Daily Meal Asks: What Do You Pick Up Last At The Grocery Store? - Exclusive Survey

Grocery stores are an essential part of our lives, so it may be hard for people to fathom that more than a century ago, they didn't exist. The first grocery store to open in the United States was Piggly Wiggly in 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee, according to Time.

Before Piggly Wiggly, grocery shopping was far from what it is today. Shoppers would give their grocery lists to employees, who then brought back the items. As grocery stores popped up across the country, it paved the way for the popularization of grocery carts, free samples, and frozen foods, per Good Housekeeping.

It wasn't until 1930, when King Kullen opened, when grocery shopping was once again revolutionized (per The New York Times). Thanks to King Kullen, today's supermarkets are now one-stop shops for not only produce and canned goods, but also baked goods and fresh meat and seafood. With so many selections to choose from at the grocery store, Daily Meal was curious what product shoppers pick up last on their grocery runs.

Most people grab frozen items last

Out of 601 respondents, a whopping 47.75% of shoppers surveyed pick up frozen items last. Frozen food items are having a moment at supermarkets right now, per Supermarket News. Frozen food sales were up 21% in 2020 and are forecasted to be the fastest-growing selection in grocery stores. For many, frozen items, such as fruits and veggies, are an affordable way to get the same nutrition found in their fresh counterparts (per Quartz).

Milk came in second, with 21.13% of grocery shoppers saying that they grab milk last. Nowadays, shoppers can find a plethora of cow's milk and nondairy milk options at the grocery store. However, people used to have their milk delivered right to the doorsteps, per The Dairy Alliance. The concept declined during the mid-1900s as more people began to settle in suburbs and the distance milkmen had to travel became too unaccommodating.

Eggs came in third place, with 14.98% of people saying they pick up the breakfast staple last. Though for some, eggs may not be on their grocery lists anymore, as egg prices have skyrocketed nearly 60% due to a bird flu affecting millions of chickens, according to CNET. Only 8.49% of grocery shoppers surveyed say they pick up produce last. Finally, 7.65% of people say they grab food from the hot bar last at the grocery store.

Grocery stores are strategically designed

Do you ever stop by your local grocery store for a carton of milk and find yourself having to walk through aisles of canned goods, pet food, and other miscellaneous items to get to the milk section? You're not alone. In fact, aisles are strategically placed so customers are inclined to spend more money.

For instance, flowers and baked goods are typically placed near the front of grocery stores because of their scent. Known as "scent marketing," per Shopify, the floral and sweet aroma makes your brain think it's hungry, leading you to buy more food. Food writer Michael Pollan tells NPR, essentials, such as milk and bread, are placed near the back of stores to "cover a lot of ground." As customers walk towards the back, they are more tempted to grab items they passed.

Supermarkets aren't the only stores to do this. Retailers such as Target also intentionally design layouts to entice customers to shop. Target's grocery aisles are placed next to non-food aisles to promote cross-buying.