Walmart and Kroger were named the nation’s most-trusted grocery stores in a special report by brand consultancy BrandSpark International and Newsweek.
New York-based BrandSpark polled 3,200 U.S. adults on which grocery store banners they trust the most as part of a special edition of its 2022 BrandSpark Most Trusted Awards (BMTAs). Leading grocery retail brands were identified in 32 categories, including the top five grocers nationally as well as by region, store format and 22 attributes that indicate trust.
At the national level, U.S. consumers ranked Walmart first and Kroger second as Brandspark’s most-trusted grocers for 2022, followed by Aldi (No. 3), Publix Super Markets (No. 4) and Costco Wholesale (No. 5).
ShopRite, part of grocery retail cooperative Wakefern Food Corp., was the only brand other than Walmart to rank as the most-trusted grocer for its region, the Northeast. Next up in the Northeast region were Walmart, Aldi, Stop & Shop and Wegmans Food Markets.
Walmart came in at No. 1 in the Midwest, South and West. Also finishing in the top five by region after Walmart were Kroger, Aldi, Meijer and Hy-Vee for the Midwest; Publix, Kroger, H-E-B and Aldi for the South; and Safeway, Costco, Trader Joe’s and Kroger for the West.
Grocery retailers also were ranked by format in terms of customer trust. Aldi led the field in the small-format grocery store and discount grocery store categories, while Whole Foods Market finished first among natural grocery stores. Dollar General and Dollar Tree tied for the No. 1 spot in the dollar store category, and 7-Eleven ranked first in the convenience store segment.
“Shoppers want their grocery trips to be convenient and efficient, especially during the pandemic and this busy holiday season. This means easily finding the quality items they expect at great-to-fair prices,” Philip Scrutton, vice president of shopper Insights at BrandSpark, said in a statement. “Great grocers are trusted to fulfill this time after time and across channels, while the best add exceptional service or unexpected value.”
BrandSpark said the 2022 grocery retail Most Trusted Award winners are ranked based on the greatest volume of mentions. Brands voted as most-trusted rank first, and any brands ranked Nos. 1 to 5 are considered “Top 5 Trust Leaders,” having earned a significant trust share in the category, according to Brandspark. The national, regional and attribute results are based on selection from a list of 52 retailers, while the results by store format reflect “top-of-mind unaided responses,” the consultancy said.
Walmart took the No. 1 slot as most-trusted in 15 of the 22 attributes, which ranged from measures such as easy checkout, in-store experience, store cleanliness and health/safety and customer service/friendly staff to sales and deals, loyalty programs, store brands/private labels, store layout and up-to-date stores. Attributes also covered product categories like beauty, fresh meat, fresh produce, prepared meals, food and beverages, gourmet foods, household/home goods, natural/organic foods and international foods, among other items.
Still, other grocery chains garnered greater trust from shoppers in specific areas, Brandspark noted. For example, H-E-B had the No. 1 ranking in checkout experience and in-store experience, while Whole Foods finished first in four product areas: gourmet foods, healthy prepared foods, international foods and natural/organic foods. Kroger was the only other retailer to earn a No. 1 ranking in attributes, taking the top spot for loyalty program rewards.
Other grocery retailers receiving most-trusted mentions from consumers by attribute included Giant Eagle (checkout experience, food and beverages, loyalty program, OTC health products, store organization), The Giant Company (in-store experience, fresh meat), Hannaford (in-store experience, fresh produce), Amazon Fresh (gourmet foods, healthy prepared foods, home goods, natural/organic foods), Amazon Go (healthy prepared foods, home goods), Trader Joe’s (gourmet foods, natural/organic foods), The Fresh Market (gourmet foods, natural/organic foods), Weis Markets (in store health and safety) and Sprouts Farmers Market (natural/organic foods).
“When grocers prioritize trust building, they create a win-win for themselves and consumers,” commented Adam Bellisario, associate vice president at BrandSpark. “Trust building requires you to identify your strengths and weaknesses on key drivers, put an action plan in place to increase trust and then measure the results.”