Reusable shopping bags: they’re environmentally friendly, earn you a discount, and let you express your loyalty to your favorite grocery store when there isn’t a Wegmans available within a two-hour drive. Yet here’s an interesting question: do they have an effect on our behavior? Are there any major differences between shoppers who bring their own bags and those who don’t? [More]
Shoppers in California, Arizona and Nevada should keep an eye out for disappearing grocery stores, after the Fresh & Easy chain announced it’d be closing 50 stores in the three states and redesigning the rest. That’s about a third of its total stores after emerging from bankruptcy under new ownership in the fall of 2013.
When you buy a sack of potatoes with dirt still clinging to the spuds, you know they’ll need a wash before going into your dinner. But those completely clean-looking apples, peaches, and strawberries may carry a less-visible danger in the form of pesticide residues. [More]
Just about everyone knows that the vital shelf space on a supermarket shelf is right below eye level, where your eyes are naturally drawn to products and you don’t have to crouch or crane your neck to see. A new study claims that vertical positioning on a shelf doesn’t just impact whether or not we see a product, but what kinds of purchasing decisions we make. [More]
When perishable items are close to their sell-by dates, retailers mark them down to get them off the shelves faster. When this happens, everyone wins: customers get cheaper meat, and the store still makes money from the product. That’s how this is supposed to work in theory, at least. [More]
Publix is a grocery chain that operates in six southern states, and couponers in those states got some terrible news yesterday along with their newspaper coupon inserts. The chain announced last week that they’re tightening their coupon policies in some sensible ways, so master couponers will reap some less extreme bonanzas. [More]
We all know that businesses have motivational signs and slogans that managers use out of sight of the public. But someone at this supermarket is probably going to get the boot after posting a sign on the front window encouraging employees to wring more cash out of customers. [More]
For decades, the food industry has been able to use ingredients that are “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) without approval from the FDA. When first used in the ’50s, this was intended to apply to ingredients, like vegetable oils and vinegars, where an additive’s safety is common knowledge, but in 1997, a backlogged FDA allowed food companies to merely submit their GRAS findings instead of the supporting data, creating a loophole the food industry has exploited to include a vast number of chemical ingredients that manufacturers claim are safe but which don’t go through a rigorous approval process. Feeling pressure from the public to pull back the veil on the GRAS process and its ingredients, the food industry announced a transparency initiative yesterday that may be a step in the right direction, but highlights just how little the FDA seems to care about the “F” part of its name. [More]
Shoppers in New England can once again get groceries and workers can return to their jobs, as the supermarket saga that has been unfolding in three states for over a month has now come to a happy end. Inelegantly ousted but apparently beloved CEO Arthur T. Demoulas has reached an agreement with the board of the company to buy it back for $1.5 billion and regain control.
In an ideal world, there would be ample, healthy competition in every industry and consumers everywhere would have access to these numerous options. Additionally, every company would behave ethically and efficiently, respecting consumers and the law. But from what I’ve been told from people familiar with the situation, our world is slightly imperfect and sometimes we end up doing business with companies we’d rather avoid. [More]
It’s an extremely minor inconvenience when you need to pick up some milk and have to walk all the way to the back of the grocery store to get it? Everyone knows that it’s because stores want to make customers walk through the entire store so they’ll pick up some non-milk items. Why even post about this? [More]
A weird situation in New England is getting weirder. Regional grocery store chain Market Basket, which operates 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, is finding itself at the center of a massive controversy, with employees, executives, customers, and even local lawmakers all getting involved. The core issue? The board ousted good-guy CEO Arthur Demoulas to replace him with perceived money-grubber Arthur Demoulas, and the resulting furor has led to strikes, boycotts, and empty shelves.
Regular readers of Consumerist likely know there’s a big difference between the “use-by” date and the “sell-by” date on food labels. But while most people take note of this information on highly perishable items like meat, eggs, and dairy, we often ignore those dry goods stashed in our pantries. And these unrefrigerated items are often allowed to sit around until we go to use them and realize, “Oh no… that went bad back when Bush — the first one — was president.” [More]
Your chocolate buying dollar is about to get slightly less valuable. Hershey announced last night that a year of rising cocoa prices has forced it to increase the price on just about all of its products by an average of around 8%. This is the first time the nation’s largest candy company has raised prices since 2011. [More]
I recently poached my first egg; sounds simple enough. And yet the amount of time I spent looking up how to do it, fretting over the steps and stressing over my inevitable failure almost made the whole thing not worth it. But when I posted a photo of that sucker on social media, the hefty number of virtual back-slaps I received made it clear that I am not alone in my fear of screwing up eggs. [More]
Shopping at Whole Foods can be enough of a drain on your bank account (that’s why they call it Whole Paycheck, right? Right?), so it doesn’t help if the upscale supermarket chain is also involved in some questionable practices that had customers in California paying more than they should have. Today, the company agreed to pay $800,000 to settle a statewide investigation into allegations of overcharging. [More]
When shopping online, it can be difficult to compare prices between similar products because they come in slightly different size containers — or to see if you’re really getting a good deal by buying in bulk — because many e-tail websites don’t include unit pricing to tell you many dollars per ounce/gram/liter or other standard unit of measure. But today, some of the biggest names in retail agreed to start listing unit prices, while the biggest name in online shopping won’t commit. [More]