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Major Players in the US Grocery Industry: Who’s Dominating the Market

Major Players in the US Grocery Industry: Who are They and What Makes Them Stand Out? The US grocery industry is undoubtedly one of the largest and most competitive retail markets in the world.

With countless players vying for a share of the market, it’s no surprise that major corporations have emerged as dominant players. In this article, we will take a deep dive into the major players in the US grocery industry and what makes them stand out.


Walmart is the world’s largest retailer that got its start in Bentonville, Arkansas. The retail giant has since established locations in nearly every corner of the globe.

In the US,

Walmart operates a vast array of business divisions that includes

Walmart U.S.,

Walmart International, Sam’s Club, and e-commerce giant Jet.com. With over 158 million customers visiting

Walmart stores in the US alone each week, it’s no surprise that

Walmart is a major player in the grocery industry.

Expansion of Services

In an effort to remain competitive,

Walmart has expanded its service offerings to include curbside pickup and even same-day grocery delivery options. Their delivery option, simply called “

Delivery,” allows customers to place an order online and have it delivered to their doorsteps within hours.

The service, which is available in metropolitan regions across the US, also includes adult beverage purchases.


Amazon has rapidly become a major player in the US grocery industry. Although

Amazon was initially known primarily as the world’s largest online marketplace, the company quickly diversified into other areas.

In 2017,

Amazon acquired Whole Foods, a natural and organic grocery store chain with over 500 locations in the US. This acquisition not only allowed

Amazon to sell its own products in Whole Foods stores but also gave the e-commerce giant access to a vast customer base.

Expansion of Services

In addition to its acquisition of Whole Foods,

Amazon continues to expand its services in the grocery industry.

Amazon Fresh, a grocery delivery service offered exclusively to

Amazon Prime members, allows customers to order groceries online and have them delivered directly to their doors.

CVS Health

Although CVS is more commonly known for its pharmacies, the company is also a major player in the US grocery industry. CVS operates over 9,900 retail locations nationwide, most of which offer a range of grocery products.

What sets CVS apart from many of its competitors is its emphasis on private label brands. CVS’s own “CVS-brand” products, which encompass everything from snacks to laundry detergent, are often cheaper than national name brands.

Expansion of Services

In addition to grocery products, CVS has also expanded its services to include healthcare and insurance. In 2018, CVS acquired insurance giant Aetna, which allowed the company to offer a range of healthcare services in addition to traditional retail products.

Costco Wholesale

Costco Wholesale is a membership-only warehouse chain that operates in over 45 countries, including the US. With a reputation for having a highly selective product offering, many customers flock to Costco to find unique and rare items.

Products often sold at Costco include bulk items and items that are only available for a limited time, such as seasonal items.

Expansion of Services

In addition to its brick-and-mortar locations, Costco has also expanded its services to include online shopping. Customers can shop online for many of the items available in-store, including bulk food items and electronics.


Kroger is a major player in the US grocery industry, with over $122 billion in annual revenue. The company operates over 2,700 grocery stores across the US and is also well-known for its food processing and manufacturing facilities.

Kroger’s stores are often designed to cater to specific demographics, with some stores focusing primarily on organic or specialty products.

Expansion of Services

In addition to its grocery stores,

Kroger has also expanded its services to include medical clinics. These clinics, located near certain

Kroger stores, provide a range of healthcare services to the public.

Walgreens Boots Alliance

Walgreens Boots Alliance is a retail pharmacy chain that operates in over 25 countries worldwide. The company is also responsible for a wide range of pharmaceutical manufacturing, wholesale, and distribution companies.

Walgreens, the company’s flagship retail brand, is known for offering a range of products beyond traditional pharmacy items. Many Walgreens locations offer frozen foods, snacks, and basic household items.

Expansion of Services

In addition to its traditional pharmacy products and services, Walgreens has also expanded its services to include online ordering and delivery options. Customers can shop for many Walgreens products online and have them delivered directly to their doorsteps.


Target is a well-known player in the US grocery industry, providing customers with a unique blend of stylish, affordable clothing and household items.

Target stores are often characterized as “cheap but chic,” catering to customers looking for trendy items at reasonable prices.

Target has also recently experimented with new store formats, including smaller, more streamlined stores in urban areas.

Expansion of Services

In addition to its physical stores,

Target has also expanded its services to include online ordering and same-day delivery. The company continues to experiment with new ways to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience.


The US grocery industry is fiercely competitive, with major players vying for a share of the market.



