The Tactical Reason Grocery Store Produce Is Always At The Front

Walk into the front door of nearly any grocery store, and you'll see row upon row of fresh apples, sweet pears, pungent onions, and of course, lettuce, parsley, and eggplant sprayed with a "mister" to keep them cool. You may wonder why every food store seems to have the same produce section location, especially if you're less inclined to buy fruit and vegetables and would rather stock up on other groceries (per Mental Floss).

Regardless of what you intend to buy at the supermarket, you just might end up perusing the produce before you head to any of the aisles — and stocking up on fresh fruit and vegetables. But why is the produce section so close to the entrance, and why did you walk out of the store with that cantaloupe that wasn't even on your grocery list? It turns out that it's all about psychology, according to National Geographic, but why is it so important to have the produce at the front of the store?

The psychology behind produce in the front

While it might be shocking that produce is always at the front of the grocery store for a reason, the reason actually makes perfect sense. Fresh produce is enticing –  and seeing so many fresh fruits and vegetables when you enter the grocery store sets the tone for the rest of the store. Do the tomatoes look ripe? Does the lettuce look fresh? If so, then you'll work up an appetite for the fruits and vegetables and not only be more likely to buy them, but you'll also be more inclined to shop the rest of the store because the produce looks so delicious (per National Geographic).

Produce — and its nearby counterpart, the floral bouquet — is easy to arrange to look appealing in stores. Apples, pears, oranges, and other fruits that typically rest in the stands in the middle of the produce department are bright and colorful, so you may crave an apple or orange without even realizing it. Flowers are another colorful way to encourage customers to enter the store. Along the sides of the produce department usually are a variety of vegetables, from lettuce to mushrooms to carrots. They are typically positioned under lighting that makes their colors stand out (per Mental Floss). And of course, both fruits and vegetables are meticulously arranged in neat stacks and rows. With such an enticing display, who wouldn't want to buy produce?

Grocery store psychology isn't limited to produce placement

If you think that only the produce section of the grocery store is strategically placed, then you're in for a surprise. After the produce department draws you into the store, the rest of the store will be just as tempting to walk through, and it all has to do with where each section is located.

Every section offers plenty of enticing buys for customers. The bakery department is also typically at the front of the store so that your mouth will water for a treat and you'll indulge your sweet tooth (per Mental Floss). According to the Chicago Tribune, most shoppers will visit the dairy section, and they also typically buy the items they're eyeing there. Since this section of the supermarket has such high traffic, stores place it at the back. This way, shoppers will be forced to walk through the middle of the store — where the items that are hardest to sell typically are. If they have to walk past drain cleaner and mixed nuts just to get to the area with the milk, they might stock up on items that they might not actually need before they get to the items that are actually on their grocery lists. Everything in the grocery store — including produce — is strategically arranged, and you might never see your local supermarket the same way again.