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Market Force Information is out with an assessment of the nation's grocery stores, concluding after a survey of more than 12,700 consumers that Publix and Wegmans are tied as America's favorite supermarkets, followed by Trader Joe's and H-E-B.

According to the survey, "This is the second consecutive year that Wegmans has held the top spot in the annual study, after unseating long-running favorite Trader Joe’s in 2016.

"Publix, which ranked second for the past four years, earned a first-place tie with Wegmans, with each scoring 77% on Market Force’s Customer Loyalty Index. Trader Joe’s narrowly missed the lead spot with 76%, and H-E-B made the top three for the first time with 69% - a 10% increase from 2016. ALDI and Harris Teeter rounded out the top five with 68% and 66%, respectively."

The survey goes on: "What sets one grocer apart from the others in shoppers’ minds? For one, being able to find the items they want, a category where Publix was a clear leader. Publix was also found to have the cleanest stores and fastest checkout speeds. Wegmans ranked highest for its specialty department service, and a close second for item availability. Trader Joe’s was found to have the most courteous cashiers. ALDI once again led for value, followed by WinCo Foods and Costco. Harris Teeter, Hy-Vee, ALDI and H-E-B all fared well in the rankings, while Walmart landed at the bottom in all categories but one."

Two other interesting observations from the survey:

• "The use of click-and-collect has more than doubled since 2016, with 9% saying they’ve tried it, compared to 4% in 2016. Of those, 78% were satisfied or very satisfied with the experience. Most click-and-collect shoppers use the service at Walmart, followed by Kroger, Sam’s Club and Harris Teeter. Twenty-six percent are frequent users, taking advantage of click-and-collect at least monthly.

"Home delivery services are also growing in popularity – 18% said they’ve used grocery home delivery, compared to 15% in 2016. Most are using the service through general online retailers such as Amazon and Jet. However, one-fifth were less than satisfied with the experience, leaving ample room for improvement."

• "Market Force found that 11% of consumers studied had tried a meal kit delivery service at least once, however, nearly half (47%) were less than satisfied with the experience. When asked why they opted for a meal delivery service, 51% indicated they were looking to add variety to their meal planning. Others top reasons were to have a fun experience, try new ingredients, save time and reduce decision-making.

"Blue Apron is the most popular meal kit service, with 39% indicating they’ve tried it, HelloFresh was second with 30% and Home Chef was third with 10%. However, 76% who tried a meal delivery service have stopped using it, primarily because of poor value, but also portion size and prep time. Home Chef has the highest satisfaction rating and the lowest customer churn."
KC's View:
As usual, I am a little leery about such conclusions, if only because people sometimes will conflate "favorite" with "best." This is not to suggest that Wegmans and Publix are not wonderful supermarkets, just that surveys such as these tend to be weighted toward stores with large footprints in highly populated areas.

And so, retailers such as Dorothy Lane Markets, Lunds & Byerly's, Westborn Market, Zupans, and Metropolitan Markets do terrific and often unparalleled jobs bringing food to their shoppers, but don't show up on such surveys.

By the way ... it is retailers such as these that make me believe in the future of bricks-and-mortar ... because they give people a reason to go to the store by offering compelling, illuminating and fulfilling experiences.