This Texas Chain Is the Best Grocery Store in America (2023)

This is the fourth in a series of articles (love letters?) by food writers who are passionate about where they buy their bananas. Read the entire series here.

I lived in New York City for 16 months and spent the whole time missing a supermarket in Texas.

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Knock suburbia all you want, New Yorkers, but have fun going to your corner market only to find out they’re out of butter. (Yes, this happened to me. More than once. At different stores.) Give me plenty of parking, wide aisles, and a store where you can buy light bulbs, Oreos, organic local kale, Topo Chico, and get your car washed.

Give me HEB.

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That’s H-E-B; you pronounce the letters. They stand for Howard E. Butt, which sounds like a playground taunt but was the actual name of the supermarket chain's founder. Nowadays, the initials also stand for "Here Everything’s Better," the store’s slogan. Hyperbole? Maybe. But...maybe not.

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HEB is famous for its private-label foods. They make just a ridiculous number of products for their stores, ranging from the obvious—flour, peanut butter—to the, um, less obvious. Things like pumpkin creme and sangria flavored sodas, apple-celery juice, Texas-shaped tortilla chips, white bread with the crusts cut off, and, of course, That Green Sauce, a taco-truck salsa favorite. Once I found “pot-ready” spaghetti at HEB—it was pasta that had been broken in half. You know, to fit the pot. Just the other day I encountered a trove of charcoal infused with garlic and onion flavors.

HEB's Mueller Cafe in Austin. Local beer on tap. And a nice place to drink it. All at a supermarket.

Photo courtesy of H-E-B
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The best and worst thing about HEB is that every single one is different. The company prides itself on customizing each location to the neighborhood: in Austin, where I live, there are HEB locations in college neighborhoods (heavy on the cheap beer and frozen pizzas), up-and-coming neighborhoods full of families with young kids (organic produce and craft beer), neighborhoods populated largely by one culture (Mexican cookies and an aisle full of Goya products) or another (fish sauce and rice noodles).

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What is the number 1 grocery store in America? ›

  • The largest grocery store in the U.S. is Walmart, with a year-end sales of $573 billion and a market share of 26%.
  • As of 2021, the U.S. grocery store industry has a market size of $811.5 billion.
  • There are currently 63,419 grocery store businesses in the U.S.
Jul 20, 2022

What's the number one grocery store in Texas? ›

Top grocery in every state: H-E-B No. 1 in Texas.

Is H-E-B the best grocery store in America? ›

H-E-B was named the second-best grocery chain in the nation, according to a study from dunnhumby. H-E-B has done it again. The San Antonio-based company was named the second-best grocery retailer in the nation – just behind Amazon in a recent study from Dunnhumby, a UK-based global consumer research company.

What is H-E-B best known for? ›

The produce section includes over 900 varieties of fruits and vegetables. HEB's beer selection has an extensive array of traditional, craft and Texas brews, not to mention that they're the largest wine retailer in Texas.

Is H-E-B bigger than Kroger? ›

RELATED: H-E-B named one of the nation's best grocers

1 WalMart, $374.80 billion; 2. Kroger, $115.89 billion; 3. Amazon, $102.96 billion), but they are within striking distance of national brands Aldi, Macy's and Dollar General. H-E-B spent the last couple years at No.

Is H-E-B only in Texas? ›

The story of H‑E‑B began in 1905 in a small, family‑owned store in Kerrville in the Texas Hill Country. Today H‑E‑B serves families all over Texas and Mexico with more than 420 stores and over 145,000 Partners (employees).

What grocery store has the highest quality? ›

Publix was rated the best grocery store in the country for customer service in 2021 (via Supermarket News).

What is H-E-B ranked? ›

H-E-B was listed as the number 6 largest private company in the United States, as published by Forbes. With $38.9 billion in revenue this year, the grocery chain is listed as employing about 145,000 employees.

Where does H-E-B rank in the world? ›

H-E-B came second place to Amazon in a global survey taken by shoppers. HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- H-E-B was ranked second in an annual consumer survey by UK global customer data science company, DunnHumby.

Is H-E-B bigger than Walmart in Texas? ›

In parts of Texas, Walmart is clearly the big player. In Dallas–Fort Worth, where H-E-B has a minimal presence, with just five of its Central Market–branded stores, Walmart controls 27 percent of the market, almost twice as much as the next biggest competitor, Kroger.

Why is H-E-B so successful? ›

In fact, even Wal-Mart has acknowledged that H-E-B is one of the most efficient distributors around. H-E-B also has the Central Market format, which is the gourmet, high-end format that enables them to pull in some new ideas and move them into their standard format, which gives their stores a more upscale feel."

What name does H-E-B stand for? ›

That's H-E-B; you pronounce the letters. They stand for Howard E. Butt, which sounds like a playground taunt but was the actual name of the supermarket chain's founder. Nowadays, the initials also stand for "Here Everything's Better," the store's slogan.

Who owns H-E-B in Texas? ›

The extended Butt family owns approximately 90% of the San Antonio-based firm, which Forbes currently values H-E-B at just over $17 billion. The rest is owned by employees through an ownership program the company created in 2015.

