Whole Foods Market, Kroger and Publix Super Markets were named the “world’s most admired companies” in the Food and Drug Stores category by Fortune magazine.

Whole Foods topped the list of admired food and drug companies while Kroger and Publix tied for second. In addition, several companies were named as “contenders” in the food and drug category: Safeway, Delhaize Group, Royal Ahold and Supervalu.

In the Wholesale: Food and Grocery category, United Natural Foods, Unified Grocers and Spartan Stores were among the “most admired companies,” while Nash-Finch was called a “contender.”

In addition, Costco Wholesale and Wal-Mart Stores were on the overall list of the world’s 50 most admired companies across industries. Apple was rated No. 1.

The 2012 Fortune World's Most Admired Company survey was conducted in the fall of 2011 among top executives, directors and securities analysts in 58 industries. A company's overall score must rank in the top half of its industry survey to be named to the list.

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