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Trader Joe's, Publix and Aldi are the nation's top three grocers by overall consumer preference.
That's according to the latest study by Market Force Information, which indicates that Trader Joe’s continues to build a loyal following with its diverse grocery selection and exceptionally friendly service.
A study of more than 7,200 consumers found that Trader Joe’s is America’s favorite grocery retailer for the third year in a row. Publix ranked a close second and Aldi was third. The study was designed to uncover consumers’ grocery-shopping habits, including the brands they prefer, why they prefer one to another, how they engage with various grocers and their social media use.
For the rankings, Market Force asked participants to rate their satisfaction with their most recent grocery shopping experience and their likelihood to refer that grocer to others. The results were averaged to rank each brand on a composite loyalty index.
Trader Joe’s took the No. 1 spot out of the 14 grocery chains studied, with a score of 78 percent, and was closely followed by Publix with 74 percent. Aldi, Hy-Vee and H-E-B rounded out the top five. Brands such as WinCo Foods, Albertsons and Sam’s Club made this year’s list, after failing to garner enough mentions in 2014.
Aldi wins on value, Publix on selection
Market Force looked at the operational and service attributes that set leading grocery brands apart, and found Publix and Trader Joe’s led in many key areas, including cashier courtesy, speedy checkouts and cleanliness. Aldi, WinCo Foods and Costco led in the value category, while ShopRite was rated highest for sales and promotions. H-E-B, Hy-Vee and Kroger also performed well in most areas.
“In the fiercely competitive grocery industry, customer satisfaction is the one measure that can tell you if you’re delivering on your brand promise or falling short,” said Cheryl Flink, chief strategy officer for Market Force. “Our research revealed that one in eight shoppers were disappointed with their most recent visit to their primary grocer, leaving ample room for improvement. This is especially impactful when you consider that delighted customers are 2.4 times more likely to recommend their grocer to others.”
High importance for organic and local
As consumers adopt more healthy eating habits, organic and locally sourced products grow in importance. The study found that 48 percent prefer to buy organic products, when given a choice. Produce is by far the most popular organic item – 90 percent said they had purchased it in the previous 30 days. Meat wasn’t far behind with 55 percent, dairy was a close third with 54 percent, and packaged canned (soups, sauces, etc.) and dry products (cereal, pasta, etc.) were each cited by 29 percent to tie for fourth. On the flip side, only 6 percent of shoppers reported purchasing organic baby products.