12 Best Places to Buy Groceries in Toronto 2023: Food for Thought

If you are in Toronto and are looking to buy groceries or food, there are a ton of options for you to consider.

As of December 2021, there were roughly 5,321 different grocery stores in Toronto.

Grocery stores around Toronto adopt different approaches to bring in more customers. Some stores focus on being price leaders, while others focus on a more high-end experience.

Most grocery stores in Toronto also offer other products as well, such as toiletries and pet products. More generic retailers such as Walmart have also expanded to offer groceries.

We’ll cover the 12 best places to buy groceries in Toronto, and discuss some of their features below. All of the stores on our list are either large chain grocers or retailers.  

Best Places to Buy Groceries in Toronto

1. No Frills

No Frills
  • Location: All across Toronto
  • Prices: Low

No Frills is a very popular discount grocery chain in Toronto with locations all over the city. They focus on being price leaders and frequently offer very good deals on select products. These are usually advertised on their flyers or on their website.

The grocer currently has 14 stores operating in Toronto.

No Frills matches prices from competitors if you happen to find a similar product at a competing grocery chain store. No Frills is owned by Loblaw Companies Limited.

One popular generic brand offered by the store is the No Name brand, which is offered across all of Loblaw Companies Limited’s companies.

2. FreshCo

FreshCo
  • Location: All across Toronto
  • Prices: Low

FreshCo is the discount grocery chain under Sobeys, again with locations all over the city. Similar to No Frills, they focus on being price leaders and offer great deals across most products.

FreshCo currently has nine different locations within Toronto.

If you find a product that is offered at FreshCo at a competing grocer at a lower price, FreshCo will beat that price by one cent.

FreshCo offers a “double fresh” guarantee in the event that you are unsatisfied with your purchases (excluding some products). This means that you will get a refund for your purchase, and also get a replacement product in exchange.

One popular generic brand offered by the store is the No Name brand, which is offered across all of Loblaw Companies Limited’s companies.

3. Walmart

Walmart logo
  • Location: All across Toronto
  • Prices: Low

Walmart is a huge generic retailer that has also started selling groceries relatively recently.  It is a good store to consider if you have a diversified shopping list that includes items such as clothes or electronics.

Walmart offers free curbside pickup for orders of $25 or more. They also have a grocery delivery system in place if you prefer to have your purchases brought to your home. Walmart currently has six stores operating in Toronto.

The retailer competes on price across both groceries and other products that it sells.

While Walmart is a discount grocer, it does have low ratings online for its groceries. If price isn’t your only concern, other grocers may make more sense to consider.

4. Food Basics

Food Basics
  • Location: All across Toronto
  • Prices: Low

Food Basics is another discount grocery chain owned by Metro Inc. There are 11 Food Basics locations scattered across Toronto.

Food Basics tries its absolute best to have flyer-advertised items in stock. In the event that the product is out of stock, they will give you a rain check with an additional 10% off the next time that you visit.

The chain, like other discount grocers on the list, competes on price. If you are not satisfied with how fresh a product from Food Basics is, they will provide you with a full refund.

5. Foodland

Foodland
  • Location: A few locations in Toronto
  • Prices: High

The Foodland chain is owned by Sobeys. Foodland currently has only four locations in Toronto – much fewer than the discount grocery chains on our list.

User reviews show that Foodland has a good variety in terms of products that are available in-store. In some cases, employees will even carry your groceries to your car.

As a downside, in-store prices are on the high end when compared to other grocers that are available in Toronto.

6. Loblaws

Loblaws
  • Location: All across Toronto
  • Prices: High

The Loblaws supermarket is another very familiar name to anyone in Toronto. Since Loblaws is not a discount grocery store, you can expect to pay significantly higher prices for vegetables, meat, and other produce when shopping here.  

With very good variety, pristine locations, and higher quality produce than a lot of the discount grocers, Loblaws is a great place to go grocery shopping. If you are on a budget, the discount chains will likely be a better option.

In some cases, Loblaws supermarkets will also house other services such as those offered by dietitians, and optometrists. 

Lastly, Loblaws stores tend to be beautifully decorated and well-maintained, which is a welcome change considering how messy some discount grocery stores can get.

7. Metro

metro Stock logo
  • Location: All across Toronto
  • Prices: High

Metro supermarkets are owned by Metro Inc., which is the third-largest grocer in Canada. It currently has 11 grocery stores open across Toronto.

