May 25, 2022 - Economy

Grocery brands surge in popularity

Most reputable companies, by demographic
Data: The Harris Poll; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Grocery brands like Trader Joe's, Wegmans and H-E-B are some of the most reputable companies in America, transcending generational and political divides, according to this year's Axios Harris Poll 100.

Why it matters: At a time when politics divides opinion nationally on many big brands, grocery brands have been able to maintain loyalty and trust across demographics by maintaining a steady presence in their communities.

  • The Axios Harris Poll 100 is an annual survey to gauge the reputations of the most visible brands in the country.

Details: For the first time in the poll’s six-year history, three grocery brands —Trader Joe’s, H-E-B and Wegmans — landed in the poll’s top 10.

  • Survey respondents noted that these brands have especially high commitment to “citizenship," meaning they share community values. Grocery brands also were the most consistently high performers compared to other sectors.
  • Other grocers, like Kroger, Publix and Costco, also ranked in the top 20 most reputable companies.

Between the lines: Grocery stores rank highly amongst Democrats and Republicans, despite some brands having more of a political affiliation among consumers.

  • Trader Joe’s ranks in the top 10 companies among Democrats and Republicans alike. H-E-B, despite its roots in Texas and the Southeast U.S., ranks second to Trader Joe's across the board.
  • Wegmans and Trader Joe's have long maintained a cult-like status among shoppers devoted to their stores. Both chains have expanded in recent years.

Zoom out: Not so long ago, it was mostly women who did the grocery shopping in American households. Now everyone goes to the market.

  • 92% of U.S. adults are responsible for at least some of their household's grocery shopping, according to a report out Tuesday from FMI, the food industry association.
  • That means these brands are firmly rooted in people's every day lives — even throughout the pandemic, which changed so many Americans' habits.
  • "Food has come to be appreciated as a requirement and a respite," the report says.

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