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Which Grocers Are Winning Midwest Market Share?

Placer.ai foot traffic data shows 9 different brands see most customers in the region
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Foot traffic data from Placer.ai paints a picture of which grocers dominate Midwestern states.

Food retail is an inherently regional industry, and Placer.ai is taking a look at the grocers that do the most business in 12 Midwestern states. The location analytics and foot traffic data firm’s “Many Ways to Win: Midwest Grocery Deep Dive” report dives into the leading grocery chains in the region and looks at the ways brands are driving foot traffic to their stores. 

Nine different brands claimed the largest share of grocery visits in at least one of the 12 Midwest states in January 2023, the report found, and two brands had the greatest visits share in multiple states. Cincinnati-based The Kroger Co. is the predominant grocery brand in Ohio and Indiana, while Hy-Vee saw the most visits in Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska.

[Read more: "How This Economic Climate Is Different for Grocers"]

Cash Wise Foods led the pack in North Dakota, Cub Foods in Minnesota, Pick ‘n Save in Wisconsin, Meijer in Michigan, Jewel-Osco in Illinois, Schnucks in Missouri, and Dillons in Kansas. Although ALDI was not the top grocer in any of these 12 states, it came in second or third place for foot traffic in several places, indicating that “grocery brands can be extremely successful and well-entrenched regionally even without dominating any one local market,” the report stated.

The report delves into multiple grocers in the Dakotas, including Cash Wise Foods and Hornbacher’s, which are relatively small brands but claim a significant and fairly similar percentage of North Dakota’s grocery visits. 

“Both of these brands have found a unique strategy to drive visits,” the report found. “Cash Wise Foods has more stores statewide, while Hornbacher’s has more locations concentrated in and around the state’s most populous city – Fargo. And although Cash Wise Foods is the statewide visit leader, Hornbacher’s can still enjoy a significant share of North Dakota grocery visits by serving residents of the state’s most densely inhabited area.”

Placer.ai’s data also shows that dividing and conquering is a method grocers can use to win market share in states dominated by one specific brand. Hy-Vee and Safeway, for example, are the most visited grocery chains in South Dakota, but each dominates a different region of the state.

“The Midwest’s grocery space is ripe with competition but there appears to be plenty of visits to go around,” the report concluded. “While some brands take the cake on the state level, others earn their keep by claiming a smaller percentage of the grocery visit share across one or multiple markets.”

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