2021's Most Trusted Grocery Retailers

Loyalty Subjects

In the almighty quest for repeat shopper engagement, H-E-B has once again proven itself the frontrunner in cultivating loyalty

The grocer surged ahead in the rankings to reclaim the “Most Trusted” title with 59% of shoppers who have visited an H-E-B in the past six months (up from 47% last year) identifying it as the grocer they trust the most. The Kroger Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio, and last year’s Most Trusted, the Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix tied for second at 49%.

BrandSpark International, which conducted the Most Trusted online survey of nearly 3,200 respondents (residents of the United States. 18 and older, nationally representative by age, gender, census region and income level) in October 2021, reports a number of notable shifts in this year’s rankings. While H-E-B, Kroger and Publix maintained their strong ratings, ShopRite (Most Trusted by 46% of own shoppers this year, up from 34% in 2020) and Meijer (at 40% in 2021, up from 33% last year) experienced major gains.

“Many leading grocers saw ‘pandemic rebounds’ as trust and loyalty among their own shoppers increased following disruption last year,” says Philip Scrutton, VP Shopper Insights. And while traffic to big box retailers and club stores such as Walmart, Target and Costco, which attracted one-stop-shoppers in droves during the height of the pandemic, has remained strong, their total reach declined as consumers re-embraced traditional banners, discounters like Aldi, and specialty stores such as Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s.

“Being Most Trusted among a larger share of recent visitors reflects loyalty and predicts a growing share of shopping occasions and future resilience for the banner,” says Scrutton. “Five of the top six trusted banners’ share saw major rebounds as the store visited ‘most often’ by their shoppers in 2021.”

H-E-B, Kroger, ShopRite, WinCo and Meijer all gained significant ground as the stores shopped most often by their own shoppers. The Toronto-based BrandSpark further found that 72% of shoppers had visited their most trusted grocery store more than any other in the prior three months.

And when it comes to trusted by the most shoppers vs. most trusted by own shoppers, with 22% of all shoppers citing Walmart as the store they shop the most, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer is once again the grocer trusted by the most Americans for groceries.

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