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August 25, 2010

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Kim @ Two Good Cookies

Do you find that in addition to being more expensive, the smaller markets where those with lower incomes shop, have a much smaller selection of fruit and veg? I've always found that and find that to be a travesty unto itself.

Julia

Kim - I agree! But I was impressed with the variety the Haitian Grocer had considering the space constraints.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

Fascinating, but not surprising. The one thing I find is that small ethnic groceries, while not always having a large inventory, generally have high turnover, so that the produce they have is fresh. I like to do my shopping at Asian supermarkets, which always have super-fresh produce and fish, but also stock "American" products at much lower prices than the supermarkets. Fascinating exploration of your neighborhood, Julia, and much food for thought.

Melissa

*Looks around* Am I on Dan's blog? ;)

This is really interesting. I haven't thought to do such a comparison. I am really surprised Whole Foods is about the same. I hate their selection of produce though, and I hate their overpriced meat department (I shop at a private meat market that's fairly expensive, but their stuff is sourced well and tastes a-ma-zing). I think the rest of my markets are about the same across the board AND they are all really accessible. I live near neighborhoods of all types and never is anyone without a grocery store within a half mile. At least not in the area of Orange County I am in.

UrMomCooks

I have also thought about this, although I have not done any exact comparisons... Down the street from me there is a gas station convenience store and right ACROSS THE STREET is a major chain grocery store. There are numerous large apartment complexes of several different rent levels nearby. What I have noticed is that the convenience store is packed all the time - (I would like to own that convenience store!) I think is partly a matter of convenience, but also a level of comfort. (I see down-on-their-luck folks buying things in the convenience store, but never in the grocery store.) I have also read studies which state that when people are concerned with survival they often do not have the extra energy to consider maximizing price and nutrition. It's easy to get mad at the convenience stores for the lousy food selection and high prices, but as a society we have left the door wide open for them to make their product available.

Julia

Lydia - I agree about the Chinese markets. When I first started my business (and money was tight) I shopped there all the time -- I remember, chicken was $.69/pound and carrots were $.49

Melissa - It is interesting that in a lot of urban areas, a big market is less than a half mile away.

UrMom - Thanks for sharing that insight into the psychology behind convenience shopping. It certainly shifts the discussion!

Dan @ Casual Kitchen

Fascinating! Too often people simply assume that inner cities feature nothing but food deserts and overpriced produce as far as the eye can see. Why? Because it fits the construct we have about poverty, city living--and of course, how the food industry takes advantage of us.

Thanks for doing the due diligence here and uncovering provocative data that suggest otherwise.

Dan

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