And it's not a small, obscure chain, either.
Shopping at Whole Foods may make you feel good about your choices (and less so about your bank account), but according to a customer satisfaction survey of major grocery chains, there’s one major supermarket that wins out over the organic behemoth: Kroger.
Morning Consult, a public opinion data company, just released their Spring 2017 Most Loved Brands list, a survey of about 200,000 customers regarding their favorability toward 500 of America’s most prominent companies (with a simple “favorable” or “unfavorable” line of questioning). While some of the data about food brands was to be expected (big beer companies all rated about the same, roughly 33% favorability, and 73% of people love Hershey’s chocolate because, well, chocolate), the grocery stores seemed to be where many people showed a clearer preference. Kroger garnered a 53% favorability compared to Whole Foods’ 48%. Rounding out the top 5 were Safeway with 40% favorability, and Albertsons and Publix with 33% each.
If you’re wondering why your beloved Trader Joe’s or Wegmans didn’t make the cut, that’s not because they’re not well-liked. A representative for Morning Consult tells Food & Wine that the store chains they studied were based on market share, so some brands like Trader Joe’s were not included due to a smaller national footprint. For example, The Kroger Company oversees nearly 2,800 supermarkets in 35 states and the District of Columbia while Trader Joe's only has 461 locations nationwide. However it should be noted that those smaller brands regularly top lists of fan favorites
Whole Foods has seen sales slump in recent years and thus has turned its sights toward new, less expensive '365' stores and announced plans to refocus and standardize more of the products they carry. Meanwhile, smaller-scale stores following the Trader Joe's model, such as Aldi and Lidl, are popping up and pulling in new, diehard shoppers with their kitschy vibe, original products and limited-yet-useful selection. You can see all of Morning Consult's results for America's Most Loved Brands here.