Supermarket Evolution

As the sole food shopper for 6 people, I am obsessed with supermarkets. I visit one 3 or 4 times a week. The average supermarket stocks around 40,000 items but I for some reason I still need to visit 3 or 4 different supermarkets to get just what I want.

One store only has the greek yogurt I like, another one stocks the cereal the kids like, and a third the tea that Adam likes. And don’t even get me started on Trader Joe’s.

Still I have to say I’m really enjoying the new trend I see evolving in the supermarket industry.

Last week at Costco I was handed this flyer on my way out…

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Seeing this flyer made me squeal internally with glee.

After my sister gave me The China Study, I started to get quite obsessed with the food we eat. Next I moved onto The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which was a real eye opener.

After reading these two books I was scared to go back to the supermarket. I switched to Whole Foods for a while exclusively. It was safe there. Safe, but expensive.

In their mission statement they explain, “Among other criteria, we draw a line when it comes to hydrogenated fats and artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and sweeteners.”

I would not have to look at the back of every label and cross reference my iPhone every time I put something in my cart.

But things are changing. I am more aware of what is okay and what is not, and increasingly so is the general public.

And supermarkets have noticed. Costco isn’t the only one. Aldi is changing too. Once known for it’s competitive prices, they are overhauling themselves to be the picture of health and organics. Other supermarkets have started “natural and organic” sections.

Trader Joes also does not allow artificial flavors, preservatives, dyes, MSG, GMOs, or trans-fats.

Besides the change to current supermarkets we are also seeing an influx of Whole Foods Supermarket look alikes: Fresh ThymePlum MarketMrs. Green’s to name a few.

You can even get your fresh, organic, local produce delivered if you want nowadays! I used Irv and Shelley’s for a while and was very happy with them.

And though I am happy for all the new competition in the marketplace, I can’t help wonder, how Whole Foods compete with all this new competition?

Will they become the next Gorbachev? Did their cutting edge concept revolutionize the way we think so much that they have created their own competition? Or will they continue to find the next food trend, continue to be a food industry leader?

I hope so. I’d hate to see the very company that helped change us all for the better be hurt by their own impact.

But even if it lessens their market footprint, the end result will be good for all of us.

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