Let’s take a quick break from vacation posting (although I edited like 50 more beautiful photos to share with you last night) and talk about super markets.
Wow, how they have changed since my childhood. I remember growing up and going to the grocery with my dad to do the weekly shopping (it was called “the grocery” back then because it certainly was not a “super market”) at our small local Kroger. I can close my eyes an picture everything about the layout of the store. It was compact and included all of your staple sections – produce, meat, bakery, deli, etc – but that was about it. No specialty items, little variety when choosing brands and certainly no organic/natural choices. But that was okay…it was the standard back then and I have to say that we ate very well growing up.
It’s all different now. We now live the era of super stores, local/sustainable, organic, specialty, import and more. AND we expect to find it all at our local super market. Even my small hometown grocery is now a “Super Kroger” and quadruple the size of the old store. While there was a certain simplicity about the way it used to be, as a lover of all things food and cooking I seriously enjoy the way that food and food shopping has changed.
I kind of put food shopping into two categories. The first is traditional super markets like Kroger, Wegmans, Publix, etc. and the second is specialty and/or upscale markets like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Earth Fare, etc. I used to do most of my shopping at traditional stores and supplement with the second category but now I find that I do more of my shopping in the second category due to my food preferences and the fact that I’m only shopping for one. If I were shopping for a family I would be doing the bulk of my shopping in the first category.
I find it fascinating how much super markets vary from region to region and how certain markets have a “hold” on certain areas. I’ve had a chance to shop in many different stores by living in different states in the south over the course of my life (Kroger, Piggly Wiggly, Bi-Lo, Winn Dixie, Publix, Harris Teeter) and I have to say that my favorite super market by far has been Publix. I shopped there consistently for three years when I lived in Birmingham.
Here are some of the reasons why Publix comes out on top for me:
- No store card – you know those “discount cards” that most stores offer that you scan when you check out (that really just allow them to track your buying behavior). I admit that as someone who works in marketing that I see the value of capturing customer data so that you can better serve your clientele but it’s kind of refreshing to know that the price you see is what it is when you walk into Publix.
- Penny items – each week Publix offers a mystery penny item. It’s always something of the Publix store brand and yours with a purchase of $10 or more. They have it displayed in store and you can either ask for the penny item coupon when you check out or bring in a printed one from the paper. It’s just a fun little surprise.
- Customer service – Publix prides themselves on their customer service. They are continually ranked as one of the top places to work. They emphasize having as many full-time employees as possible versus a lot of part-time staff and really give their employees a sense of ownership as far as customer experience goes. You will always be asked if you would like help with getting your groceries to your car and you will never have to self-checkout. Publix does not offer that option.
- Good quality store brand – they offer a wide variety of good-quality store brand, including their natural “GreenWise” line (see more below). You know how much I love their ice cream! That’s just the start of it.
- GreenWise – these reasonably priced products include everything from all-natural to organic to minimally processed items such as meats, vegetables, paper products and more. Publix has even started opening smaller specialty GreenWise Markets in select areas.
- Great bakery items – I am not a huge fan of grocery store bakeries but Publix has a pretty solid bakery. Believe it or not, they are actually known in the wedding circuit for their delicious and affordable wedding cakes. I like their breads and other baked goods. In fact, the catalyst for this post was shopping at the local Publix here with my mom and picking up this for dessert last night.
Store-made peach pie with Publix brand vanilla ice cream. I mmm’d my way through this.
Tell me more about how you food shop? Are you store loyal? Do you lean more toward shopping at traditional “super markets” or more high-end or specialty markets?
*Publix totally did NOT have any part of this post…I was not compensated or incentivized to write it. I am just THAT passionate about food shopping! 🙂