The Science of Grocery Stores

Unless you live on a farm and live off of everything you grow, you’ve definitely made grocery shopping a part of your weekly (maybe daily???) routine. How many of you have found yourself going in to grab just a couple of things you need for dinner and leaving an hour later with 12 random things you decided that you must-have for a rainy day?  I think we all have been there. 

We’ve all found ourselves shopping on an empty stomach, only purchasing items for our kids so they stop screaming, or leaving with a candy bar, gum, and a random magazine. 

We’ve all been there. Because grocery stores are designed to do this to you. The layout, packaging, and placement of products are done so intentionally to influence you to spend more money. Here are some tips to help get you in and out with exactly what you need.

  • Make a plan: 

You have to make a list ahead of time (a written list or on your phone). Having a list will keep you focused on what you’re there for and stay within your budget. You will be much less likely to get distracted by the common grocery store traps.

  • Shop on the perimeter:

This method of shopping is where you stick to the outside perimeter of the store and only deviate down aisles with intention. You will find fresh produce, meat, seafood, dairy, eggs, etc. - all components of what should make up your healthy diet. The middle aisles are where processed, shelf-stable items live, such as pasta, rice, canned goods, snacks, and frozen goods. Some of these items aren’t necessarily bad, but they will easily rack up your grocery bill if you aren’t paying close attention.

  • Don’t be endcap obsessed:

While you may do your best to stick to the perimeter, you have no choice but to walk by tempting endcap displays. This could include anything from a display of soda tempting you to buy it for the big game or candy relating to the next holiday that is coming up. These brands pay big money to have their product in this real estate. If one of these items is on your list, great! Otherwise, keep walking…

  • Spot shelf placement:

Product placement on shelves is purposeful. Items at eye level are the “bullseye zone” and are typically the leading brands and best-selling products. The top and bottom portions of shelves will have regional or store brand items. Name brand items aren’t always better quality than their cheaper, store-brand counterparts. Make sure you are comparing prices along with ingredients to see which item is best for you.

  • Keep your impulses in check:

Many people are victims of checkout lane products. They are easy-to-grab products put there to capitalize on your waiting time. Remember to stick to your list and avoid shopping while you’re hungry. 

I hope these tips and insights were helpful and will help to keep you more accountable on your grocery runs! Happy shopping!

Matt Kaitchuck

Coach/OnBoarding Specialist