Special Report

The Most Popular Grocery Store Chain in Every State

There are nearly 40,000 grocery stores in the US, including dozens of national and regional supermarket chains, gourmet and specialty markets, and bulk buying clubs. It’s common for a suburban area to have five or six different grocery stores within driving distance. With so many options for consumers to choose from, chain retailers are constantly on their toes, upgrading their layouts, product selections, and online shopping platforms to keep up with buying trends. (Here 24 are food and drink trends for 2022.)

The grocery retail market in the U.S. is extremely competitive, which is understandable for an industry that brought in nearly $760 billion in 2021. Some chain grocers – like A&P and Food Fair – have disappeared from the market as they go bankrupt or are bought out by larger chains, while growing brands are constantly edging into new territory. 

The three largest supermarket chains in the country by revenue – Kroger, Ahold Delhaize, and Albertsons – have gotten there in part by acquiring other regional chains. Kroger owns and operates over a dozen brands, including Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, and Ralphs. Ahold Delhaize, a Dutch-based multinational retailer, counts Hannaford, Stop & Shop, and Food Lion in its portfolio; Albertsons sells groceries under 20 different banners, including Safeway, Acme, Shaw’s, and Vons.  

To compile a list of the most popular supermarket chain in every state, 24/7 Tempo used data from Yelp and Google Trends. After finding the five grocery stores in each state with the highest number of favorable Yelp reviews, we used Google Trends to find which had the highest search volume between Jan. 21, 2021 and Jan. 20, 2022. 

Walmart and Costco rank amongst the largest grocery retailers in the country, but weren’t considered for this list since they are primarily sellers of general merchandise of many kinds. (Here are 29 things you should never buy at Walmart.)

Neither the Northeastern darling Wegmans nor the Texas favorite H-E-B appear here, nor does the Amazon-owned Whole Foods, presumably suggesting that a preponderance of shoppers prefer larger national chains. 

Click here to see the most popular grocery store chain in every state

The most popular grocery store turned out to be Kroger, ranking at No. 1 in eight states, while Hy-Vee took the lead in six states. Two chains on the list – Trader Joe’s and Aldi – operate as limited assortment grocers, who offer a small selection of goods with a fraction of the footprint of a regular supermarket. Others go for volume, with some chains standing out for having the cleanest stores, friendliest workers, best customer loyalty programs, or best selection of prepared foods (including sushi, made-to-order subs, even wood-fired pizza).

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