Where to grocery shop ‘til you drop

Francesca Mitchell


Brightly lit aisles are filled with rows of food, dim music playing overhead, small talk between strangers and the squeaky sound of wheels rolling on the ground. Nugget Markets, Safeway and Trader Joe’s are the most visited grocery stores in Marin. Despite their similarities, these stores in Marin differ in various ways, including cost, customer service and food selection.

Nugget Markets Grocery: 

Gleaming produce suggests it’s fresh and delicious

The first thing I noticed about Nugget was its extraordinary selection. The produce section was very extensive with healthy, fresh-looking products and there was a wide spread of high-quality brands. Unlike other larger chains such as Safeway, all the shelves at Nugget were fully stocked and organized with care. The staff is friendly and helpful, providing attentive customer service,  I could always find a staff member to greet me with a genuine smile, unlike those seen at larger chains. Nugget is the smallest grocery store of the three, but don’t let that stop you from shopping there. They have, by far, the best quality food and the largest selection of it. That being said, they are the most expensive grocery store. If price is not a concern, then Nugget is the place to shop for high-quality, healthy food. 

Trader Joe’s: 

Bustling about, shoppers look for the next item they will place in their cart

Trader Joe’s is the most appealing to consumers on a price basis, especially when compared to Nugget, or even Safeway. Trader Joe’s product selection consists mainly of Trader Joe’s brand products, such as the ever-popular Trader Joe’s Chili and Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips. The meat and produce are equal in quality to Nugget despite the lower prices. However, these lower prices do come at a cost. Your favorite brands are not available at Trader Joe’s, as Trader Joe’s brand food often replaces them. Aside from product and price, the employees were equally as helpful as Nugget and helped me find any products I was looking for. It should also be noted that Trader Joe’s has a great selection of vegan foods such as tzatziki, caesar salad dressing and cauliflower gnocchi. Overall, Trader Joe’s is by far the best “bang for your buck,” but if you are looking for your favorite brands, you would be better suited to look at Nugget or Safeway.


Safeway is the biggest and most well-known grocery store in the area. They have a large array of products and are very diverse in their selection of brands. In addition, they have a bakery in store with fresh baked goods which can be great for a quick grab-and-go breakfast. To add to their bakery selection, they have a pastry chef available to make cakes and cupcakes. Although Safeway is very quick and convenient, the workers are few and far between and less willing to help. Unlike Nugget and Trader Joe’s, they also offer the convenience of self-checkout which can make grocery shopping much quicker and easier.