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CINCINNATI — American consumers named The Kroger Co. as the grocer they love most, according to the results of a new Most Loved Brands survey from Morning Consult.
Kroger earned a net favorable score of 53 percent, followed by Whole Foods Market at 48 percent. The difference is largely due to the fact that more people have an unfavorable opinion of Whole Foods than they have an unfavorable opinion of Kroger, at 13 percent vs. 9 percent, respectively
The grocer's high score is also driven by how much money respondents earn. When breaking down adults by income, Kroger edges out Whole Foods in every category, Morning Consult reported.
The gap is widest among people with lower incomes: Kroger has a net favorable score with half of people making less than $50,000, while Whole Foods has a net favorable score of 44 percent. Among the highest earners, the companies are virtually tied: Kroger has a net favorable score of 60 percent with people making more than $100,000, and Whole Foods has a score of 59 percent with the same group.
This could reflect the fact that opinion is not based on a single measure, such as quality of the food, but of the entire experience, including factors like cost and convenience, according to University of Pennsylvania Professor David Reibstein.
"This goes beyond just brand," Reibstein told Morning Consult. "It's not just the name itself."
Safeway, Albertsons and Publix rounded out the top five most loved grocers in the survey.
Hershey topped the list of most-loved food and beverage brands with 73 percent, while Amazon led among overall brands with 76 percent. Additionally, Amazon was the most-loved e-commerce retailer.
Morning Consult's Best Loved Brands Spring 2017 uses nearly 200,000 interviews with American adults to provide an in-depth view of the companies, organizations and brands that define American culture and commerce.
Cincinnati-based Kroger operates 2,796 retail food stores under a variety of local banner names in 35 states and Washington, D.C.