What was H-E-B called before? ›

The Butt family owns the Texas-based H.E.B. grocery store chain, which started in 1905 when Florence Butt opened a small grocery store with just $60. Her son Howard Butt took over in the 1920s and expanded it across Texas, renaming it the H.E. Butt Grocery Company in 1928.

What is the number 1 supermarket in the world? ›

Largest Supermarket Chains in the World
RankCompanyNumber of Locations
6 more rows
Sep 4, 2018

Where is the smallest H-E-B in Texas? ›

Although the company headquarters are not open to the public, H-E-B's smallest store is a 12,500-square-foot store next to the historic Arsenal property and is open to the public. H-E-B has a supersize, 11-foot-tall grocery cart on wheels, hand-built by partner Carroll Wesch in San Antonio in 2011.

What is H-E-B comparable to? ›

H E B competitors include Costco, Whole Foods Market, Amazon, Trader Joe's and Walmart. H E B ranks 1st in CEO Score on Comparably vs its competitors.

Why do the Texans love H-E-B? ›

Through the chain's expansion across Texas, H-E-B established trust and brand resonance with new customers by tailoring product offerings specific to the geographic area. This means no two H-E-B locations are exactly the same, setting the chain apart from nationwide competitors like Walmart and Kroger.

Is H-E-B moving to Dallas? ›

17, 2022 Updated: Nov. 17, 2022 4:32 p.m. H-E-B broke ground on another Dallas-Fort Worth store. Not long after the opening of its first two Dallas-Fort Worth-area stores in Frisco and Plano, both having huge lines outside its doors, San Antonio-based H-E-B set its sights on yet another store north of DFW.

What is America's healthiest grocery store? ›

A panel of nutritionists ranked Whole Foods Market as the top grocery store for healthy foods.

What is a popular US grocery store? ›

National chains
  • Ahold Delhaize – Operates under the following brands: Food Lion (Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia)
  • Kroger – Besides the parent company, stores operate under these brands: ...
  • Target.
  • Costco.
  • Walmart.

What grocery store had the best prices? ›

Jump to the Cheapest Grocery Stores:
  • Aldi.
  • Market Basket.
  • WinCo Foods.
  • Lidl.
  • Trader Joe's.
  • Costco.
  • Walmart.
  • Food 4 Less.
Dec 13, 2022

Which is the busiest H-E-B in Texas? ›

H-E-B at 20935 US Highway 281 N near Evans Road was the most visited H-E-B in 2022 based on the data with more than 122,000 visitors. The H-E-B at 3323 SE Military Drive came in at No. 2 with more than 115,000 visitors.

Is H-E-B a religious company? ›

H-E-B's Religious Roots

Even though those business practices changed almost 40 years ago, H-E-B is still considered to be a religious-based business primarily because it donates 5% of its pre-tax profits to charity.

How big is the biggest H-E-B? ›

The Georgetown store is expected to be completed sometime in spring 2023 and will replace the former 67,000-square-foot H-E-B store, which opened in 1989. At 121,000 square feet, the new store will be 54,000 square feet larger. Thanks!

What stores are Texas known for? ›

Texas has culture, traditions, and sayings that are uniquely its own. Chains like Whataburger, Buc-ee's, and H-E-B are Texan businesses.

Is Kroger just a Texas thing? ›

The Kroger Company, or simply Kroger, is an American retail company that operates (either directly or through its subsidiaries) supermarkets and multi-department stores throughout the United States. Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. U.S.

Is Kroger Only a Texas thing? ›

Kroger stores are predominant in the Midwestern and Southern United States.

What are top 5 supermarkets in the world? ›

The Top 10 Biggest Supermarket Chains in the World
  • ALDI NORD. ...
  • BIEDRONKA. Number of chain stores worldwide: ~3,200.
  • KROGER. Number of chain stores worldwide: ~2,800.
  • AEON. Number of chain stores worldwide: ~2,200.
  • MERCADONA. Number of chain stores worldwide: ~1,700.
Jan 9, 2023

Is H-E-B only in Texas and Mexico? ›

That made H-E-B the perfect stop because it only exists in two places around the world: Texas and Mexico. The first store opened south of the border in Monterrey in 1997, and they've since expanded through the country.

Is H-E-B in states other than Texas? ›

7. H-E-B is an international chain. While Texas is currently the only state in the U.S. where you can find an H-E-B store, there are locations in Mexico too. The first international location opened in Monterrey, Mexico in 1997.

Is it better to work at H-E-B or Walmart? ›

HEB is most highly rated for Culture and Walmart is most highly rated for Compensation and benefits. Learn more, read reviews and see open jobs.
Overall Rating.
Overall Rating4.23.4
3 more rows

What does H-E-B stand for in Texas? ›

H-E-B stands for the name Howard E. Butts. The first H-E-B opened in Kerrville in 1905 by Florence Butt. 15 years later her youngest son Howard took over the operations of their grocery store business.

Is Walmart closing down in Texas? ›

Wal-Mart closing 269 stores, 29 in Texas, as it streamlines operations. Wal-Mart Stores plans to close 269 stores including 154 in the U.S. Among the closings are the company's 102 smallest stores called Wal-Mart Express. Awesome! Maybe mom and pop shops will open up again.