CVS Health,

Costco Wholesale,


Walgreens Boots Alliance,

Target, and others have emerged as dominant players.

Each of these companies has its own unique strengths and service offerings that have allowed them to succeed in the industry. By understanding what makes these companies stand out, consumers can make informed decisions about where to shop for their groceries.


Amazon: Innovative Grocery Model


Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market in 2017, the grocery industry was forever changed.

Amazon’s innovative approach to groceries has revolutionized the way consumers shop, offering convenience in a field where convenience was hard to come by. With

Amazon’s introduction of new features like shipping, reserve times, pick-up, and delivery, customers can enjoy an all-in-one shop experience for their grocery needs.


One of the most popular ways to shop groceries on

Amazon is through shipping, which delivers your groceries straight to your doorstep.

Amazon has made it easier to shop in bulk with the subscription feature, where customers can sign up to have particular items shipped to them automatically, reducing the need to continuously reorder.

Reserve Times

Another convenient feature on

Amazon is the reserve time option. Customers can reserve a time online to shop in-store and pick-up their groceries.

This feature works well for those without time to wait for a delivery, and gives customers the option to reschedule their pickup time if they need to.


For customers who prefer to shop in-store,

Amazon has introduced the pick-up feature. This program benefits those who do not have the time or desire to navigate through an entire store looking for specific products.

Customers can order through

Amazon’s app or website, then pick up their groceries at the store without ever leaving their cars.


The delivery feature lets customers avoid lines at the store altogether. Similar to shipping, customers can order online and have their groceries delivered directly to their homes.

Amazon ensures fast shipping, often within a few hours.

All-in-One Shop

Amazon’s approach to groceries is not just about making the shopping experience convenient. The company also offers additional benefits, such as the ability to shop for groceries alongside other products on

Amazon’s website.

From electronics to clothing to home goods, customers can do a one-stop-shop on

Amazon with just one membership. 4.

CVS Health: Private Label Brands and

Merger with Aetna

CVS Health is more than just a pharmacy chain. With over 9,900 retail locations in the US and a wide range of private label brands in the grocery industry, it’s no wonder the company is one of the biggest players in the market.

CVS Health’s private label brands encompass everything from grocery products to household items, beauty, and skin products.

Grocery Brands

CVS Health offers several grocery brands, including Gold Emblem and Gold Emblem Abound. These brands offer a range of products, including snacks, beverages, and bakery items.

The company has also introduced healthy alternatives, such as organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO products.

Household Products

In addition to grocery products,

CVS Health offers its own brand of household items, including laundry detergent and cleaning supplies. This line of products is often sold at lower prices than national brand items, making it an attractive option for those on a budget.

Beauty and Skin Products

CVS Health’s exclusive beauty and skin product lines, Beauty360 and Nuance Salma Hayek, cater to a variety of skin types and preferences. The products are often medically tested and free from harmful ingredients known to cause irritation, making them a trustworthy and popular choice.

Merger with Aetna

CVS Health made waves in the healthcare industry with its acquisition of Aetna in 2018. The merger allowed CVS to combine retail, pharmacy, and insurance services in one place.

The acquisition has allowed the company to innovate healthcare by offering a range of services in-store, including medical clinics staffed with healthcare professionals who can diagnose and treat illnesses. 5.

Costco Wholesale:

Membership-Only Warehouses and

Sales Growth

With over 803 warehouses in 12 countries and counting,

Costco Wholesale is a membership-only warehouse club that has become a household name. Costco’s unique approach to selling has set it apart from other retail giants.

The company’s warehouses have a distinct selection of products that are carefully stocked to ensure quality standards.

Membership-Only Warehouses

Costco’s membership-only policy means that only members can shop at the warehouses. This exclusivity has become a selling point for the company and has helped to create a loyal customer base.

Memberships are renewed annually, and with benefits such as discounted grocery prices and access to exclusive services, many members opt to renew their subscription.

Distinct Product Selection

Costco has a picky approach to product selection, which has set it apart from other retailers. The company’s selective stock policies have allowed it to offer high-quality products, including exclusive items at a reasonable price.

Costco’s product selection includes everything from groceries to electronics, jewelry, and clothing.

Sales Growth

Costco has reported some of the fastest sales growth rates in the US. The company’s approach to offering bulk items at a discounted price, along with its focus on quality, has driven sales.

Costco reported that it sold over $3 billion in merchandise in under six years, a statistic that demonstrates the company’s popularity. 6.


