Author Topic: Grocery Store Shopping Patterns  (Read 7466 times)

aspiringyogini

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Grocery Store Shopping Patterns
« on: February 14, 2012, 09:06:53 PM »
Have you ever read that to stay healthy that you should shop in the periphery of the grocery store?  By that I mean the meat, dairy, and produce sections.  Those people who can least afford it in the health department (those grossly overweight individuals driving motorizeds carts) are shopping for cookies, crackers, candy, sodas, bagged chips and other processed foods are in the middle of the store.  I would venture to think that not only could their health improve by moving out of the center of the store, but also their wealth -- those center aisle items are too expensive for me! 

These are the people I would put on the wall of shame.  I wouldn't think it a source of comedy, since people have overnutrition related health issues and suffer from their obesity (obesity is a risk factor for almost all chronic disease conditions).  They only make health care in the US more expensive for everyone else.  I can't see punching them in the face, though, only tsk, tsk, tsking them.   

keepingmobens

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Re: Grocery Store Shopping Patterns
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2012, 09:16:52 PM »
That's a paradox you'll find in many areas of life. Why do the people out running at 6am tend to be thin and in shape. Your first thought is "those people don't need to be running, they're already in shape." But the reason they are in shape is because they ARE out there running.

The same reason many rich people are considered to be cheap bastards. They've accumulated a lot of money precisely because they are careful with how it is spent.

arebelspy

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Re: Grocery Store Shopping Patterns
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2012, 09:19:26 PM »
I've never heard that about shopping in the peripherals versus aisles, but it makes sense.  Neat bit of trivia.

And thinking about it, most of our shopping is at the edges, besides some items (rice, cereal, to name a few). 
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Brett

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Re: Grocery Store Shopping Patterns
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2012, 04:57:37 AM »
This is a really interesting thing to consider. I find it interesting you say the centre of the shop items are too expensive. It's a real issue for the poor especially as a lot of the crap in the central aisles is a fairly cheap source of calories: bread, instant noodles, frozen meat products such as mega-bags of sausages as well as the cheaper brands of biscuits. Fresh fruit and veg as well as meat, particularly the healthier lean meats, are costly, especially to feed families.

In the US it's easy to make an argument for healthy foods leading to savings in medical costs, but when you've been raised on crap food you have a taste for it, the fresh stuff might taste weird to you, which obviously would put someone off buying it, regardless of health benefits and long-term costs. The health costs argument does reveal a kind of endemic short-termism that a lot of people seem to suffer from, or which may feel or be necessary if you only have a tiny budget to work with each weak.

A problem in the UK is that health costs don't work as an argument for 'investing' in healthier foods, because medical treatment is covered by the NHS (although there is always talk of charging people for treatment of 'lifestyle diseases'. Though there is the argument that you get to actually be alive and well for longer and have more quality time with family and friends.

Obviously I don't think that all obese people are impoverished, all though highest obesity levels do occur among the poor and less educated. For those that are doing fine financially, I think there's an aspect of addiction to sugar, plain laziness in not wanting to spend time preparing food, or a sort of mental refusal to acknowledge or to really relate to the fact that a crap diet will make you sick in the long run.

While I definitely think this behaviour belongs on the wall of shame, and I do believe people need to take responsibility for their own health, I think that there are underlying issues with government and business that need to be pinned on the wall for this one too.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 05:18:37 AM by Brett »

MEJG

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Re: Grocery Store Shopping Patterns
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2012, 10:05:49 AM »
I have heard this many times, and I find it to be true (for the most part - spices, rice, beans, oatmeal being some exceptions in supermarkets I generally frequent). 

I would go further to say that it would be healthiest to NOT shop at a grocery store or supermarket at all.  A CSA or local farm for local seasonal produce, or your own garden, a local butcher or farm that sells their products direct to the public and a co-op for rice, beans, spices and oatmeal etc.   You would need a non-local supply of produce if you are in an area that cannot produce fruits and veg year round, that could be at a supermarket I suppose.

