The Impressive Growth of Grocery Sales in the U.S. Over the Last Two Decades

Grocery sales have grown dramatically since the 90s. Since 1992, sales have more than doubled. The total sales generated by grocery stores in the United States in 2021 amounted to $803.05 billion.

Top Supermarket Chains

The U.S. grocery retail market is dominated by chain supermarkets. In 2018 there were around 31,669 chain supermarket locations in the United States, compared to only 6,638 independent supermarkets.

The leading American supermarket in terms of sales is the Kroger Company, which owns and operates several smaller supermarket chains across the United States.

In 2020, Kroger’s total retail sales reached $131.6 billion. The runner-up, Albertsons, generated some $69.7 billion in sales that year.

Americans at the Grocery Store

Going to the grocery store is a familiar and comforting ritual for many Americans. In 2017, a survey of American households found that 40 percent of Americans make a weekly trip to the grocery store, while some six percent went to the grocery store four to seven times a week.

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Although many products on the shelves of U.S. supermarkets claim to have various health benefits or that they were produced or sourced ethically, American consumers are most drawn to food products that claim to be fresh or farm-fresh.

Food and Beverage Retail Sales Share in the U.S. in 2020, by format

In 2020, U.S. food and beverage retailers generated about $850 billion in sales. Supermarkets and other grocery stores took the lion’s share of food and beverage retail store sales with about 85.7 percent, while beer, wine, and liquor stores took the second-highest share of sales with 7.8 percent.

Meanwhile, grocery sales of perimeter categories in the United States for the 52 weeks ended on February 21, 2021, amounted to a total of 161.3 billion U.S. dollars. Produce was the category that featured the highest dollar sales at around 70.9 billion U.S. dollars. On the other hand, deli cheese was the category with the lowest sales at about 2.9 billion dollars.