Store Types and

Additional Services

Kroger is not just a supermarket; it’s a one-stop-shop for groceries, healthcare, and more. With stores that cater to specific demographics and a variety of services available at each store,

Kroger has become a household name in the retail industry.

Store Types

Kroger’s approach to store types ensures that customers can get what they need, no matter where they are shopping. The company operates a range of stores from smaller supermarkets, hypermarkets, and superstores to department stores and even jewelry stores.

This range of stores ensures that customers can find the products they need, no matter how much time they have to shop.

Additional Services

Kroger’s additional services include food processing, manufacturing facilities, supermarkets fuel centers, pharmacies, in-store clinics, and more.

Kroger has invested in a variety of health services, many of which are available in-store.

The company has medical clinics staffed by licensed professionals, offering a range of healthcare services, including vaccinations, physicals, and preventative care. The company’s manufacturing facilities allow it to offer a range of exclusive products that are not available in other stores, including

Kroger-branded products.

In conclusion, the major players in the US grocery industry are



CVS Health,

Costco Wholesale,


Walgreens Boots Alliance,

Target, among others. These companies are using innovative approaches to grocery shopping such as

Amazon’s shipping, reserve times, pick-up, and delivery features, as well as new services like in-store clinics and medical services at

CVS Health and


The grocery industry continues to evolve, and it will be interesting to see what new services and innovations these companies come up with next. 7.

Walgreens Boots Alliance: Company Divisions

Walgreens Boots Alliance is a global pharmacy-led company that operates in over 25 countries. The company is divided into several key divisions that play a crucial role in its success and global presence.

These divisions include

Retail Pharmacy USA,

Retail Pharmacy International,

Pharmaceutical Wholesale, and

Alliance Healthcare.

Retail Pharmacy USA

As the largest division of

Walgreens Boots Alliance,

Retail Pharmacy USA oversees the company’s vast network of retail pharmacies across the United States. With over 9,000 locations, Walgreens is one of the most recognizable pharmacy chains in the country.

These retail pharmacies offer a wide range of products and services, including prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, health and wellness products, as well as beauty and personal care items. Walgreens is known for its convenient locations and extensive product selection, making it a go-to destination for many customers’ healthcare needs.

Retail Pharmacy International

Walgreens Boots Alliance also operates retail pharmacies internationally, through its

Retail Pharmacy International division. The company’s international footprint spans across Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

In Europe alone,

Walgreens Boots Alliance has a significant presence with its Boots pharmacy chain, which has become a trusted healthcare provider in countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Norway. Boots stores offer a wide range of services, including prescription medications, health and wellness products, beauty and skincare items, as well as opticians and hearing care services.

Pharmaceutical Wholesale


Pharmaceutical Wholesale division is responsible for sourcing, purchasing, and distribution of pharmaceutical and healthcare products.

Walgreens Boots Alliance operates one of the largest pharmaceutical wholesale networks globally, supplying medications and healthcare products to pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers.

The company’s broad network allows it to negotiate favorable prices and efficiently deliver products, ensuring a reliable supply chain for its pharmacies and healthcare partners. This division plays a critical role in supporting the company’s retail operations and ensuring the availability of essential medications and healthcare products.

Alliance Healthcare

Alliance Healthcare is a subsidiary of

Walgreens Boots Alliance and operates as a leading pharmaceutical wholesaler and distributer in Europe, serving over 115,000 pharmacies, hospitals, and healthcare providers. With a well-established network,

Alliance Healthcare provides comprehensive logistics and distribution services, ensuring the timely delivery of pharmaceutical and healthcare products to its customers.

In addition to distribution services,

Alliance Healthcare offers value-added programs and services to support pharmacies and enhance patient care, such as inventory management solutions, patient support programs, and clinical services. 8.

Target: Store Formats

Target is a well-known retailer that has been a staple of the US retail industry for decades. The company operates various store formats to cater to different customer needs and preferences.

From the typical

Target stores to hypermarkets and small-format stores,

Target offers a diverse range of shopping experiences. Typical


The typical

Target store is often a one-stop-shop for customers looking for a wide variety of products.

These stores are larger in size and feature multiple departments, including groceries, household essentials, clothing, electronics, home goods, and more. The layout of

Target stores is designed to be spacious and easy to navigate, making it convenient for customers to find what they need.

With their recognizable red branding and appealing merchandising displays,

Target stores have become popular destinations for both everyday shopping and special occasions.


Target also operates hypermarkets, which are even larger than the typical

Target stores. These hypermarkets offer an expanded selection of products, including an extensive grocery section that rivals traditional supermarkets.

