If you are trying to eat healthy, where and how you shop is just as important as what you eat on a daily basis. With just some basic knowledge about how your local supermarket operates, you can save money and live healthier.
In the olden days, grocery stores could only sell what was fresh and local. Now, with globalization and super efficient distribution systems, you can be eating a product of Guatemala just a few days after it was harvested from the ground. While this is a tremendously beneficial thing in most ways, it does provide some interesting problems. Understanding how the modern grocery store operates can help you in a variety of ways.
There is No Longer a “Fresh” Day
Just a few years ago, most grocery stores were getting food deliveries once or twice a week (sometimes even less frequently). This meant that the difference in the freshness of your food between a Monday and a Wednesday could be tremendous. Now, however, grocery stores generally receive deliveries on a daily basis.
It is nearly impossible to time your visit so that you are buying the freshest produce, but there is good news. The food you purchase regularly is likely far fresher than it would have been before improvements in the distribution systems.
Less Quantity is a Bad Sign
If your local grocery store is sporting a small fruit or vegetable section, you may be inclined to call it “quaint”. In reality, however, less quantity usually means that the store does not expect to go through very many items and as such the produce is more prone to sit there and spoil.
Grocery stores with massive fruit displays, on the other hand, usually have extremely fresh produce because they tend to cycle through their stock rapidly. Such stores are also the only places where you should contemplate purchasing exotic spoilable items, as they are more likely to have sat there for quite some time than bananas or apples.
Look at Price Per Unit
When you’re shopping, you tend to automatically think that buying in bulk will save you money. In reality, however, the only way to tell how much you’re spending is to look at the “Price Per Unit”. Often times, with items such as toilet paper, the middle size will actually save you the most money. Other times, the price differences will be quite negligible. Also, don’t be fooled by grand displays. They’re rarely there because there is a deal on the items.
Be Careful with Meat and Fish
Often times, large grocery stores will have elaborate butcher and seafood sections. You may be tempted to buy a whole fish, but be wary! Most of these items are from far away countries and have likely spent some considerable time on ice. If the sign says “previously frozen”, you may be better off just purchasing it from the frozen foods section. You’ll be getting essentially the same thing and saving around 40% in the process. Talk to the people working the counter and inquire as to the history of your food next time.