Which Grocers Have a Sterling Reputation?

Annual Axios Harris Poll includes national retailers such as Costco, Trader Joe’s and Kroger, among others
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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Costco ranks 2nd in the Axios Harris poll on corporate reputations.

The recently released Axios Harris Poll 100 ranking the reputations of high-profile companies includes several players in the food retailing space. More than 16,000 survey participants in the United States lauded these and other “visible” companies for their efforts to service and satisfy customers.

Club store operator Costco Wholesale Corp. came in second on the list behind outdoor clothing company Patagonia this year. The Washington retailer moved up several spots on the list, earning high marks for trust, growth, character and culture.

[Read more: "The PG 100: The Biggest Players in Grocery Retail"]

Not far behind, at No. 4, was Trader Joe’s. Although its ranking fell a bit from last year, the California chain fared well in the attributes of growth, citizenship and vision.

Amazon came in at No. 8, while CVS Health ranked 19th in the survey. The Kroger Co. was No. 27 and ALDI was No. 33.

Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO of Kroger, said that this survey is meaningful for a variety of reasons. "We do not take for granted the trust America places in us to provide families with fresh, affordable food and to support healthy, thriving communities," he remarked. "This is recognition of our incredible associates who deliver our customers a fresh and friendly shopping experience and affordable prices, each and every day."

Since 1999, Harris has used the same framework to spotlight companies most on the minds of Americans. In a podcast that recapped the findings, Axios insiders noted that the marketplace dictated some change to this year’s list.

“As you know, inflation has totally freaked everybody out. A number of companies that did well this year did well because part of their brand is affordability or they can be used to counter inflation. One of the most popular overall is Costco,” reported Margaret Talev, a senior contributor to Axios.

Added her colleague, Axios media reporter Sara Fischer: “When we first started doing this poll with Harris, you know, six, seven years ago, where Americans were really flocking towards the new shiny unknown things. I think a lot of those types of big idea companies and big tech moguls have let Americans down and as a result, they really are focusing on brands that hit close to the heart in the heartland … consumers are really flocking towards tangible goods, things they understand.”

Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco currently operates 853 warehouses, including 587 in the United States and Puerto Rico and 107 in Canada. The company is No. 3 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. With more than 500 stores in 40-plus states, the California-based Trader Joe’s is No. 27 on The PG 100. Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2; Cincinnati-based Kroger, with almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, is No. 4; CVS Health is No. 7 and ALDI U.S. is No. 24. 

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