U.S. companies in food retailing that ranked highly in Fortune magazine's World's Most Admired Companies for 2019 included Whole Foods Market parent company Amazon, which ranked No. 2 after Apple (No. 1); Costco Wholesale (No. 12 overall); while grocer Publix Super Market ranked second among food and drug stores in Fortune's top company list. And Trader Joe's topped a U.S. consumer survey.

Lakeland, Florida based grocery chain Publix Super Markets was once again named one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune magazine, ranking No. 2 in the food and drug stores industry category – the highest of any mainstream supermarket operator and was 45th in Fortune's top 50 all-star ranking. Publix is the largest employee-owned grocery chain in the United States. 

The top 5 food and drug stores were Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market (No. 3); Cincinnati-based Kroger (No. 4); and Netherlands-based Royal Ahold Delhaize, the parent company of Ahold Delhaize USA (No. 5).

Other food retailers to make Fortune's list announced late January included Walmart (No. 25), Target (No. 32) and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (No. 34). Target, Walmart and Costco finished first, second and third respectively in Fortune's general merchandiser's industry rankings.

Fortune magazine's World's Most Admired Companies list is decided from a survey of 3,750 executives, directors and security analysts who have responded to select the ten companies they admire. Respondents to the survey are asked to evaluate companies according to nine criteria that include quality of management, investment value, social responsibility, their products, and the ability to attract talent.

Meanwhile, in the annual study by customer data science firm Dunnhumby, Trader Joe's was named the top U.S. grocer with the overall consumer preference index score. Costco Wholesale was second, followed by Amazon, H-E-B and Wegmans Food Markets. 

The index used data from a nationwide survey of 7,000 U.S. households to evaluate the 56 largest grocery retailers' financial performance and consumer sentiment.

Dunnhumby credits Trader Joe's winning ranking to its reliable customer service, small-format stores, private label assortment, and brick-and-mortar-only presence that offer Trader Joe's customers a convenient, cost-effective and rich in-store experience.