(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

When it comes to shopping for meat, whether it’s fresh, frozen, or prepared, consumers have a lot of options. But where can you find that sweet spot of high quality and low prices? The folks at Mashed have compiled a list of the best and worst grocery stores to buy meat. Here’s what they have to say about retailers with locations in North Carolina.

Best Grocery Stores For Meat

  • Costco – The wholesale club sells USDA Prime Beef which means more fat, flavor and marble as well as organic ground beef. 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 bird.
  • Publix – This supermarket chain has a great variety of ground beef, group-raised veal, pork, steaks, chicken, racks of lamb, turkeys, and more. One Reddit user says the grade of beef at Publix is higher than meat at Kroger or Walmart. According to Price of Meat, Publix provides affordable, quality, and healthy meat.
  • 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.
  • SproutsPrice of Meat says that Sprouts’ 100% grass-fed 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 offer deli sandwiches that taste better than what you can get at some sandwich shops.
  • 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. Mashed says Wegmans provides great variety, fair prices, and high-quality meats.

Worst Grocery Stores For Meat

  • Aldi – This chain founded in Germany is famous for low prices but several shoppers on Reddit say to avoid buying your meat there. One 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.”
  • 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.” Eww…
  • 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.
  • 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.

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