Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Live Forever

Food from American supermarkets is generally so well preserved and packaged that it lasts a Very Long Time.

It's actually pretty difficult to buy fresh produce that you can cook with; it's much easier to buy something pre-prepared or microwaveable instead. Once you do find basic ingredients, you often realise that it's cheaper to eat out in a low-key establishment.

This could explain why so few New York apartments have functional kitchens.

One supermarket chain is making a killing at the moment. Wholefoods is very successfully filling the gap, and sells beautifully fresh food alongside organic and luxury pre-packaged items. Every branch is always busy, so they're clearly on to something. This also seems to grant them licence to charge about twice the price of everyone else for the same items. Ah well.

It's also interesting to note that not everything you buy from a supermarket actually has a "use by" date. Maybe "food" here really does Live Forever.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Having paid $17 for a collection of items from the salad bar at Wholefoods on a few occaisions, I also thought they could somehow get away with charging vastly more than the competition. However after reading the book 'The Undercover Economist' they appear to be, in fact, only cleverly exploiting basic economic principles.

In an ideal world every seller would like to receive as much as anyone is willing to pay for an item, which of course differs from buyer to buyer.
Apparently, if you select carefully, it is possible to buy 'normal' items at the same price or lower than at normal shops. But they are very good at placing the premium items in places that attract attention easily so most people tend to pay up for them (organic fruit etc).

Many supermarkets do the same thing by offering 'own brand' items in dull packaging which, in content, do not differ much from 'full price' items. In this way they will sell to the penny pinchers and to the 'luxury' buyers even though the cost to produce the item is nearly identical (Starbucks does the same with coffee- and car manufacturers in offering a bare-bones version with the dozens of options costing more)

So it looks like you're just seeing a reflection of your own value of 'premium' products!