Monday, October 15, 2012

Food channel choices

The food shopping choices for Franklin are varied. Stop and Shop and Shaw's have been joined by the Big Y. Market Basket is in Bellingham. Trader Joe's in Foxboro. These are the 'traditional' food outlets. BJ Warehouse, Target, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens and then the smaller stores sell food as well. I had been working on an article to discuss what the introduction of the Big Y is doing to my family's shopping but the Globe has beaten me to the punch.

The Boston Globe Magazine on Sunday had a good article on the growth and evolution of supermarkets. Currently, we are shopping at more than one each week finding the best deals. The super stores that Walmart introduced have cut into the overall food sales of traditional supermarkets.

In part the article says:
Seventy-six percent of Americans now visit at least five “channels” for food — places like supermarkets, drug, and dollar stores — according to an August 2012 report from SymphonyIRI Group, a research firm in Chicago. Only 3 percent of us visit only one or two channels. Even my mom now shops at four. 
On average, a Boston-area family spends $8,066 a year on food, according to government statistics, but nearly half of it goes to things like restaurants and takeout. That leaves everyone selling groceries to tussle over only $4,870 per family. And for some time now, the traditional supermarket has been losing ground in the fight. 
Once the only game in town, supermarkets today only get about half of US grocery sales. Twenty-five percent goes to Walmart, which only introduced its Supercenters in 1988. Target is squeezing full food sections into many of its locations, including dozens in Massachusetts in recent years. Walgreens and CVS are now carving out more space for food on their shelves, and dollar stores across the country are adding freezers for items like pie crust and frozen vegetables. 
Offered this smorgasbord of options, today’s shoppers have become incredibly picky. Our sole loyalty, Rand says, is to our ability to find the best food at the best deals, behavior that increased during the Great Recession and still continues.

The online version of this article will require registration and/or subscription to the Globe

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