People Love This Grocery Store Even More Than Costco

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Shelves of granola in Trader Joe's
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There’s no denying it, consumers have favorites. Favorite foods, favorite restaurants, even favorite supermarkets. The recently released American Customer Satisfaction Index covers six retail industries, from gas stations to drug stores, and examines how Americans feel about them.

The study is based on interviews with more than 35,000 customers, chosen randomly and contacted via email. Benchmarks included everything from variety and selection of merchandise to courtesy and helpfulness of staff.

Not all of the supermarkets in the top 10 have locations in all regions of the country. But almost all have familiar names, and even if you don’t have one handy, you’ve likely heard of most of them.

Some shoppers may expect gigantic warehouse store Costco, with its well-known name, more than 500 U.S. locations and beloved $1.50 hot-dog-and-soda food court combo, to have claimed the top spot in the survey. But one store managed to beat it out (and another tied for second with it).

Here, then, is the countdown to the one store that managed to beat out Costco – and everybody else – when it comes to shopper preference.

Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market
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American Customer Satisfaction Index score: 79 (on a 100-point scale)

Four stores tied for 10th place in the survey, including Whole Foods. You won’t find sugar-blasted cereals or sodas at this Austin, Texas-based chain. Whole Foods is known for its high standards, which ban more than 260 ingredients, including hydrogenated fats and high-fructose corn syrup. Amazon bought the chain for $13.4 billion in 2017.

BJ’s Wholesale Club

BJ's Wholesale Club
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American Customer Satisfaction Index score: 79 (on a 100-point scale)

Like Sam’s Club and Costco, BJ’s Wholesale Club is a membership-only warehouse club chain, with locations in 18 states. Stores are mostly on the U.S. East Coast, with a few in the Midwest. A plus for some shoppers: BJ’s Wholesale Club discounts membership for teachers, educators and military personnel.

Sam’s Club

Jeff Bukowski /

American Customer Satisfaction Index score: 79 (on a 100-point scale)

The Sam in Sam’s Club is Sam Walton himself, who opened the first true Walmart (he had other stores before) in 1962. The first Sam’s Club came along in 1983, with the goal of helping small-business owners save on bulk merchandise. Like Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club, Sam’s Club requires you to buy a membership in order to shop.


Shoppers in checkout lines at a Target store
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American Customer Satisfaction Index score: 79 (on a 100-point scale)

You may not think of Target as a supermarket. The discount-store chain is better known for affordable clothing, home decor, school supplies and more. But groceries have been a part of Target for decades, with its first owned grocery brand, Archer Farms, rolling out in SuperTarget stores in 1995.


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American Customer Satisfaction Index score: 80 (on a 100-point scale)

Wegman’s is one of the smallest chains in the survey, with just 110 locations, spread across eight states and the District of Columbia. But fresh produce is a big deal at this small chain. Wegman’s runs its own organic farm and orchard in New York’s Finger Lakes region, where the store tries out organic crops, and shares its discoveries with a network of over 400 family farms that supply the chain with produce.


Aldi produce department
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American Customer Satisfaction Index score: 80 (on a 100-point scale)

Fast-growing discount grocer Aldi is on track to be the third-largest grocery chain in the U.S. by the end of 2023, trailing only Kroger and Walmart. The German-based chain is known for carrying its own brands – in fact, more than 90% of products at Aldi are exclusive to the retailer. Don’t miss the Aisle of Shame, which offers deeply discounted products. It’s just one of 10 things you should know about shopping at Aldi.


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American Customer Satisfaction Index score: 81 (on a 100-point scale)

Texas-based H-E-B takes its name from the initials of founder Howard Edward Butt. All of its 340 stores are in Texas or Mexico, and H-E-B is proud of its home state. The chain’s “Go Texan” program highlights 3,700 Texas-made products, ranging from barbecue sauce and beef to beer and wine. Also, the chain’s pharmacies ranked first in a 2022 J.D. Power customer satisfaction study.


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American Customer Satisfaction Index score: 82 (on a 100-point scale)

With over 1,300 stores in seven Southern states, Publix is the largest employee-owned company in the U.S. Its Pub Subs, submarine sandwiches custom-built while you wait, on fresh-baked bread, are a special favorite. Want to learn how to cook with the grocery products it sells? The chain also operates close to a dozen Aprons cooking schools.


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American Customer Satisfaction Index score: 82 (on a 100-point scale)

Costco’s first location, then called Price Club, was the world’s first membership warehouse club when it opened in San Diego in 1976. Today, the chain has more than 800 locations worldwide. It’s perhaps best known as a chain where you can’t buy just one small jar of anything, but you can easily stock a daycare center or shop for a small army. Don’t miss the $1.50 hot-dog-and-soda combo, which remains priced exactly the same as it was in 1985.

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe's produce section
Jeff Bukowski /

American Customer Satisfaction Index score: 84 (on a 100-point scale)

The No. 1 store on the list has plenty of devoted fans, but it doesn’t strive to cram its aisles with as many products as possible. Trader Joe’s features a much smaller selection of items than most grocery stores. You’ll find Joe’s Os instead of Cheerios, and Joe Joe’s sandwich cookies instead of Oreos. But devoted fans love the chain’s quirks, from its generous return policy to its rule that private-label goods it stocks contain no artificial flavors and preservatives, trans fats or genetically modified ingredients.