Food 4 Less

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Food 4 Less
Founded1977 (45 years ago) (1977)
HeadquartersCompton, California
Number of locations
112 (Food 4 Less), 20 (Foods Co.) (2021)
ProductsBakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods, general grocery, meat, produce, seafood, snacks, liquor, bulk foods
Food 4 Less grocery store in Los Angeles, California (Store #704-00362)

Food 4 Less is the name of several grocery store chains, the largest of which is currently owned by Kroger.[1] It is a no-frills grocery store where the customers bag their own groceries at the checkout. Kroger operates Food 4 Less stores in the Chicago metropolitan area (Illinois and Indiana) and Southern California. Kroger operates their stores as Foods Co in northern and central California, because they do not have the rights to the Food 4 Less name in those areas. Other states, such as Nevada,[2] formerly contained Kroger-owned Food 4 Less stores.

There are other stores scattered throughout the United States with the Food 4 Less name, part of franchise agreements with various wholesalers, including Unified Western Grocers and Associated Wholesale Grocers Midwest. These stores have particular penetration in central and northern California. The Food 4 Less name was previously used by Fleming Companies, Inc., but as Fleming exited various regions and ultimately collapsed, the rights to the name went to wholesalers who picked up some of Fleming's former customers.


The Food 4 Less name and logo was originally conceived in the 1930s by Lou Falley, who developed a chain of stores both in the Food 4 Less name (with the warehouse/no frills format) and the Falley's name. The Falley's stores were full service supermarkets, while the Food 4 Less stores were warehouse stores, where labor costs were cut by having the groceries stocked to the shelves in the original cases, rather than stacking individual items. These stores were located throughout eastern Kansas and parts of northwestern Missouri. Over the years, the number of Falley's store diminished, and were replaced with Food 4 Less stores. Falley's also franchised Food 4 Less in states where it did not operate.

Ron Burkle's Yucaipa Companies acquired Falley's in 1987.[3] In a period of consolidation for the grocery industry, Food 4 Less merged into Ralphs; Fred Meyer acquired Ralphs in 1997, and was acquired by Kroger a year later. In 2015, Food 4 Less exited the Las Vegas market and Nevada entirely. Six of the stores were converted to sister store Smith's, a prominent grocery chain owned by Kroger in the Las Vegas area. The remaining Food 4 Less stores were simply shut down.[4]

In 1998, Fred Meyer sold Falley's and the midwest Food 4 Less stores to Associated Wholesale Grocers of Kansas City.[5] The warehouse type stores were slowly phased out in favor of full service Food 4 Less stores with a new logo and format.

In January 2006, the AWG-owned Falley's and Food 4 Less stores located in Kansas were combined with sister company Homeland Stores, based in Edmond, Oklahoma. The company changed the names of the Food 4 Less stores, which it can't use beyond Kansas and Missouri, to AWG brands such as Price Chopper.


Kroger uses the Foods Co name in Northern California, where it is bound by an agreement between Falley's and grocer Nugget Markets, Inc. One Food 4 Less store in Northern California is managed and operated by Nugget. Kroger does not have any administrative control over the single Nugget Food 4 Less store.

Nugget's Food 4 Less is limited by its agreement with Fleming in its ability to advertise in circulars. Kroger's Food 4 Less circulars will feature individual products on sale whereas Nugget's Food 4 Less circulars only promote sales events and customer testimony. Ad prices from the Kroger Food 4 Less chain are not honored.

The Nugget Food 4 Less store also features a different selection of products than the Kroger Food 4 Less stores due to Nugget's pooling of resources from its upscale Nugget Market stores. Marketing and administration of the Nugget Food 4 Less store is handled through the Nugget Market Corporate Office in Woodland, California, and any requests for other Food 4 Less stores will be deferred to the Kroger Corporate Office in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is unclear whether Nugget Markets and Kroger will continue the Fleming relationship when the franchise agreement expires.

Nugget operated a total of three stores in Northern California; in Cameron Park, Vallejo, and Woodland. In 2014, the Food 4 Less in Cameron Park was converted into Fork Lift, a new store concept by Nugget.[6] The Food 4 Less in Vallejo was shuttered on May 15, 2016, leaving the Woodland location as Nugget's sole remaining Food 4 Less store.[7]


Fleming was another franchisee of the Food 4 Less name. In early 2003, Fleming filed for bankruptcy, causing the company to place all Fleming owned Food 4 Less stores up for bids to other national grocers. Three stores in Utah were purchased by Albertsons, who retained two stores. The two stores kept the Food 4 Less name until January 2005, when the names changed to the Albertsons owned Super Saver name. Another store in Pinole, California became a FoodMaxx, a price-impact store owned by Save Mart Supermarkets.

In Oregon, only one former Fleming store remained, in Salem which was part of the Mega Foods local chain of four stores. The remaining store was converted into Mega Foods. An independently run former Fleming store in Portland was closed in January 2013.

PAQ, Inc.[edit]

PAQ, Inc., is also another franchisee of the Food 4 Less name with stores in northern California. The franchisee operates Food 4 Less stores in Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Ceres, Lodi, Los Banos, Manteca, Paso Robles, Rio Linda, Sacramento (3 stores), Salinas, San Luis Obispo, and Stockton (4 stores).[8] Kroger also does not have any administrative control over the PAQ, Inc., Food 4 Less stores. The franchisee also operates Rancho San Miguel Markets, a supermarket specializing in Hispanic offerings.[9]

Gongco Foods[edit]

Gongco Foods operates seven franchised Food 4 Less stores in central California.[10] The stores are located in Atwater, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Porterville, Selma, and Visalia.[11] They are also not affiliated with Kroger.

Other ownerships[edit]

There are employee-owned and operated Food 4 Less stores in Joplin and Springfield, Missouri.[12]

In Oregon, stores in Bend and Medford both operate under the Food 4 Less name, but with separate local owners.[13][14]

A Food 4 Less store in Massillon, Ohio, co-owned with local grocery chain Bordner's, closed in 2014.[15]


  1. ^ "The Kroger Company". The Kroger Company. Kroger. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  2. ^ Robison, Jennifer (October 31, 2014). "Food 4 Less stores to exit Las Vegas market". Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  3. ^ Building an Empire - Supermarket News
  4. ^ "Food 4 Less pulling out of the Las Vegas market". Vegas Inc. October 30, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  5. ^ Fred Meyer Adding 98 Stores in Series of Deals - the New York Times
  6. ^ "Nugget Market introduces Fork Lift store concept in Cameron Park". Sacramento Business Journal. December 4, 2014. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  7. ^ Raskin-Zrihen, By Rachel. "Business - Vallejo's Food 4 Less closing." Times-Herald (Vallejo, CA) 11 May 2016, News: 1. NewsBank. Web. 13 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Food 4 Less store locator". Food 4 Less. PAQ, Inc. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  9. ^ "Rancho San Miguel Markets: Our Story". Rancho San Miguel Markets. PAQ, Inc. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  10. ^ "About Food 4 Less Central Valley". Archived from the original on March 2, 2014. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  11. ^ "Foods 4 Less locations". Foods 4 Less, Serving Central California. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  12. ^ "Food 4 Less". Food 4 Less. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  13. ^ Sherm's Food 4 Less in Medford
  14. ^ Food 4 Less Bend Store Information
  15. ^ Knapp, Amy (July 15, 2014). "Food 4 Less in Massillon closes its doors". Canton Repository.

External links[edit]