It was almost too close to call, but Publix Super Markets has nosed out last year’s Most Trusted American grocer—H-E-B—to take the top honor in WGB and BrandSpark’s fourth annual report on the supermarkets winning the consumer confidence race.
With some 1,255 stores in seven states across the Southeast, Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix stakes its claim as the country’s largest employee-owned company and one of the top 10 largest volume supermarkets in the U.S. This year, it climbs 5 percentage points from 2019 to secure the “Most Trusted” title with 49% of shoppers who have visited a Publix in the past six months identifying it as the grocer they trust most. H-E-B comes in at 47%, while The Kroger Co. of Cincinnati rounds out the top three at 44%.
Toronto-based BrandSpark International, which conducted the Most Trusted online survey of more than 3,000 respondents (nationally representative by age, gender, census region and income level) in September 2020, underscores just how close the competition was this year.
“Publix and H-E-B are so close it doesn’t necessarily mean that Publix has usurped the throne. Both retailers have done a great job earning the trust and loyalty of their shoppers,” says Philip Scrutton, BrandSpark’s VP Shopper Insights. “It’s interesting to look at why H-E-B’s numbers went down a little.” Last year it had a 59% share of trust among its own shoppers.
“H-E-B is still very strong on satisfaction metrics. But it looks like they’ve attracted a lot of new shoppers who aren’t as immediately loyal, thus their base of shoppers is bigger, but softer. It will be exciting to see how this grocery competition develops into next year,” Scrutton says.
Most Trusted by All Shoppers
Base: All shoppers | * Past 6 months | ** Past 3 months