The items in the center of the store are expensive, in more than one way too!  Those empty calories leave some people (me!) still hungry.  I'm convinced it is not just because they are processed by the body more quickly but also because my body craves more nutrients and the junk just cannot provide that.

Guitarist

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Re: Grocery Store Shopping Patterns
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 12:03:28 PM »
I would go further to say that it would be healthiest to NOT shop at a grocery store or supermarket at all.  A CSA or local farm for local seasonal produce, or your own garden, a local butcher or farm that sells their products direct to the public and a co-op for rice, beans, spices and oatmeal etc.   You would need a non-local supply of produce if you are in an area that cannot produce fruits and veg year round, that could be at a supermarket I suppose.


Most cities of a decent size have some sort of farmer's market, especially during spring/summer/fall. Kansas City has a great farmer's market (though I really wish I lived in a smaller city) that is open year round with plenty of stands selling all kinds of stuff for a pretty good price. I love getting me some buffalo meat and picking some fruit and veggies for the week. They even have a guy selling all sorts of spices.
Obviously it dies down a bit in the winter, but there is still seasonal stuff.
I also can't wait to have a house so I can start growing my own food.

MEJG

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Re: Grocery Store Shopping Patterns
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 12:19:57 PM »
Most cities of a decent size have some sort of farmer's market, especially during spring/summer/fall. Kansas City has a great farmer's market (though I really wish I lived in a smaller city) that is open year round with plenty of stands selling all kinds of stuff for a pretty good price. I love getting me some buffalo meat and picking some fruit and veggies for the week. They even have a guy selling all sorts of spices.
Obviously it dies down a bit in the winter, but there is still seasonal stuff.
I also can't wait to have a house so I can start growing my own food.

Can't believe I forgot about farmer's markets.  The one near us (we just moved form overseas but my sister is in the area) just about closes down in the winter.  I can't wait to garden either! and plant a ton of fruit and nut trees!!!!

MacGyverIt

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Re: Grocery Store Shopping Patterns
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2012, 07:08:00 PM »
I'm not close to a farmer's market but I have to protest the notion that healthy food is more expensive. When I was a kid, eating out at Burger King was a big deal b/c it was an expense as compared to the pb&j we usually ate! At full price, yes, most definitely expensive but shopping based on what is on sale makes healthy and affordable eating entirely doable. My challenge, I have to maintain the discipline to buy only what is on sale and wait to purchase items that aren't yet on sale. Without a single coupon I've walked out of the grocery store paying 48% of the original bill based upon the sales prices alone.

Once a week I run through my nearest grocery's sales paper and many high quality meats and veggies are BOGO and often (just not this week) fruits as well. Tonight I had chicken breast and peppers/onions for dinner, all purchase at 50%. My challenge is running out of freezer space for all these perishable sales items...

I've kept a small notepad and jotted down prices at various locations and it's amazing how KMart or Target often have cheaper prices for food items than conventional grocery stores.

Brett

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Re: Grocery Store Shopping Patterns
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2012, 02:43:53 AM »
I'm not close to a farmer's market but I have to protest the notion that healthy food is more expensive. When I was a kid, eating out at Burger King was a big deal b/c it was an expense as compared to the pb&j we usually ate! At full price, yes, most definitely expensive but shopping based on what is on sale makes healthy and affordable eating entirely doable. My challenge, I have to maintain the discipline to buy only what is on sale and wait to purchase items that aren't yet on sale. Without a single coupon I've walked out of the grocery store paying 48% of the original bill based upon the sales prices alone.

Once a week I run through my nearest grocery's sales paper and many high quality meats and veggies are BOGO and often (just not this week) fruits as well. Tonight I had chicken breast and peppers/onions for dinner, all purchase at 50%. My challenge is running out of freezer space for all these perishable sales items...

I've kept a small notepad and jotted down prices at various locations and it's amazing how KMart or Target often have cheaper prices for food items than conventional grocery stores.

