Consumers in the U.S. visit retail grocery stores and supermarkets more often than any other kind of retail store. Because of this, a point of curiosity is which grocery stores and supermarkets are the best.
Each year U.S. grocery and supermarket retail chains sell over $638 billion worth of products, according to the most recent figures available from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). It's easy to understand why the retail food sector of the U.S. retail industry is so strong, so crowded, and so competitive when you look at the numbers. The typical U.S. consumer makes an average of 1.6 trips to a grocery store each week, buying an average of $30.62 worth of merchandise in each supermarket transaction. And the average consumer spends 5.6 percent of their disposable income on food that they prepare and consume at home.
What Consumers Want in a Grocery Store
Of the many choices that U.S. consumers have to consider, the following attributes make a grocery store, or supermarket chain, the most preferred among shoppers.
- Value for money
- Cashier courtesy
- Fast checkouts
- Availability of items
- Ease of finding items
The Top 5 Grocers
Among the top U.S. grocers, Publix and Wegmans are America's favorite grocery retailers, tying for first place in overall ranking in a consumer study of more than 12,700 shoppers conducted by Market Force Information (Market Force). Trader Joe's is a close second and H-E-B ranks third. This is the second consecutive year that Wegmans has held the top spot, after unseating long-running Trader Joe's in 2016.
Publix, which ranked second for the past four years, earned a first-place tie with Wegman's with. Each scored 77 percent on the Market Force's Customer Loyalty Index. Trader Joe's narrowly missed the lead spot with 76 percent, and H-E-B made the top three for the first time with 69 percent, a significant 10 percent increase from 2016. ALDI and Harris Teeter rounded out the top five with 68 percent and 66 percent, respectively.
A Look at Top-Ranked Publix and Wegmans
Publix Super Markets is the largest employee-owned grocery chain in the country and has been named to Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list every year since the list's inception. The grocery store chain's engaged and friendly associates help deliver on Publix's motto; "where shopping is a pleasure."
Wegmans, founded in 1916, is known for its fresh produce, reasonable prices, and massive stores. The New York-based chain is expanding steadily, in large part because of their focus on employee training to ensure an excellent customer experience. This has resulted in Wegman's being able to create super fans that are eager for new locations to open close to where they live.
The Cleanest Store and Who Delivers on Ease-Of-Finding Items
What sets one grocer apart from the others in shoppers minds is (first and foremost) being able to find items they want, a category where Publix is a clear leader scoring a 66 percent approval ranking. Publix was also found to have the cleanest stores (scoring a whopping 83 percent) and has the fastest check out speeds at 66 percent. Trader Joe's had the most courteous cashiers scoring 82 percent. ALDI led for value, followed by WinCo Foods and Costco, scoring 87 percent, 83 percent, and 83 percent respectively. Walmart landed at the bottom in all categories except value for money coming in 6th place at 58 percent.