The Food Institute Blog

The Food Institute Blog

Supermarkets vs. Supercenters: Who Wins Grocery Supremacy?
Posted on August 04, 2015 by Chris Campbell

In the food industry, one of the most important questions can be summed up as thus: "Where do my potential customers shop?" While new retail formats have sprung up in the past few years, and more and more Americans are willing to shell out their dollars at drug stores, dollar stores and specialty markets, most people believe that a resounding number of us still rely on supermarkets and supercenters for access to food.

USDA's latest report reinforces this idea, with the National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS), a joint project undertaken by the agency's Economic Research Service and Food and Nutrition Service. The survey collected detailed information about food acquisitions by all household members over a 7-day period. The information was collected information from 4,826 households (comprised of 14,317 individuals) between April 2012 and January 2013.

In the report, it was determined that roughly 44% of households complete their primary grocery shopping at supercenters, while another 45% noted supermarkets for their primary shopping. Just a scant 5% of households did their main shopping at other retail outlets, once again showing that supermarkets and supercenters were the kings of the retail food economy. The report found that SNAP households were similar to non-SNAP households in their preference of supermarkets or supercenters, but WIC households were more likely to use supercenters as their primary store (at 52%).

Another interesting point from the report was that Americans do not necessarily shop at the supermarket that is closest to their residence. This applied even to households that did not have their own vehicle. The average household was 2.14 miles away from the closest supermarket, yet the average household primarily shopped at a store 3.79 miles away from home.

Posted in Retail  


About the Author

Chris Campbell
Business Writer
The Food Institute

Chris focuses on fresh, canned and frozen fruit and fresh and dried vegetables for the Food Institute Report. In addition, he assists in compiling data for various Food Institute publications throughout the year. He is a proud Rutgers University alumnus with a degree in English, and has a background in web writing for a variety of industries, including legal, foodservice and small-to-medium sized businesses. In his downtime you can find him watching New York Yankees baseball, hiking, enjoying live music and spending time with his dog Kaiden. He invites you to contact him via email at to talk about anything food-related.


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