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Harris Poll Names Top U.S. Grocery Chains

July 20, 2014
by Candy & Snack TODAY

New York — Hy-Vee, Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. were among the top four grocery chains ranked by region, according to the 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend study.

For the first time in the poll’s history, Americans were surveyed about grocery retailers on a regional level, broken down by region: west, midwest, northeast and south. In addition, Harris Poll reports a mix of retail formats were used in the study, including traditional grocers, mass and club retailers with grocery sections, and discount stores.

Costco received the highest ranking of retailers in the western region based on a large portion of consumers being “extremely familiar” with the brand as well as having notable quality, according to Michael Treboni, executive vice-president (EVP) of professional services for Nielsen Holdings N.V., parent company of The Harris Poll.

Midwest Grocery Store Brand of the Year was awarded to Hy-Vee. “It has strong purchase consideration scores and very ‘connected consumers,’ meaning they have strong feelings for the brand and believe it’s a good fit for them,” Treboni says. While the retailer doesn’t rank among the most familiar brands for the region, its consumers give it high scores in quality and purchase consideration, the poll finds.

Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. ranked the highest in the northeast, despite having a smaller footprint than many competitors. However, strong consumer response to the retailer’s quality and purchase consideration make them “look like a regional David among national-brand Goliaths,” the Nielsen EVP says.

Finally, Publix was named Brand of the Year for the southern region as a result of high levels of purchase consideration, quality and brand advocacy, which means “their consumer fan base is telling others how good they feel the brand is,” Treboni says.

Nielson reports that Trader Joe’s Co. and Whole Foods Market, Inc. are the only national brands to rank above category averages in all four regions, which consistently strong quality and purchase consideration scores, Nielsen reports.

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