Monday, November 8

Grocery Stores Getting Wise

One more NPR link for you today!  It’s a fascinating article on how grocery stores and markets are employing the same techniques they use to sell junk food to begin increasing sales of produce and health foods.
Grocery stores have been losing money for years on produce.  Produce has a very limited shelf life.  If you don’t buy produce in that time, it just gets thrown away and the grocery store simply loses the money.  But just moving produce to a better part of the store isn’t getting people to buy it.  When I walk through the door of my Safeway, there are bins of oranges and apples right in front of me as I step over the threshold.  But it’s usually not enough to make me stop and buy.
Markets are actually putting money into displays and lighting that not only position produce and health foods in a way that guarantees our attention, but they’re making these foods look better too.  They’re employing staff to cut and prepare produce and recipes (which gets tasty scents into the air), and creating signage to cue our brains into reaching for these foods (effective marketing).
Could you imagine walking through your produce section and have a similar experience to your walk through the bakery?  How fantastic would it be to hear a mother say, “I can’t take my kids into the produce isle or all I hear for the next hour is their begging for fruit!”  As nice as that world would be, it’s unlikely to happen (since all the junk food we eat triggers chemical processes in our brains that veggies and fruit can never trigger).  But a produce section with an experience is  a great start!
Have you noticed any changes in your grocery store?  If you haven’t, how do you help yourself work against all the marketing and position around junk food?  I have to breathe through my mouth when I walk through the bakery section, otherwise I’ll buy doughnuts—do you have any tricks of your own?

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