The Idosyncrasies of Grocery Stores

We have about 4 different grocery chains in the area. One I don’t shop in EVER. Well, there was once, but the place smells and all groceries are suspect in my book. Only prepackaged, dry, non-perishable goods would ever be considered, and non-food items like butt paper. This would be Food Lion. They do not have good track records with various health issues, and plus they gross me out.

The next grocery store is Lowe’s Foods. They are low on my list. Often their food is kinda stale, at least the food in the one or 2 I’ve been in, but they’re good for running in and getting things quick… mainly things that are in demand. Fine place for bread, not so much for balance bars.

Kroger is next. They’re decent. They’re sometimes very expensive, sometimes awesomely cheap. The store nearest us is nice and clean, pretty much the only one I like shopping at, as the older ones are less so. They have a decent organic section, have all the various veggie foods I like with decent selection. They lack selection in other areas, and that’s why they don’t get shopped at more. But they have better selection of healthy-ish foods, so they are at least gone to a couple times a month.

Then there’s Harris Teeter. Tons of stores in the area, only one I won’t go to. Decent but not awesome prices. Decent selection, but this annoying propensity to only have certain varieties of things at certain stores. There is one large store, the Taj-Ma Teeter, but it’s far away and usually only gone to on my way to and from school, since it’s right on the route. It has the most complete selection.

The weird thing I realized today…
Only Harris Teeter has ground beef above 90% lean.

I’d gone on a quick run to Lowes a bit back, as they are actually easiest to get to during high traffic times, and needed ground beef. Nothing above 80% lean. In any brand. Period. They also tend to lack ww varieties of certain breads and bagels and such. It’s not really a store for the health conscious, I guess.

But what kinda confused me was Kroger. This is where I just went shopping, again with ground beef on my list. Nothing better than 90% in their own brand, and the other brand (Laura’s) is tres expensive. (Prolly partly because it’s organic, iirc.) But that was it. Nothing else. This is the store that has better selection of organic foods and veggie products. Better selection of healthier choices for many dry goods like cereal and pasta. It’s kinda weird. I couldn’t get 96% lean beef.

What I guess I’m wondering is which part of the chicken/egg question is the culprit here. I mean, is it that at some point Lowes had a healthier ground beef available but noone bought it? Or is it that they never carried it in the first place?
I used to think it was odd when people on various forums were talking about how they couldn’t find certain things at the store. I thought it would only be for very obscure items or niche market things or some backwoods “general store” kind of store. But I have a hard time finding healthy beef in a large urban(ish) environment.

Does this mean that healthy foods are now niche items? Or is it something less spectacular, like people who eat healthy tend to go for chicken, and people who don’t tend to go for lower grade (and cheaper) beef?

Is a puzzlement.

2 Responses to “The Idosyncrasies of Grocery Stores”

  1. cyberpunk Says:

    Do you have a Whole Foods in your area? For health food selection it is the gold standard in my book. They’re tuff to find, and sometimes very pricey, but if its not there, its not healthy. Worth the trip with a cooler if you have on thats not convenient but within a reasonable drive. My aunt drives almost 2 hours to pick up some specialty items at the one nearest to her.


  2. Aoife Says:

    It’s funny. After the post I realized I forgot the Fresh Market and Whole Foods, both of which we have in town and both of which I shop at. They actually both have a huge selection of good food. They are pretty much the only places I get any sizable amount of produce and have much better selection of pre-made stuff for when I’m feeling ultra lazy.

    However, lately I’ve been shopping at 10pm, and both are closed by 9. So… I often forget they exist and prolly haven’t been in either one in over a month.
    I often have other issues with them as well. Whole foods has exceptionally awesome cookies, and I usually partake when I go. Which isn’t a good thing, because at heart I’m still a girl who says… “Can’t decide? Get ‘em all!” :-P My plan is always to spread out the eating over time, but it’s usually a case of eat them all at once. *shrug*

    What really struck me as interesting tho is that the places where “mainstream america” shops are so suckky in some ways, but great in others. And for some there is no exposure to the “Health Food” stores. I find the idea that a store can be so health conscious in one arena but not in another kinda weird.

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