Do you ever wander through the grocery store and end up spending more than you were budgeting for? Don't beat yourself up over it — supermarkets actually have several different strategies to trick customers into blowing bucks. Be on the alert and watch out for the sneaky psychology tactics these stores will try to use on you.
There's nothing like good weather that gets me in the mood for cooking in my kitchen, which inevitably leads to more trips to the grocery store. Although some may think supermarkets that focus on natural and organic foods are too expensive, there are plenty of ways to cut costs on your grocery bill. I talked to Lindsay Lehfeld from the Whole Foods team who shared with me 10 ways they can help you save.
Is the future of the supermarket looking bleak? Some seem to think so. According to consumer marketing firm RetailNet Group, grocery stores will soon be faced with an uphill battle. Food retailers could see the impact as soon as 2015, as population growth slows and the influential baby boomer segment becomes an elderly generation.
Additionally, younger, more affluent customers, especially those born after 1985, may be the first ones to turn primarily to online grocery shopping in lieu of physical visits to the supermarket. Some grocers are responding to this concern by launching initiatives for kids in an attempt to create a rapport with future generations of shoppers.
Call me antiquated, but I kind of like the physical act of strolling down the produce aisle, even squeezing avocados to make sure they're ripe. It's hard to imagine a future free of grocery stores. Could you see yourself shopping for food exclusively online?
In developing a recipe for halloumi tacos, Whole Foods has been my go-to grocer; it's one of the few places where I can track down the specialty cheese. But I recently opened a package to discover it was spoiled, even though the cheese hadn't yet passed its expiration date. At $9 a package, halloumi doesn't come cheap, so I called Whole Foods, who told me to bring in the receipt for a return.
However, with the store a 15-minute drive away, and the hassle of digging through old receipts to find the appropriate documentation, I don't know if I'll be bothered. Although most supermarkets have return policies for their items, when it comes to perishable food items, there's potential for a "he said, she said" scenario. What do you do when you discover supermarket spoils?
Hot off the heels of Groupon's much-discussed IPO comes news that the company is piloting a grocery discount program. The online daily coupon company has negotiated deals with Massachusetts-based supermarket Big Y Foods to offer Groupon discounts for groceries, such as 50 percent off on shellfish.
The catch? Customers who buy the deal will get the discounts credited to their Big Y loyalty cards upon checkout. If successful, it's an arrangement that would better suit merchants such as supermarket chains that have many locations and points of purchase.
Given a positive outcome, other grocers are on board to do their own promotions, Groupon says (although the company remains tight-lipped when pressed for names). As a shopper who scourges market aisles for the best deals, I'd be excited to see this roll out nationwide. What do you think of the concept?
As grocery bills continue to get steeper, Walmart is hoping to make a name for itself as an affordable place to buy healthy, wholesome food.
At a Washington news conference Wednesday, America's largest grocer stood by First Lady Michelle Obama and pledged to make its food products more healthful — and affordable. "We don't think any American should have to choose between what's affordable and what's healthy," executives at Walmart declared. The decision is right in line with Obama's food policy push for more corporations to market healthy food to kids.Walmart pledged to build new stores in urban and rural underserved areas and reformulate thousands of packaged food items by 2015, removing industrially produced trans fats, cutting sodium by 25 percent, dropping added sugars by 10 percent, and developing new labeling that'll call attention to whole-grain and unsweetened food options. It also plans to work with suppliers to lower prices on fresh produce at a rate that will save customers $1 billion annually.
The corporation's plan follows efforts to source more food sustainably. Regardless of its motivations, I'm glad Walmart's taken this long overdue step. Will you shop there more?
Could cooking at home be costing you? According to market research firm NPD Group, grocery aisle price hikes are predicted to surpass restaurant menu price increases for all of 2011. Although supermarket food prices dropped in 2009, they ended up in 2010 and are currently rising faster than restaurant costs — a factor that's driving more Americans out of the kitchen and back into dining establishments. Why the sudden price jump? Fierce supermarket competition during the economic recession kept grocery prices prohibitively low — but meanwhile, costs for commodities like sugar, corn, and pork continued to build. As a result, many analysts expect a grocery bill bubble to burst and food inflation rates to reach notable highs.That's some scary news for the American pocketbook. Have you noticed a jump in grocery costs — and is it driving you to eat out more?
For more than three years, Trader Joe's has been YumSugar readers' favored grocery chain, and I'm just as big of a fan. In particular, I'm in love with the products unique to their stores, from lentil chips to fleur de sel caramel sauce. My preferred proprietary item, the Cilantro & Chive Yogurt Dip, even has a recipe for roast beef and arugula sandwiches to go along with it. That said, I'm sure I've missed more than a few good items in the aisles of my local Trader Joe's. What are your favorite food products to buy from TJ's? Do share with the rest of us.
We know every tasty meal starts with its ingredients, so we wanted to know: where did you get yours this year? With 34 percent of your votes, one grocer came out on top! Congrats Trader Joe's, our 2010 readers' choice for best grocery store.
We can't get enough of TJ's, and apparently great minds think alike — you also crowned the affordable grocer top pick in 2007 and 2008. This year the store adopted sustainable seafood standards, and it was our go-to spot for everything from cheese to chips to Sauvignon Blanc. Whether you're a fan of the store's self-branded goodies (like my personal faves the Thai Vegetable Gyoza and the Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches) or you like to stock up on two-buck Chuck, TJ's carries a unique selection of foods that's easy on the wallet.
Let's also raise a glass of Chuck to Whole Foods, who came in second with 26 percent of the votes. And be sure to check out all our other Best of 2010 polls and winners as we close out another delicious year.
What has been your go-to grocer this year? While supermarkets may be shooting for Santa's "nice" list in 2010, with Walmart going local with its produce, Trader Joe's adopting sustainable seafood standards, and Target putting the kibosh on farmed salmon, you may have preferred a small-scale shop or farmers market over super stores and warehouses. Or maybe it just came down to convenience? I live a few blocks away from a Whole Foods, so it usually wins out for me. But I'm wondering, where did you shop this year?
Source: Flickr User qmnonic
popsugar pollWhat's Your Favorite Grocery Store of 2010?