When did H-E-B get popular? ›

During the 1980s, H-E-B stores began offering bulk foods and fresh flowers. The Company headquarters moved to the renovated army arsenal on the San Antonio River in 1985. In 1988 Forbes named H-E-B the thirty-sixth largest private company in the United States, with annual sales of $2 billion.

Why did H-E-B expand into Mexico? ›

The Mexican venture comes about seven years after H-E-B executives began toying with the idea of entering the growing market, De La Garza said. He noted that the North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico plus the recent devaluation of Mexican peso fueled the company's decision.

How much does H-E-B make in a year? ›

H-E-B revenue is $21.0B annually. After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found the following key financial metrics. H-E-B has 100,000 employees, and the revenue per employee ratio is $210,000. H-E-B peak revenue was $21.0B in 2021.

What cities in Texas have H-E-B stores? ›

  • Austin Area. Austin Anderson Mill / 11521 North FM620, Building A, Austin, TX 78726. ...
  • Border Area. Brownsville / 2155 Paredes Line Rd., Brownsville, TX 78521. ...
  • Central Texas Area. Belton / 2509 N. ...
  • Gulf Coast Area. ...
  • Houston Area. ...
  • San Antonio Area. ...
  • Waco Area.

How much is H-E-B worth 2022? ›

The San Antonio-based grocery chain was Texas' sole top-10 entry on Forbes' Largest Private Companies List for 2022, ranking at No. 6 with $38.9 billion in revenue for the fiscal year. H-E-B is also the third-largest employer on the list, with 145,000 employees.

How much is the H-E-B family worth? ›

Is H-E-B Mexican? ›

Supermercados Internacionales HEB, S.A. de C.V. is the Mexican division of H-E-B, a private supermarket chain based in San Antonio, Texas, U.S. It competes mainly with Soriana, Walmart México, S-Mart, Chedraui and Casa Ley.

Who owns Trader Joe's? ›

Was H-E-B founded by a woman? ›

Florence Butt, the founder of what became the HEB grocery stores, behind the counter of her very first store in Kerrville, circa 1910. I see Kellog's Corn Flakes, National Oats, some kind of biscuits etc... Florence started the store with a nest egg of exactly $60, which was a tidy sum in 1905.

Did H-E-B buy Piggly Wiggly? ›

The relationship between the Butt family and Piggly Wiggly was only a franchise arrangement. The Butt family owned and operated the stores. In 1944 the company dropped the Piggly Wiggly name and began operating as HEB Food Stores. The company moved its headquarters from Harlingen to Corpus Christi in 1940.

What is the number 1 grocery store in the world? ›

Walmart is by far the largest and most well-known food retailer in the world, consuming over a fourth of the entire grocery industry's annual sales.

What does H-E-B stand for? ›

That's H-E-B; you pronounce the letters. They stand for Howard E. Butt, which sounds like a playground taunt but was the actual name of the supermarket chain's founder. Nowadays, the initials also stand for "Here Everything's Better," the store's slogan.

What is America's largest grocery chain? ›

Kroger is the largest supermarket operator in the U.S., with 420,000 employees and more than 2,700 stores, including Ralphs, Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, and King Soopers.

Who are the big 4 supermarkets? ›

The food retail market has traditionally been dominanted by the 'big four' supermarkets -Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons - who made up over three quarters of sector market share in 2010. Tesco is the largest retailer in Great Britain, with a market share of 27.5% at the end of 2022.

Is HEB the largest grocery chain? ›

H-E-B ranked number 9 on Forbes' 2020 list of "America's Largest Private Companies". H-E-B was named Retailer of the Year in 2010 by Progressive Grocer. Supermarket News ranks H-E-B 13th on the list of "Top 75 North American Food Retailers" by sales.
Trade nameH-E-B
15 more rows

What is the oldest grocery store? ›

Known across the United States for its grocery chains and branded products, Kroger is the oldest supermarket chain in North America. It began over 100 years ago in 1883 when Barney Kroger used $372 to open a store in Cincinnati, Ohio.

What supermarket has the best customer service? ›

Publix has taken the No. 1 supermarket spot on Newsweek's Best Customer Service 2021 list.
The winners were:
  • Publix (8.79)
  • Wegmans (8.62)
  • Trader Joe's (8.57)
  • Sprouts (8.54)
  • The Fresh Market (8.35)
Oct 14, 2020

What is the biggest seller in grocery stores? ›

List of 100 Top Selling Grocery Items 2023 & Tips
  2. MILK.
  4. EGGS.
  5. BREAD.

What is the most popular shop in the world? ›

Keeping within these guidelines, Walmart continues to be the world's largest retailer, both domestically and internationally, with a significant commitment to a new online marketplace and fulfillment model.

What is the largest supermarket chain in Texas? ›

Family Dollar, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree are the largest grocery chains in Texas in 2022 based on the number of locations. Family Dollar has the most number of locations with 1,128 locations across 463 cities. Family Dollar has 1,128 and Dollar Tree has 666 locations in Texas.


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