Study Reveals America's Top Grocery Chains - and Costco Isn't #1

Your grocery store may have made the list for its high marks for price, quality, and more.

woman wearing eyeglasses holds cart
Updated July 18, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Is your grocery store one of the best in the country or a real dud? A company called dunnhumby, which advises retailers about consumer issues, put together its seventh annual Retailer Preference Index to track consumer trends among grocery stores.

Several well-known stores made the list while Trader Joe’s just missed out, ending up 16th in the survey.

But which store reached the top spot? You may be surprised by the answer. Check out the top 15 to see where your favorite stores landed, and where you might want to try shopping if you want to save more on everyday essentials.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today


wolterke/Adobe Kroger store exterior

Kroger is in the process of merging with Albertsons grocery store chain so you may be able to try out a Kroger option even if you don’t have one nearby yet.

The merger is still being reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission, so it may be some time before you see a Kroger arrive in your neighborhood.

WinCo Foods

Oksana/Adobe A Winco food store

You may not have heard of WinCo Foods as the grocery chain only has 140 locations in 10 states and is mainly in the western United States.

But the small chain seems to have made a big impression in the dunnhumby survey by ending up among the top 15 best grocery chains in the country.


Eduardo Barraza/Adobe fry's food marketplace

You’ll have to travel to Arizona to get a taste of what makes Fry’s so great.

The grocery retailer is in 34 cities but all of them are in Arizona so you’ll need to make some room in your suitcase for your Fry’s finds if you don’t live in the state.

Get a protection plan on all your appliances

Did you know if your air conditioner stops working, your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it? Same with plumbing, electrical issues, appliances, and more.

Whether or not you’re a new homeowner, a home warranty from Choice Home Warranty could pick up the slack where insurance falls short and protect you against surprise expenses. If a covered system in your home breaks, you can call their hotline 24/7 to get it repaired.

For a limited time, you can get your first month free with a Single Payment home warranty plan.

Get a free quote


wolterke/Adobe vacant entrance in front of target

Target might be better known for home goods and seasonal items, but you can also grab plenty of treats from its grocery section.

Target’s shelves include plenty of store-brand items that can help you save extra cash like the retailer’s Good and Gather brand for everyday grocery items or its Favorite Day brand for specialty treats.


John Mantell Photo/Adobe cape coral publix store

Head south to check out a Publix and see if you can find some great deals.

The grocery chain has almost 1,400 locations across eight states in the South, but your best bet is to find a location in Florida as more than 60% of Publix locations are located in the Sunshine State.


Michael Vi/Adobe Walmart store facade

Walmart is located in all 50 states with groceries as a part of its stores, making it easy to go there for one-stop shopping to grab clothes, home goods, and food.

Like Target, Walmart also has a store brand with plenty of affordable options under its Great Value label for you to check out when you’re shopping on a budget.

Walmart Neighborhood Market

wolterke/Adobe walmart sign on a sunny street.

You may be more familiar with big Walmart stores compared to Walmart Neighborhood Markets, but it may be an option to check out.

Walmart Neighborhood Markets are smaller stores that specialize in groceries. They may also have beauty care options and a pharmacy.

It’s a great alternative if you don’t want to deal with the crowds of a typical Walmart store while shopping.


ALAN/Adobe shoprrite supermarket

Head to the northeast to find a local ShopRite, which is located in eight states on the East Coast and New England.

New Jersey may be your best choice to find a ShopRite with 58% of the store’s locations in the Garden State. But you can also find ShopRites in New York, Pennsylvania, and even a few in Connecticut.


wolterke/Adobe adi supermarket and trademark logo

Aldi started as a German grocery store before making its way to the States with unique finds at affordable prices.

Aldi fans may want to keep an eye out for seasonal merchandise that shows off their love for the store like Aldi sweaters, travel mugs, backpacks, and even pajamas.

Stop overpaying when you shop online

Shopping online has its perks. It's super convenient, but it can be time consuming to find the best deals. Instead of hunting for coupon codes (that don't always work!) and opening tons of browser tabs comparing prices, you can try Capital One Shopping.

Capital One Shopping makes saving money effortless. Just add the browser extension and when you check out, it'll scour the internet for coupon codes to help you save cash. And before you check out at 25+ major retailers, Capital One Shopping will notify you with a friendly pop-up if the item you're buying is available cheaper somewhere else.

Capital One Shopping is free to use and won't show you ads. Add it today and stop overpaying!2

Get Capital One Shopping now


JHVEPhoto/Adobe A Wegmans store

Wegmans is located in nine states on the East Coast so pack your bags to find out why the chain has so many fans.

The grocery chain has a wide selection of specialty foods and fresh-baked items, or you can check out your local store’s olive bar to get olives for any occasion in its uniquely designed stores that make you feel like you’re not in a grocery store.

Sam’s Club

CPR/Adobe sam's club store front

Bulk retailers like Sam’s Club are a great option if you want to save money on a per-unit cost for bulk items.

Check out Sam’s Club to stock up on snacks for the family or supplies for your next barbecue. You should also make sure you grab some non-food items from the retailer like toilet paper and paper towels so you always have some in stock at home.

Market Basket

Michal/Adobe market near vegetable shelves

Market Basket is only in a small number of states, but New Englanders are sure to enjoy a trip there for groceries.

The grocery chain only has 95 locations across four states: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island.


BINGJHEN/Adobe costco wholesale storefront in kaohsiung taiwan

You may be surprised that Costco is only third on the list, but it’s still near the top because of its great deals on bulk items, household goods, electronics, and more.

You should also stop by the store’s food court for pizza, smoothies, or the retailer’s famous hot-dog-and-drink combo that only costs $1.50.

In fact, the company opened its own hot dog factory to help keep the cost of the food court deal at such a low price point.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to check out the best Costco shopping hacks to save even more.


Mike Mareen/Adobe amazon logistics center

Amazon may be a surprising entry on this list due to its online nature that allows customers to order groceries for delivery or pick them up at a nearby store like Whole Foods, which is owned by the online retailer.

You can choose from different kinds of options and have them delivered to your door or pick them up at a nearby grocery retailer, making Amazon a unique but convenient option if you don’t mind trying a typical grocery store alternative.


JHVEPhoto/Adobe h-e-b supermarket store sign

You’ll have to travel to the Lone Star State as H-E-B is only in one location in the U.S.: Texas.

This is the second consecutive year that the retailer made the top spot of the dunnhumby survey, which measures things like prices, quality, and operations.

The store also is a hit with shoppers who appreciate the retailer’s love for all things Texas, like Texas-shaped pans and Texas-shaped tortilla chips as well as specialty items from local stores like Whataburger.

Bottom line

AIPERA/Adobe women shopping in the supermarket

There are plenty of ways to save money on groceries whether your store is one of the top 15 on the dunnhumby list or not.

Make sure you take a shopping list with you when you get groceries so you can stick to your budget.

It’s also a good idea to sign up for a grocery store’s app or loyalty program to earn extra perks or save money depending on how often you shop there.

Lucrative, Flat-Rate Cash Rewards


Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Current Offer

$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months

Annual Fee


Rewards Rate

Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and