11 Secrets Supermarkets Don't Want You to Know

Doing your grocery shopping can be like navigating a minefield

Fuse/ Thinkstock
The products at eye level are there for a reason.

Going grocery shopping is so ingrained into our culture that we usually don’t even give it second thought. We grab our shopping list, grab our cart, walk around the store, pick out the food we want, pay, and leave. But in reality, every supermarket is a well-honed machine, hell-bent on getting you to spend as much money as possible without even realizing it, and they’re got a few dirty tricks up their sleeve to make sure that happens.

11 Secrets Supermarkets Don't Want You to Know (Slideshow)

The typical supermarket sells more than 50,000 items, and getting them onto the shelves, keeping them fresh, and selling them before they expire can be a Herculean task. There’s meat and the deli counter on one side, fresh fruit and vegetables on the other, fresh bread in the corner, eggs and dairy in the back, and packaged goods taking up the shelf space in the middle. And while it might all look like chaos, the layouts are actually very scientific, and everything is where it is for a reason.

For example, ever wonder why the dairy cases are all the way in the back of the store? In most cases, it’s because the loading docks are directly on the other side of those refrigerators, so items can go straight into the case from the refrigerated truck without having to be moved through the whole store, minimizing the amount of time the items might have to get warm. And as for why the fruit and vegetables are located right near the entrance? Simple: so the first impression you get is one of health and freshness.

Giving the customer the impression that everything is as fresh as possible is a major priority of supermarkets, as is making as much money as possible, which can lead to some shady practices markets engage in to extend shelf life (pro tip: if it ever looks like there are two overlapping labels on a package of meat, don’t buy it). So read on to learn some secrets that supermarkets would prefer you didn’t know, and remember: stick to your list, don’t shop hungry, and if it doesn’t look right, don’t buy it, no matter what it might say on the label.

The Checkout Lines are Tight for a Reason

Have you ever been waiting on the checkout line when you decide that there’s an item you’d rather leave behind? Good luck finding a place to put it down; they’ve been designed so you make the subconscious decision to just purchase it instead of trying to wedge it behind the Trident.

Shopping Carts are Filthy

Ever seen someone washing the shopping carts? That’s because they don’t. Think about how many other people have touched that handle! We suggest washing your hands before eating anything after shopping, or wiping the handle down before using it.

Click here for 9 more secrets that supermarkets don't want you to know. 


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8 Comments

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I have worked in grocery business for over 15 years. This article is NOT truthful. If this is what you are finding in your store your must be shopping in some really gross place. Grocery stores are held to an extremely high standard when it comes to Food safety and sanitation. Quit trying to scare the public and actually have facts not made up crap.

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If you castigate practices that extend or optimize how much food is resused instead of being thrown away, then you are an egregious example of an ethnocentric snob, who thinks NOTHING of the fact that there are literally BILLIONS of people who would LOVE to have a fraction of what you throw away because of some mythical "expiration date".

That is HYPOCRISY and ELITISM at it's finest.

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Having worked in a supermarket it is more the norm to NOT wash the lettuce and other vegetable ingredients of the "on the go" salad. I would personally NEVER buy a premade salad form a grocery store. I am referring to the LARGE grocery chains. Considering where the lettuce and ingredients come from .... and bacteria, be safe and bring it home and WASH it. Of course have the dressing to the side id you must be a premade salad.

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Not only is meat restickered it is repacked. They will repackage it with the BROWN hamburger meat INSIDE and the pink hamburger meat on the OUTSIDE. So when you get home the INSIDE of the hamburger is BROWN. It's OLD hamburger in the INSIDE and that is ILLEGAL to repackage the meat in this way. TAKE IT BACK!

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Wrong.
"6. Why is pre-packaged ground beef red on the outside and sometimes grayish-brown on the inside?
These color differences do not indicate that the meat is spoiled or old. As discussed earlier, fresh cut meat is purplish in color. Oxygen from the air reacts with meat pigments to form a bright red color which is usually seen on the surface of ground beef purchased in the supermarket. The interior of the meat may be grayish-brown due to the lack of oxygen penetrating below the surface."

Source
<a href="http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/meat-preparation/the-color-of-meat-and-poultry/the-color-of-meat-and-poultry/ct_index" title="http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/meat-preparation/the-color-of-meat-and-poultry/the-color-of-meat-and-poultry/ct_index">http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/ge...</a>

lafoodsitter's picture

i guess to some of the "secrets" that are not so secret it just requires a bit of common sense!! one really cannot believe that because you see the fruits & vegs all sprinkled with water it means it's fresh! let alone clean!!!! it is a harsh reality i agree! it only takes good practise from our consumer's point of view!

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A second comment. I posted a comment and can't find a place to view my comment or anyone else's. What's up with that?!!??

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Having worked in some grocery stores, I learned a few things about the strategies. Eye Level is buy level. The eye level shelves are sought after by the suppliers. Common items such as bread, eggs, etc are located far from the entrance to get people to pass by a lot of other things along the way, in and out, so they will go past more things as they go and maybe something will catch their eye and end up in the shopping cart.
One item I would disagree with here is the notion that something like a meat product that has a second label attached to it is to be avoided. They will often have a reduced price on such an item because it is nearing the expiration date. It doesn't mean there is anything wrong with it, just that, if it stays much longer they will have to throw it out and won't make anything at all on it. Buy it and cook it soon or put it in the freezer, it's not an indication of poor quality.

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