Trader Joe's repeated as the top-rated grocery retailer according to the Retailer Preference Index from dunnhumby, a customer data science firm in Chicago.

The RIP study surveyed 7,000 U.S. households to determine which of the top 56 largest grocer retailers have the strongest combination of financial performance and consumer emotional sentiment. 

Top five was rounded out by Costco, supermarket newcomer Amazon, H-E-B and Wegmans.

“While consumer confidence in the U.S. is at a near 18 year high and the U.S. economic growth is outpacing the rest of the world, there are signs of turbulent times ahead and grocery retailers need to be prepared,” says Jose Gomes, North American president for dunnhumby. “Because of pressures that grocery retailers are facing today, a common reaction is to think only of the short term. But by focusing on the customer preference levers that we have identified in this RPI to inform their strategies, retailers can buy an insurance policy for the future to ensure they can weather the storms ahead.”

The overall RPI ranking evaluates retailer performance on seven pillars: price, quality, digital, operations, convenience, discounts/rewards and speed. The retailers who focus their business on superior value perception – defined by the strongest combination of price and quality – tend to have the most financial success and the strongest emotional bond with consumers.

The top 12 of the list also includes Market Basket, Sam's Club, Sprouts, WinCo, Walmart, Aldi and Peapod.