Cookies in the Produce Aisle Aren't Tricking Anyone

produce aisleIt's a well-known fact that if you want to eat healthier foods, you should try shopping along the perimeter of the grocery store. That's because the fresh, healthy, whole foods that are good for you -- fruits, vegetables, meat -- are typically located along the borders; processed foods and junk food are usually stocked toward the middle of the store. Of course, it was only a matter of time before the packaged food companies tried to snag a piece of the prime real estate in the grocery store. Hold on to your shopping carts because you won't recognize your store if these companies get their way.

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As the Wall Street Journal reports, packaged food companies are looking to invade the produce section and other fresh departments. Why? Because those are considered to be the best parts of the grocery store. Not only are they typically located nearest the entrance and, therefore, see the most foot traffic, but they are also the areas that most customers automatically associate with "fresh, high quality" products. It makes sense that the food companies would want to get in on this.

But there's something inherently wrong about corn chips hangin' with the avocados, canned soup mingling with the bananas, and cookies chilling with the apples. Displaying such dissimilar items together is misleading to customers about which products are fresh, whole, and healthy and which products are shelf-stable, processed, and, well, not. There's so much confusion and misinformation already surrounding the diet of the average American; it seems cruel to confound shoppers even more. "Shopping around the perimeter" is, at least, a healthy tip that's easy to remember, but even this will become meaningless if companies are successful in their attempt to change stores' layouts.

Hopefully, grocers won't cave to the pressure and will maintain the attitude of Craig Ignatz, vice president of produce and floral at Giant Eagle supermarket company, who commented:

We really want to try to keep the balance between what we would perceive as fresh produce and dry grocery items or processed food.

Otherwise, I shudder to think what the grocery store of the future may look like.

 

Image via rick/Flickr

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