Saturday, December 31, 2011

Supermarkets and the business of supplying consumers

As part of my ongoing series of articles about emergency preparations, I've been looking into the food supply chain, and talking with a few people about what food-related topics need to be addressed in the series. To my surprise, it became clear that many people don't understand how they buy food now, never mind in preparation for an emergency! They've never stopped to think about how the food supply chain works, how supermarkets are designed, structured and laid out to entice us to spend our money, and so on. I thought it might be a good idea to cover those areas in an article, on general principles.

To begin with, let's take a look at the business of supermarkets, and the challenges confronting them from an organizational and management point of view. Here's a report from CNBC on Giant Eagle, a regional US supermarket chain. Its comments about that chain are, of course, applicable to most others across the country.

Other CNBC reports in their series 'Supermarkets Inc.' are available on YouTube.

Now let's turn to a British series that examines how supermarkets entice shoppers to buy their goods, and what's behind their wares. The series is somewhat anti-supermarket and pro-natural foods, but that's not necessarily a bad thing when you consider the evidence they offer! Here's the first part of the series to whet your appetite.

If you found that interesting, click on the links below for the rest of the series:

Then there's the whole field of 'supermarket psychology'. Here's an Australian program about how supermarkets display their goods and set themselves up to entice us to spend more than we intended to, on products we didn't intend to buy when we entered the place.

Again, there are more parts to this series on YouTube, as well as many related video clips. They make very interesting viewing.

I hope these reports have helped inform some readers, at least, of how the food supply channels work in modern urbanized society, whether in the USA, or Europe, or elsewhere. If those channels break down due to some disaster or other, we'll need emergency supplies of food to cope with the disruption. We'll begin to address that subject in the next article in my 'Emergency Preparations' series.


1 comment:

trailbee said...

Thanks for your efforts. It was after reading one of your articles earlier this year that my husband and I decided to look at canning and freezing food. Even though we are both in our early 70's we plan to be around for a bit. This is helpful.