2 Stores Beat Trader Joe's in Consumer Popularity, and You'll Never Guess What They Are

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KEY POINTS

  • Trader Joe's has a dedicated following and a solid customer base, but it's not the most popular store in America.
  • Kroger and 7-Eleven ranked higher in terms of consumer popularity.

Trader Joe's has a devoted fan base, and many customers simply love the store for its affordable products and unique offerings. The store is not just bank-account friendly, but also offers healthy and delicious foods you can't buy elsewhere.

But while many people love Trader Joe's so much that they campaign to get stores to open near them, Trader Joe's isn't the most popular grocery store. Two others beat it in terms of consumer popularity based on a YouGov survey conducted in the second quarter of 2023. Here's what they are.

These two stores have higher consumer ratings than Trader Joe's

According to YouGov, Trader Joe's has a 62% popularity rating -- which is pretty great. But there are two stores that top it:

  • Kroger, with a 64% popularity ranking
  • 7-Eleven, with a 62% popularity ranking

(You'll note that the percentage for 7-Eleven and Trader Joe's is the same, but the study has 7-Eleven ranked higher in its list).

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Now, there are several potential reasons for Trader Joe's coming in third. For one thing, Kroger and 7-Eleven have many more stores in more locations than Trader Joe's. There are 564 Trader Joe's nationwide as of the start of August 2023. By contrast, there were 2,719 Kroger stores as of the first quarter of 2023, and there were 9,478 7-Elevens in August of this year.

The larger number of stores explains why Kroger and 7-Eleven also beat out Trader Joe's in "fame" rankings, earning scores of 95% and 98% respectively, compared with a 93% fame rating for Trader Joe's.

Krogers also tend to be larger stores carrying more products than the average Trader Joe's, while 7-Elevens are more convenient quick stops where you can often also buy gas along with picking up a few grocery items.

Does the popularity of a store matter?

It may seem like it makes little sense to select a grocery store based on popularity and, indeed, that shouldn't be the sole criteria you use when deciding where to break out the credit cards to buy your groceries.

But popularity does matter to the extent that if a lot of people love a store, there's often a good reason why. Kroger, for example, is popular because it has a huge selection of affordable private label products that keep grocery prices down for consumers. It also has a strong loyalty program that incentivizes customers to shop there in exchange for generous gas discounts, as well as a top-notch customer service team due to its higher-than-average pay rates.

When you're trying to decide which grocery store to shop at, taking user reviews and brand reputation into account is absolutely a valid way to narrow down which stores deserve your hard-earned cash. Of course, you'll also want to do things like:

  • Compare the prices of the items you buy most frequently to see where you can get the best deals.
  • Learn each store's policies for things like use of manufacturer coupons or returns when products have problems (like moldy fruit, for example).
  • See which stores are convenient to your home so you aren't spending a lot on gas.

By considering all of these factors, you can make informed choices about where to buy your groceries. Considering that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports average spending on food consumed at home was $5,259 per consumer unit in 2021, taking the time to choose your grocery store wisely just makes good sense.

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