I'm gonna say that Burger King being more expensive isn't really relevant to this conversation since that's eating out and we're talking grocery stores.

Maybe this is a UK thing, or just the supermarkets I've shopped at, but I've never seen veggies on sale or offer, aside from frozen ones. Having said that, frozen veggies are not exactly bad for you, just not as nice, which isn't what we're debating. I can tell you for sure that if I want to make my shop as cheap as possible I would avoid the fresh fruit and veg. There can be some great offers on meat, that's true. You could make a killing there by shopping at the right time of day, or during sales, I didn't consider those options which was daft of me. I think I'll do a few online comparisons of central aisle shopping and peripheral shopping to see if maybe it's just a bias on my part.

Another UK thing could be the costs involved in importing the fruits and veg we'd like. Peppers, oranges and all the other awesome stuff from warmer climates are pretty expensive. I don't know what that's like for the US since you guys can grow loads of that stuff.

I know there are some farmers markets around me, though admittedly I haven't been to them. I'll have to check them out.

I have a serious deficit of freezer space, my freezer is a small compartment in my fridge probably only ten or twelve litres of storage space. Ideally I'd like to get myself a proper freezer and take advantage of bulk buy places.

RoseRed

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Re: Grocery Store Shopping Patterns
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2012, 04:00:45 AM »
Since converting to Mustachian ways, I have started shopping in Aldi which has dramatically reduced our grocery bill without having to cut back on nice things. They have really cheap fruit and veg compared to supermarkets. I don't know about other places, but farmers' markets in the uK are really expensive (although very ethical and good quality) so I prefer to get ethically raised meat from the supermarket on its sell-by date when it is reduced to clear, if possible.

Rich M

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Re: Grocery Store Shopping Patterns
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2012, 09:07:52 PM »
What is the periphery at Whole Foods?  Does the same rule apply?

Just curious since I don't go there. 




dancedancekj

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Re: Grocery Store Shopping Patterns
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2012, 09:21:54 AM »
What is the periphery at Whole Foods?  Does the same rule apply?

Just curious since I don't go there.

I'm pretty sure the entire store of Whole Foods is pretty much one massive sukka trap;)
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Brett

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Re: Grocery Store Shopping Patterns
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2012, 02:01:57 PM »
Since converting to Mustachian ways, I have started shopping in Aldi which has dramatically reduced our grocery bill without having to cut back on nice things. They have really cheap fruit and veg compared to supermarkets. I don't know about other places, but farmers' markets in the uK are really expensive (although very ethical and good quality) so I prefer to get ethically raised meat from the supermarket on its sell-by date when it is reduced to clear, if possible.

Aw damn. I had the feeling they were expensive, but the only thing like a farmers market I've ever been too is in the centre of town and more of an artisan food market. So yeah. Not really comparable.

I've been shopping at Aldi. I'm never really sure about the food there, though I appreciate being able to get so much fruit and veg for pretty cheap, I never feel satisfied about the quality - not that there's anything off about the taste or anything. Maybe I've just been conditioned to think that shops like that are worse.

twinge

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Re: Grocery Store Shopping Patterns
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2012, 09:41:53 AM »
Quote
I don't know about other places, but farmers' markets in the uK are really expensive

In my area of the US (Washington DC metro area), produce at the farmers' markets tends to cost more than the supermarkets and our pick up CSA is about the same costs as the stores (sometimes cheaper when I consider I wouldn't shell out the cash for some of the produce I'm able to get organically through it, but I don't get to choose what I want included in it--which sometimes leads to considerable overlap with my garden or having to clean and cook a ton of greens during a really busy work week---I know, first world whining...I don't mean to complain, just to compare the tradeoffs).  I still shop at the the farmers' market and get a CSA because I value the work of small farmers and think the produce is higher quality and I like my family to be "forced" to eat more vegetables, but I don't think we save money in direct food costs by doing it (maybe there's a medical advantage down the road, a community benefit, or an emotional payoff to my feeling more virtuous about our food...)