These Are America's Most Beloved Grocery Stores

See how ALDI, H-E-B, Publix, and more grocery stores rank in popularity.

Many consumers know perfectly well where their loyalties lie when it comes to grocery chains. Some shoppers are part of the Trader Joe's fandom, while others will bulk buy at Costco until the end of time. However, a recent ranking from marketing firm Dunnhumby shows some less recognized retailers are gaining popularity.

For its annual nationwide study, the Retailer Preference Index, Dunnhumby examined the grocery market in the U.S., analyzing both financial performance and a survey of more than 10,000 grocery shoppers. The data were used to rank grocery chains on five key points:

  • Price, Promotions, and Rewards
  • Quality
  • Digital
  • Operations
  • Speed and Convenience
  • These points are what make up the Retailer Preference Index.

    Based on this criteria, Dunnhumby ranked Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B as the top store among 65 national retailers in the industry. H-E-B scored highly in what Dunnhumby calls the two most important pillars of its index: 1) Price, Promotions, and Rewards and 2) Quality.

    This the third time since 2019 that H-E-B has snagged the top spot on Dunnhumby's ranking. Just behind H-E-B in the top five are Amazon, Costco, East Coast supermarket chain Market Basket, and Sam's Club.

Why H-E-B grocery stores are so beloved

How has H-E-B managed to beat out such large retailers while only operating grocery stores in a single U.S. state? In addition to the prices, discounts, and quality of products offered, Dunnhumby points to the grocer's unique offering of private label brands and highlights its hyper localization as an asset to the brand. H-E-B, being almost entirely Texas-based (with several locations in Mexico), is focused on its home state and local communities, which is what customers love and respond to most.

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Although Dunnhumby's top 16 is sprinkled with plenty of recognizable big names such as Wegmans, ALDI, Walmart, Publix, Target, and Trader Joe's, there are also some smaller brands that broke into the top spots. The marketing firm notes that for the first time in the seven year-history of this study, two Kroger brands made their way into the top rankings: Fry's came in at No. 13, and Kroger itself was not far behind at No. 15. Although not in the top 16, two other Kroger brands, Fred Meyer and King Soopers, also moved their way up the rankings from previous years.

Within the five pillars assessed by Dunnhumby, there were some other standouts. For example, Wegmans has held the No. 1 spot in the "Quality" metric every year since the Index's inception. Fareway, Publix, and ALDI lead in the "Speed and Convenience" category, just as they did last year. And although H-E-B ranks as the best grocery store overall, it loses to Amazon and others on the "Digital" front, coming in at No. 6 in the rankings.

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What grocery store would you go to bat for, and did it make it into these rankings? 

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