This Is The Most Popular Grocery Store In California

Speaking purely as an outsider observer (read: A person who has seen more than a few glossy Hollywood depictions of modern life in the Golden State), the thought of grocery shopping in California conjures images of ripe avocados, mountains of fresh citrus, rows of green juice, and bulk aisles teeming with healthful nuts and seeds. 

Maybe it's the limber Angelenos roller skating down the Venice Beach boardwalk, or the fact that the state has more Trader Joe's locations than any other, but it's easy to associate California with the kind of specialty grocery items found at, say, the regional luxury chain Erewhon — one of the greenest grocery stores in America — or the famed San Francisco co-op Rainbow Grocery. But just because some Californians are partial to pistachio milk and $9 bags of chili mango doesn't mean all residents of the state feel the same way. In fact, recent data that tracks the foot traffic at grocery stores in the sunny state reveals a draw toward some major multinational chains.  

Safeway is getting the most foot traffic right now

According to data from SafeGraph, Walmart sees the most traffic of California grocery purveyors on average. That said, the corporate retail behemoth — which also sells things like electronics and housewares — fell off in the early summer months after pulling in upwards of 900k visits in May, giving way to stores that exclusively sell groceries. Walmart announced this week that it plans to offer significant price cuts to level out its inventory (via Business Insider), which may or may not lure customers back to its stores in the midst of widespread inflation. The data reveals a similar pattern with member-based retailer Costco, which, while less popular than Walmart, enjoyed fairly steady traffic up until May. 

In June, many California shoppers shifted sights to Safeway for their grocery needs. The Idaho-bred supermarket chain, a subsidiary of Albertson's, brought in well over 300k shoppers this month, beating out grocery-only competitors like Ralph's (which hit just under 200k) and Stater Bros. Markets (which fell in the middle at a little over 200k). With its home base in Pleasanton, California, Safeway might look like a trustworthy, familiar mainstay to many residents. While the market chain isn't necessarily known for its low prices, it's still an accessible option with nearly 250 locations throughout the state. Safeway is also known for stocking organic produce, and given the state's reputation as one of the top agricultural purveyors in the country, perhaps the fruits and veggies at California Safeways are particularly fresh.