Customers can find a wide range of fresh produce, dairy products, packaged goods, and other grocery essentials along with the standard department store offerings. With the ability to shop for groceries and other household items all in one place,

Target hypermarkets provide a convenient solution for customers looking to streamline their shopping experience.

Small-Format Stores

In addition to their larger stores,

Target has been investing in small-format stores in recent years. These stores cater to customers in urban areas or neighborhoods where space is limited.


Target stores offer a curated selection of products that cater to the specific needs of the local community. These stores often focus on providing essentials such as groceries, pharmacy items, and household products while also offering a selection of clothing, electronics, and other popular

Target items.

The smaller footprint of these stores allows

Target to provide a more localized shopping experience and cater to the unique preferences of each community.


Walgreens Boots Alliance and

Target are major players in the US retail industry, each with its own unique approach to serving customers.

Walgreens Boots Alliance operates through various divisions that encompass retail pharmacy operations, wholesale distribution, and international retail presence, ensuring widespread availability of pharmaceutical and healthcare products.

On the other hand,

Target offers a diverse range of store formats, including large-format stores, hypermarkets, and small-format stores, to cater to the diverse shopping needs of its customers. With their respective strategies and store formats, both companies continue to play significant roles in the retail landscape, providing customers with convenient and tailored shopping experiences.

9. Sam’s Club:

Membership-Only Warehouses with Mobile Shopping Options

Sam’s Club is a membership-only retail warehouse chain that operates in the United States.

With a focus on providing bulk products to businesses and individual customers, Sam’s Club offers a unique shopping experience. In recent years, the company has introduced mobile shopping options to enhance convenience and streamline the shopping process for its members.

Mobile-First Retail Store

Sam’s Club has embraced a mobile-first approach, leveraging technology to improve the shopping experience for its members. The company’s mobile app allows users to browse and shop for products, access special deals and promotions, and manage their membership accounts, all from the convenience of their smartphones.

By making the mobile app a central part of the shopping experience, Sam’s Club aims to provide a seamless and convenient shopping experience for its members.

Scan and Pay

One of the key features of Sam’s Club’s mobile app is the scan and pay functionality. Members can use their smartphones to scan the barcodes of products as they shop, adding them directly to their virtual shopping carts.

This eliminates the need to wait in line at the checkout counter. Once customers have finished shopping, they can complete their purchase directly from the app and bypass the traditional checkout process.

This feature saves time and provides a more efficient shopping experience, especially for members who are familiar with the layout of their local Sam’s Club store.

Ordering Ahead

Sam’s Club also offers a convenient ordering ahead feature through its mobile app. Members can place orders for certain items ahead of time, allowing for quick and easy pickup at the store.

This is particularly useful for members who need to purchase large quantities or time-sensitive items. By allowing members to order ahead, Sam’s Club ensures that products are ready for pickup and reduces the time spent in-store.

Same-Day Pickup

To further enhance convenience, Sam’s Club offers same-day pickup options for online orders. Members can place orders through the mobile app or website and choose a designated pickup time.

Once the order is ready, customers can simply visit the store at their chosen time and pick up their items without ever leaving their vehicles. This feature is particularly beneficial for members who value the convenience of online shopping but prefer to physically pick up their purchases.

By integrating mobile shopping options into its membership-only warehouses, Sam’s Club aims to provide members with a streamlined shopping experience. The mobile-first approach, scan and pay functionality, ordering ahead, and same-day pickup options all contribute to a more convenient and efficient shopping experience for Sams Club members.

10. Albertsons: Company Expansion through Acquisition

Albertsons is a major player in the US grocery industry, operating under various store names and brands to serve a wide range of customer needs and preferences.

Through strategic acquisitions, Albertsons has expanded its footprint and solidified its position within the industry.

Safeway Merger

One of the most significant expansion moves made by Albertsons was its merger with Safeway in 2015. The merger created one of the largest supermarket chains in North America, bringing together two industry powerhouses.

The combined company operates under various store banners, including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Acme Markets, and many more. This merger allowed Albertsons to expand its reach across multiple states and strengthen its presence in key markets.

Additional Store Names and Brands

In addition to the Safeway merger, Albertsons has expanded its store portfolio with the acquisition of various regional grocery chains and brands. By acquiring these companies, Albertsons gained access to new markets and customer bases while retaining the established brand identities of these acquired companies.

This approach allowed Albertsons to cater to local preferences and maintain the loyalty of existing customers in these regions. By diversifying its store names and brands, Albertsons ensures that it can offer a tailored shopping experience to different communities and demographics.

