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The Ten Most Popular Grocery Chains in America

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In general, there are three types of grocery stores: those that stop at the nearest store, those that follow sales announcements, and those that go out of their way to go shopping at their favorite store.

But which grocery stores do Americans prefer? The one stop shop that has everything or the smaller store with fewer choices but amazing prices? Turns out we like both.

GOBankingRates examined the results of a survey conducted by YouGov Ratings to determine what America thinks of grocery stores by measuring their popularity rating. Read on to see the 10 most popular stores, in reverse order.

See: Costly Mistakes People Make While Shopping
Keep reading: 26 ways to eat healthy without breaking the bank

10. Piggly Wiggly

Popularity rating: 40%

Piggly Piggly was founded by innovator Clarence Saunders in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1916. Back then, shoppers would give clerks a list to choose their items for them. Saunders created Piggly Wiggly as the first self-service grocery store, with carts and aisles for shopping with goods on open shelves. The store was also the first to refrigerate produce to keep it fresh longer, he boasts. Today, Piggly Wiggly has over 530 stores in 17 states.

To learn: 25 Extra Grocery Expenses You’re Probably Forgetting

9. Winn Dixie

Popularity rating: 42%

Winn-Dixie operates full-service grocery stores, with liquor departments and in-store pharmacies in five Southeast states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. Founded in 1925, Winn-Dixie has a robust app and rewards program, including Baby Club.

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8. Circle K

Popularity rating: 43%

Generally classified as a convenience store, Circle K started in 1951 when Fred Hervey purchased three Kay’s grocery stores in El Paso, Texas. Circle K sells all the food needed for people on the go – ready-to-eat foods and snacks – as well as staples for the cupboard and fridge at home. Circle K has approximately 9,500 stores in North America.

Read more: AmazonFresh, Instacart and more: The best grocery delivery service for your budget

7. Publix

Popularity rating: 43%

George W. Jenkins ran a Piggly Wiggly in Winter Haven, Florida, and thought the store could do better. When the owner refused to meet to hear his ideas, he founded his own store in the same town in 1930, according to the company’s biography. Today, according to Publix, it is the largest employee-owned company with more than 1,300 stores, mostly in Florida, as well as six other southeastern states.

Alternatives: Online grocery stores under the radar – and how much they charge for convenience


Popularity rating: 44%

The first chain with roots in the West, Safeway is now a division of the Albertsons Companies, which has branches in 35 states and the District of Columbia under 20 store banners. The store dates back to 1915, when MB Skaggs purchased his father’s small grocery store. By 1926 it had opened 428 Skaggs stores in 10 states, and later that year a merger with 322 Safeway stores started a large chain that survived the Great Depression. Among its innovations: the start of pricing products by the pound.

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5. Whole Foods Market

Popularity rating: 55%

The first Whole Foods Market opened in Austin, Texas, when four locals chose to start selling natural foods in a supermarket-like setting. It expanded into Texas, then New Orleans and later Northern California, adding stores organically as well as through acquisitions across the country and eventually into Canada and Europe. The stores themselves are known for their local products. A recently opened store in San Francisco, for example, offers 4,000 local products, including Californian wines and artisan cheeses.

Learn more: How to beat inflation at Costco and other grocery stores

4. 7-Eleven

Popularity rating: 57%

In 1927, “Uncle Johnny” Jefferson Green began selling commodities from the dock of an icehouse in Dallas – the ultimate in customer convenience. Ten years later, the president of the ice cream company expanded the concept and called the new locations Tote’m Stores, and in 1946 the new name was adopted to reflect the store’s opening hours. Like Circle K, 7-Eleven is more of a convenience store than a grocery store but sells the basics.


Popularity rating: 57%

Kroger is the flagship store of Kroger Co., which operates nearly 2,800 stores in 35 states under 28 different names. Its headquarters are in Cincinnati, where Barney Kroger used his savings of $372 to open the first location in 1883. His focus then was to sell customers fresh, low-cost food, but Kroger is now a place to buy groceries, fill your prescriptions and fill your gas tank.

See: 39 supermarket purchases that are a waste of money

2. Aldi

Popularity rating: 58%

Aldi opened in 1961 in Germany and moved to the United States in 1976. Without the square footage or frills of other grocers, Aldi is guided by the principle that high quality products can always be offered at everyday low prices. The company’s philosophy: only four to five aisles with all the essentials, according to its website. Today, Aldi has about 2,000 stores in 36 states.

1. Trader Joe’s

Popularity rating: 59%

The first Trader Joe’s opened in Pasadena, California, but expanded nationwide, now calling itself “a national chain of neighborhood grocery stores.” It aims to provide exceptional quality at the lowest possible prices. Her ardent fans are particularly drawn to the store’s Mandarin Chicken, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, Unexpected Cheddar, Everything But Bagel Seasoning Mix and Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, according to the 13and Annual Customers’ Choice Awards.

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About the Author

Jami Farkas holds a degree in communications from California State University, Fullerton, and has worked as a reporter or editor for daily newspapers across the United States. She brings to GOBankingRates her experience as a sports writer, business writer, religious writer, digital writer – and more. Passionate about real estate, she passed the real estate licensing exam in her state and is still debating whether to get into home selling – or just writing about home selling.