2Bits: Grocery Stores-The Tale of 2 Masters
“Supermarkets today are as much about selling shelves to food companies as they are about selling food to customers.”
Rigged-Supermarket Shelves for Sale,
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Supermarkets collect $50 billion annually in trade and marketing fees from big food manufactures. This impacts the food available for you to buy.
Why is shopping for healthy food hard, especially during the holidays?
Candy bars fill racks on one side of the check-out aisle while the other side has refrigerated soda, energy drinks, and flavored water. Are these there for your convenience?
Why do most grocery stores stock the same items, have the same layout, and use similar display techniques?
Is it because of consumer demand? With increasing emphasis on improving our health by eating more nutritious food you’d think otherwise. Maybe there is another reason.
Large food companies spend billions of dollars to have their products well-displayed and easy for shoppers to find.
Special marketing deals between grocery stores and food manufacturers are the driving force behind what products are offered and how they are displayed.
Pay to display! What you want–more healthy food options–take a back seat to what large food manufactures pay to display. Ultimately what food options are selected, where they are located in a store, and how these items are displayed impact how you buy.
Here are two of the display strategies that large food manufactures use in grocery stores that you should know about:
1. Category Captain:
Category Captains determine the entire layout of the section of the store it typically dominates, like freezer space or the snack foods aisle. For example, Nestle may be determining what brands and flavors are available in the frozen food section of your favorite grocery store.
2. End Caps and Shippers:
End-of-the-aisle displays, those cardboard displays you wheel your cart around, cost food manufacturers big bucks. A single “event” that might involve this attention- grabbing location for a few weeks in a single large chain could cost over $50,000.
These special “pay to play” fees will impact your access to innovative, healthier food options developed by smaller locally owned companies.
So what can you do? Become a savvy food shopper!
Know where your food comes from. Learn about the farmers that produce your products. These local farmers, value-added producers, and small innovative food manufacturers can’t afford the marketing fees big grocery stores charge.
Create an account on 2BuyAg and buy directly from farmers you know and trust. Shop at locally-owned grocery and specialty food stores. Support your local farmers’ markets.