Each store banner may have its own unique product selection, pricing strategies, and customer service approaches, creating a more personalized shopping experience. This expansion through acquisition strategy has not only broadened Albertsons’ geographic presence but also allowed the company to leverage economies of scale, streamline operations, and negotiate advantageous supplier contracts across a large network of stores.

The acquisition strategy, combined with strong brand recognition and customer loyalty, has contributed to Albertsons’ success and its standing as a prominent player in the grocery industry.


Sam’s Club and Albertsons are both major players in the US grocery industry, each employing different strategies to meet the needs of their customers. Sam’s Club leverages mobile shopping options, such as scan and pay, ordering ahead, and same-day pickup, to enhance convenience and streamline the shopping experience for its members.

On the other hand, Albertsons has expanded its presence through strategic acquisitions, including the merger with Safeway, and operates under various store names and brands to serve diverse customer preferences across different regions. These companies continue to evolve and innovate, adapting to changing customer demands and preferences in the highly competitive grocery industry.

11. Dollar General:

Rural Store Success with Branded and Store Products

Dollar General is a retail powerhouse that has found tremendous success in serving rural communities across the United States.

The company’s unique approach to offering both name brand and store brand products at affordable prices has made it a popular choice for customers in these areas.

Store Brand (DG)

One of the key factors contributing to Dollar General’s success is its emphasis on offering store brand products. Dollar General’s store brand, often referred to as DG, provides customers with a range of high-quality products at lower prices compared to national name brands.

DG products are carefully curated to meet the needs and preferences of Dollar General’s customer base, which primarily consists of individuals living in rural areas. By focusing on their own store brand, Dollar General can provide a wide array of products across different categories, including household essentials, food and beverages, beauty and personal care items, and much more.

Offering store brand products allows Dollar General to maintain consistent quality while passing on cost savings to its customers.

Name Brand Products

In addition to their store brand offerings, Dollar General recognizes the importance of providing a selection of name brand products to cater to specific customer preferences. The company strategically stocks popular name brand items, ensuring that customers have access to well-known products alongside their store brand options.

By offering both store brand and name brand products, Dollar General can provide customers with a variety of choices, meeting their unique needs and preferences.

Rural Store Success

Dollar General’s success in serving rural communities can be attributed to several factors. First, the company understands the needs and challenges faced by customers in rural areas.

Many individuals living in these communities have limited access to shopping options due to geographic limitations. Dollar General strategically locates its stores in rural areas, filling the gap and providing convenient access to essential items.

Moreover, Dollar General’s commitment to affordability has made it a go-to destination for customers on a tight budget. By offering competitive prices on both store brand and name brand products, Dollar General provides value for money, making it an attractive option for cost-conscious consumers.

Dollar General’s smaller store format also appeals to rural communities. These stores are designed to be easily accessible, with a layout that allows for quick and efficient shopping.

The smaller footprint of these stores enables Dollar General to operate in areas where larger retailers may not have a presence. This convenience and accessibility contribute to the company’s success in rural areas.

12. H-E-B: Privately Held Philanthropic Supermarket Chain

H-E-B is a privately held supermarket chain that has gained acclaim for its philanthropic initiatives and commitment to serving the communities it operates in.

As one of the largest private companies in the United States, H-E-B has a unique advantage when it comes to making decisions that prioritize community impact over short-term financial gains.

Privately Held Ownership

Being a privately held company allows H-E-B to operate with a long-term vision and focus on community needs rather than answering to external shareholders. The company’s ownership structure enables it to make strategic decisions based on the best interests of the communities it serves, creating a level of flexibility in operations that is not always possible for publicly traded companies.

Philanthropy and Community Involvement

H-E-B has a long-standing commitment to philanthropy and community involvement. The company donates a significant portion of its annual earnings to charitable organizations and initiatives.

H-E-B’s philanthropic efforts focus on areas such as hunger relief, education, disaster response, and healthcare. Through partnerships with local nonprofits, H-E-B works to address community needs and make a positive impact on the lives of residents in the areas it serves.

One of the company’s most notable initiatives is the H-E-B Food Bank Assistance Program, which partners with food banks to alleviate hunger in local communities. H-E-B’s support extends beyond financial contributions, as the company also encourages its employees to actively engage in volunteer work and community service.

Support for Education

H-E-B has made substantial investments in education, recognizing it as a vital pillar for community development. The company’s Excellence in Education Awards program acknowledges and rewards outstanding educators, administrators, and school districts for their contributions to educa

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