Grocery Wars: The City's Top Grocers Go Head to Head

We pit store against store to help you land on the best grocer for your family.

When Amazon bought Whole Foods in late 2017, it sent shudders through the already highly competitive grocery market. After all, Fort Worth saw not one but two grocery stores open and close in less than a year in the same location in University Drive’s WestBend development. With price and convenience wars going on among all of America’s grocery store chains, we take a closer look at Fort Worth’s offerings. What’s new, what’s different and what’s in store? It’s gloves off on Aisle 5.

Roy Pope
1943
 The first gourmet grocery and deli in town, Roy Pope will celebrate its 75th anniversary this spring.

Tom Thumb
Tom Thumb was founded in Dallas in 1948, and it has become a trusted source in North Texas, along with its siblings Albertsons and Randall’s. Tom Thumb was the first to introduce frozen vegetable cases and the first to have a combo grocery and pharmacy under one roof.

Central Market
1994
 H-E-B launched Central Market in 1994.

Natural Grocer
1955 
Founded in 1955, Natural Grocer has made a recent push in Tarrant County with four stores, including two in Fort Worth, one in Hurst and one in Keller.

Trader Joe’s
2012
 This cult-favorite California-based grocery store started in 1967 and opened its first Fort Worth store in 2012.

Whole Foods
2017 
Fort Worth finally landed a Whole Foods in 2017 when the Austin-based grocer opened at Waterside. There are also stores in Arlington and Colleyville.

Sprouts
Sprouts opened its first store in 2002 aiming to create a grocery experience where “you didn’t have to be wealthy to eat healthy.” Today there are about 300 locations, including two in Fort Worth, as well as Arlington and Keller locations.

Roy Pope
“We know most of our customers by name. We know how they want it cut and how thick or thin they like their sliced meats. We can ask if they want their ‘usual’ order and meet them at the front with it,” says Roy Pope owner Bob Larance.

Tom Thumb
Tom Thumb offers store brands like Own Brands, O Organic and Open Nature, along with hundreds of other organic and natural food items including hand-cut fresh fruits and vegetables.

Central Market
It’s well-known for having the most extensive selection under one roof. Their vast offerings of imported and local items, as well as fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood, are as wide ranging as it gets.

Natural Grocer
“Every product we sell in our stores is sold for a reason and a purpose, and not just because it sells,” says Kemper Isely, co-president of Natural Grocers. Natural Grocers offers a “clean” shopping experience with 100 percent organic produce, naturally raised meats, free-range eggs, pasture-based dairy, non-GMO prepackaged bulk products, and groceries that don’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives.

Trader Joe’s
The floorplan is compact, yet wide-ranging, offering plenty of organic options alongside some real indulgent items. “All of our products are taste tested by a panel before they hit the shelves. If they don’t love it, we don’t stock it,” says Kenya Friend-Daniel, Trader Joe’s public relations director.

Whole Foods
Whole Foods features over 500 local products on their shelves from more than 300 Texas suppliers, with many from the Fort Worth-Dallas area. A few of those local partners include Leaf Safari, Holy Kombucha, Soap Girl and Mill King Dairy. While at the heart of the store, The Bar features 16 draft beers including several local beers, 12 televisions, a custom shuffleboard and cozy seating. There’s also a full range of bulk offerings including flours, nuts, dried fruit, cereals, trail mixes, honey and candy.

Sprouts
The meat and fish market is home to an in-house, full-service butcher — ideal for customers with special requirements or looking for custom cuts. “Since our roots go back to farmers markets, Sprouts’ layout is open by design. Our fresh produce is actually our biggest traffic driver; that’s why it is centrally located in our stores,” says Kalia Pang, senior public relations specialist for Sprouts. The colorful produce is also attractively priced, with weekly specials that focus attention on specific items.

Roy Pope
The 6,000-square-foot grocery store (with its complete disregard for modernization) is charming and snug by today’s grocery standards.

Tom Thumb
The meat department offers complimentary marinades and seasonings. An on-site wine steward can help with pairings, and a staffed floral department can handle custom orders.

Central Market
The meandering floorplan always has something new to ogle over. The cheese shop alone can stop you in your tracks.

Natural Grocer
Each store has a resident nutritional health coach to help you as you shop. They offer free science-based nutrition classes, cooking demonstrations, and in-store presentations. You can even schedule a personal one-on-one health coaching session.

Trader Joe’s
Low prices. “We keep the middleman out and work directly with our suppliers, which keeps our prices low,” says Daniel. Trader Joe’s also strives to keep a fun and casual vibe. Staffers wear Hawaiian shirts, and you won’t notice typical grocery PA systems, rather employees communicate via a “morse code-like” bell system.

Whole Foods
A full-service seafood shop with experienced fishmongers can custom cut, season, steam, filet or portion your order for free. Ready-to-cook items are featured alongside seafood smoked in-store, with custom smoking available at no charge.

Sprouts
While you won’t find any of the traditional sodas, snacks and candy found in most stores, you won’t miss it much. “We are a complete grocery store, not a specialty store,” Pang says. One of the most unique sections is the vast assortment of health and wellness supplements packed into
each store, saving you a trip to a health or vitamin shop.

Roy Pope
Roy Pope was one of the first in town to deliver right to your door. They also introduced the first curbside delivery, which is still known as “Will Call.” Loyal customers have long been calling in their order and having it bagged and brought out the car for convenience.

Tom Thumb
Fort Worth customers can have items delivered in less than an hour thanks to a partnership with Instacart. Fees vary.

Central Market
Central Market launched its first-ever curbside service in Texas at our very own Fort Worth location in February. There is no minimum order to use the curbside service, only a pick-up fee of $4.95 plus a 3 percent personal shopping fee added to the total order.

Natural Grocer
Like Tom Thumb, Natural Grocers partners with Instacart, which operates as a same-day grocery delivery service.

Trader Joe’s
“We let our customers vote with their dollar and switch out our stock to meet their demands,” Friend-Daniel says.

Whole Foods
Concierge services include personal shopping with curbside pickup for a flat $5 fee. Shoppers can also enjoy additional savings through the Whole Foods Market Rewards app to access digital coupons, in addition to the full line of 365 Everyday Value products throughout the store.

Sprouts
Sprouts launched Instacart, a personal shopping and delivery service, in February.

Roy Pope Reese brand Mint Jelly pairs perfectly with lamb chops. The German Sauerkraut is authentic and packed with caraway seeds.

Tom Thumb It can be difficult to find wild-caught American Sea Scallops. These North Atlantic beauties are also Open Nature brand.

Central Market Imported from England’s Neal’s Yard Dairy is this amazing Shropshire Blue Cheese, with a nutty, cheddar backbone and a blue cheese pungency.

Natural Grocer Like Cool Ranch Doritos, Paqui Cool Salsa Verde chips are a much healthier option.

Trader Joe’s Trader Joe’s has become the go-to spot for peonies when the season hits in April and May. Shoppers can score six stems of peonies for $6.99.

Whole Foods Smoked Atlantic Salmon Candy is akin to bacon burnt ends at Heim Barbeque. Soapgirl is a line of artisan soaps from Dallas. Try the grapefruit and sea salt.

Sprouts Bright and fresh-tasting, Sprouts Marinara Pasta Sauce is the ideal canvas for many Italian dishes.