Markets and grocers have been an imperative part of our western society. They are the places we obtain all of our produce to make all of our meals, which keep us healthy and living. For my family and I, the local Acme in Media, Pennsylvania is where we do most of our grocery shopping. It is an ideal place for the average consumer to purchase fresh and high quality products at a reasonable price. This grocery store sells everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to tobacco products and frozen meals. After getting to know grocery stores' strategies on advertisements and the store layouts, it is easy to understand how to make one's way around the store. Everything is taken into consideration when designing and setting up the store, from where products are placed, to advertisement placements in order to catch the consumer’s eye. The article “What the Doctor Order: Urban Farming” written by John Hanc exposes fresh produce to Americans to help steer them in the right directions on eating healthy. In the article itself the author uses “a prescription for produce” to describe one of the ways that they get people to eat healthier foods (Hanc). “The Pleasures of Eating”, written by Wendell Berry, emphasizes the point that most people do not think about the food they are buying. As a result of the consumer not thinking about the food that they are buying, they tend to purchase more products that are less healthy for them. Just because something looks appealing and may seem healthy, most of the time its not; most frozen foods have a lot of preservatives and other additives that allow them to be stored for such a long time. Due to its layout, the Acme limits the "bad" choices that are available for the consumer by keeping them out of direct vision.
Before starting the observation within the store itself, it is essential to know the Acme’s surroundings. It is located within an upper middle class neighborhood, with only one other grocery store near by, that being a Trader Joe’s, which appeals a different crowd of people. The Acme is located right off of a busy street, which allows for passing cars to notice and gain access to the store easily. As a result of having the Acme located right off of a busy street, large companies can have an easy advertisement to local and passing population.
As one would walk into the store, the first section or type of food that is noticeable is the fresh fruits and vegetables. If one were to walk straight back into this section, lettuce, fruits and other fresh options are the most visible. This section also contains all of the organic food the store offers. The back end of the store is where the cold cuts, seafood and meats are located. The right side of the store is where the milk and cheeses are located along with the breads and whole grain items. Walking around the store I realized that all of the healthier products are outlining the the perimeter of the strore. In addition, the items that the grocery store is pushing to sell are the healthier fresh fruits and vegetables because when a consumer walks into the store those products are the first items available to them. In the middle of store is where all of the unhealthier foods tend to be, such as cereal, pop tarts, cookies, chips, and frozen foods. These foods line the middle of the isles. Other products in the middle of the store are everyday supplies such as cleaning supplies, cups, paper plates, cooking ware, and spices, and several other products. At the front of the store resides the checkout lines; there are about 6-7 register options, however, there are no self-check out options. Near the registers are a few small cakes and candy varieties that are available for a last minute buy. After the checkout lines, the customer service counter is available where the consumer can purchase tobacco produces and make product returns. Before leaving the store, there are products that are outside for customers to purchase. These products tend to include seasonal items, such as salt rocks, shovels and firewood.
The prices of the products that are available in the store are very reasonable for the season. Items such as fruits, vegetables, and seafood are always going to be changing prices due to the weather and quantity of resources. However, other than the seasonal pricing, I think that the prices on all products, given the area that the Acme is located in which is an upper middle class, is very reasonable for everyone to shop at. As I was walking around I also noticed that there was a decent amount of sales that were going on throughout the store on all kinds of food. For instance, one of the sales was a pork loin that was on sale for 1.98 per pound. Even without the sales the food was still reasonably priced.
The idea in “What the Doctor Ordered: Urban Farming” is that by making consumers aware of the benefits and prices of fresh produce, the greater the chance of the consumer actually purchases these products. The Acme makes a small step in this direction by placing all fresh produce right in front of the consumer when he or she walks into the supermarket. Acme also excels at advertising by labeling the healthier organic foods with stickers that stand out to the publics' eye, letting them know that the particular foods are the healthiest and freshest. In addition, “Pleasure of Eating” explains that the consumer does not really think about what they are eating or what they are about to purchase. Acme does a good job at taking away a reasonable amount of the bad food choices that the consumer can buy, because the healthier sections of the store are larger and have more options than the unhealthier and frozen foods. As a result, the layout makes it easier for the consumer to make better choices on the quality or nutritional options that they are buying simply because there are less unhealthier options for the consumer to purchase.
After doing my observations on the store, I have come to the conclusion that presentation and layout are big factors in persuading the customer to buy healthier foods. Acme in Media does a great job in achieving this goal. One can argue that the Acme is trying to push healthy eating based on the layout and advertisement of the store. Based on the articles that I have read about other grocery stores, I too think that this Acme is pushing healthy eating.