Metro frequently has self-checkout booths for speedier service and their stores are always clean and well-stocked.

Despite the great service and excellent selection, food prices at Metro can be significantly higher than at discount grocers. For this additional cost, you are getting a better selection of produce and meat than at most discount grocers.

8. Sobeys

Sobeys
  • Location: All across Toronto
  • Prices: High

Sobeys is a chain grocery retailer that is often quoted as having some of the highest food costs in Toronto. It is very widespread across Toronto with 14 locations.

The grocer does focus on sustainable practices, with a page on their website dedicated to Sobeys’ approach to sustainability.

Sobeys does have a great selection of products, and their stores are almost always clean and well organized.

Customer reviews about Sobeys are generally positive, but almost always mention the high item prices.

9. Rabba Fine Foods

Rabba Fine Foods
  • Location: All across Toronto
  • Prices: Above Average

Started in the ‘60s by Jack Rabba, Rabba Fine Foods has expanded dramatically across the GTA, with 12 locations within Toronto alone.

Reviews generally indicate that prices are higher than average, with some reviews complaining about poor customer service across multiple locations.

One amazing benefit of shopping at Rabba Fine Foods is that their locations are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This gives you additional flexibility if you are looking to purchase groceries during a holiday or late at night.

10.  Whole Foods

Whole Foods
  • Location: A few locations in Toronto
  • Prices: High

Acquired by Amazon in 2017, Whole Foods Market is another grocery chain to consider in Toronto for purchasing groceries. Whole Foods has much fewer locations across Canada than other retailers on our list, with only two in Toronto.

Although offering groceries at fairly high prices, Whole Foods stores are clean, well organized, and receive generally positive reviews.

Whole Foods is known for its organic product selection. With a big focus on quality, the chain has banned over 230 ingredients from the food that it sells.

11.  Highland Farms

Highland Farms
  • Location: A few locations in the GTA
  • Prices: High

Although there are no Highland Farms stores within downtown Toronto, there are three locations in Scarborough, Mississauga, and Vaughan. With prices on the high end and competing on quality, Highland Farms’ customer reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

Customers frequently praise the quality of meat and vegetables available in their stores. Their stores are also exceptionally clean, well organized, and offer a very wide selection of products.

Without a more central location, you may have to drive a bit to visit one of their locations.

12.  Costco

Costco
  • Location: A few locations in the GTA
  • Prices: Low

Last on our list is the bulk retailer Costco. Similar to Walmart, Costco is not a dedicated grocer but offers a good selection of groceries in bulk quantities and at great prices.

If you are looking to save as much money as possible on your groceries, especially non-perishables, buying from Costco in bulk is likely a great choice.

Similar to Highland Farms, there are no Costco locations in downtown Toronto, so you will have to drive to reach the closest store to you.

In order to be able to purchase groceries at Costco, you will have to sign up for a membership. Your membership card will be verified once inside, preventing non-members from shopping at Costco.

How Can I Spend Less on Groceries in Toronto?

How Can I Spend Less on Groceries in Toronto?

There are several approaches that you can take to spend less on groceries:

  • Avoid unnecessary impulse purchases
  • Create a shopping list ahead of time and stick to it
  • Plan a monthly food budget
  • Purchase in bulk from Costco or from discount grocers where possible
  • Buy groceries on sale
  • Buy food closer to its expiration date

Where is the Cheapest Place to Grocery Shop?

Where is the Cheapest Place to Grocery Shop?

The cheapest place to grocery shop in the GTA will likely be at any Costco location. Despite having to purchase a membership in order to buy groceries, the savings from purchasing in bulk will quickly add up.

Individual sales may also come up on specific products, especially at discount grocers. Make sure to keep an eye on flyers from discount grocers close to your home, and take advantage of great sales whenever you can.

Conclusion

With so many options to choose from when purchasing groceries, it generally comes down to a choice between price and quality.

If you are looking for cheaper groceries, good options include Costco, Freshco, No Frills, Food Basics, and Walmart.

If you are looking for higher-quality groceries and produce, consider Highland Farms, Whole Foods, Metro, Sobeys, or Loblaws. Remember that smaller, independent grocers exist as well. If you are looking to limit your spending on groceries, creating a budget is a great first step, and can now even be done through an app.

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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