to boost the safety of grocery shopping is to stay out of the store altogether. Several chains now allow you to pick up your goods without stepping foot in the store. Others will deliver groceries right to your door. For more, check out:

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.