Which grocery store is better? Texans have definite opinions on that issue. Of course, we tend to love H-E-B. Now there is some independent and more objective research to back it up.

BrandSpark International released its annual grocery edition rankings just after the first of the year. They surveyed over 10-thousand Americans.  When it comes to the most trusted H-E-B came in fifth.  Remember, this is a nationwide survey, not just Texas.

The most trusted supermarkets in this survey were:

1) Walmart

2) Kroger

3)Publix

4) Safeway

Then, 5 is H-E-B.

When it comes to affordability, H-E-B was #2, behind Walmart.

H-E-B also was tops in the following categories: service and friendly staff, store organization, meat, produce, prepared meals, seafood, and healthy prepared foods.

H-E-B is no newcomer to awards. Last summer, the H-E-B pharmacy was ranked #1 in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power's U.S. Pharmacy Study for the second year in a row. In addition, Forbes rated H-E-B as one of the best companies to work for.

I think I know a thing or two about the supermarket chains listed in BrandSpark's survey.  As a radio refugee, I've lived in places where I shopped at each of the stores in the Top 5. Do I agree with BrandSpark?

Walmart:

First of all, I used to live in Northwest Arkansas the home of Walmart. To me, Walmart used to be #1. That is a strong used to be.  Just like certain radio stations in San Angelo that have been around forever, they were much better in the past.  Walmart has become a trainwreck since it insisted upon forcing self-checkouts on everyone. Also, I don't think you have to watch for FALLING prices there anymore.  It seems they have been raising prices faster than almost anyone else.

Kroger:

Growing up in West Virginia, Kroger was our top supermarket. They have great brands and a store full of workers. Krogers is generic and well-organized. Basic is a good word.  Because they're headquartered in Cincinnati, they reflect the boring midwest well. Kroger can also be pricey.

Photo: Kroger
Photo: Kroger
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Publix:

Comparing H-E-B and Publix is difficult. Of all the stores in the Top 5, Publix is definitely my favorite. Their deli and homemade selections are amazing.  The service is exceptional and the stores are well laid out. They have a healthy selection of ethnic offerings as diverse as the population in their home state, Florida. Is Publix better than H-E-B? No. They are good though.

Safeway:

I shopped at Safeway a lot when I lived in Northern California. They had great produce and good service.  Not as good as H-E-B and I don't think their customers anywhere like Safeway as much as Texans love H-E-B.  I am very surprised they are #4 and       H-E-B is #5.  This is probably because more Californians than Texans were surveyed.

Photo: Safeway
Photo: Safeway
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H-E-B could easily be #1 everywhere if it were everywhere. H-E-B represents Texas. It has the foods Texans enjoy. It is stocked with friendly, helpful staff. The produce and fresh foods are tops.

It's hard to be objective. After all, H-E-B is Texas and we're Texans.

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