Avoid the trap: Grocery stores designed to sell junk food

A typical grocery store layout presents produce, meat and dairy products along the perimeter of the store. You should remain here as much as possible.

The inner aisles include prepackaged and preserved foods that mainly contain artificial flavors, salt, sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. At the ends of every aisle, the sale food is displayed: cheap, empty calories in brightly colored boxes.

This is why you should be cautioned: The advertising companies are not the only ones playing tricks anymore — stores have a marketing plan of their own.

Upon first entering the Walmart Supercenter on New Circle Road, the entrance enticingly displays oatmeal cream pies, Rice Krispies Treats, cookies, various chips and Mountain Dew.

The store is immediately pressuring you to grab these items without checking the nutrition label. Once the shopper has made it through the fortress of soda and Little Debbies, they’re introduced to the produce department.

The grocery store should get some credit for putting the produce in the front, but they fail in that nonproduce items are put in strategic places.

For example, when you see a fresh apple, you will also find caramel dipping sauce sitting right next to it, or flavored croutons to add to a previously healthy salad.

Of course this makes sense. When shopping for meals little add-ons seem acceptable and often do make the food more enjoyable, but does anyone remember what an apple tastes like anymore? Or strawberries without the shortcake?

The United States culture has become accustomed to the taste of fake food and the real food by itself has become underappreciated.

To increase company and store product sales, a strategy has been developed that includes placing foods together to make a complete dessert or dinner. Too often these combinations only add unnecessary calories and fat.

For example, instead of simply roasting a marshmallow over the fire, food culture has made the need for half a chocolate bar and a graham cracker to surround the sugar puff. Coupons are even distributed so that you get the discount only if you buy all components of the s’more.

The grocery store layout is terrible for college students and all consumers in general; it puts unhealthy foods in the most obvious places. The best way to ensure choosing healthy food items at the grocery store involves more planning and self-control strategies, as well as making a direct path through the store’s healthiest areas.

First of all, enter the grocery store with a full stomach and, if possible, alone. This will make you less likely to buy something unhealthy.

Secondly, you should be prepared with a grocery list of the things you need. Focus on coming up with healthy options before and stick directly to your list while shopping.

Third, make time for grocery shopping when there is ample time to shop and read nutrition labels if needed. This will stop impulse buying, because you will go in directly to get the items on your list and nothing else.

And lastly, use entrances that will have the least amount of enticing, unhealthy food displayed by the entrance. Not all stores will have two entrances, but if possible, enter the store where toothpaste or other nonfood items are located; then walk directly to the produce section.

Once in the produce section, continue to follow the perimeter of the store where the refrigerated and mostly fresh items are located. Avoid going through the center isles unless necessary, and if so, only get the needed items.

Remember: Grocery stores were made to sell products, so to avoid their unhealthy trap, stick to the outer perimeter. Or even better, go to the farmers market or check out local produce at Good Foods Market and Café.

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One Response to Avoid the trap: Grocery stores designed to sell junk food

  1. Pingback: Reviews and News on Tech Products, Software and Downloads | PCWorld

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