Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Grocery Shrink Ray

The Consumerist routinely reports on what it calls the "grocery shrink ray," a trend of manufacturers reducing the size of grocery products while charging the same price.

But now it looks like even the grocery stores themselves are being hit by the shrink ray.

After years of SuperTargets, MammothWal-Marts, HumongoKrogers, grocery stores are beginning to slim down. (Maybe with all those smaller products, they don't need as much room?)

From a NYT story:

"Here in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh, the grocery chain Giant Eagle opened a Giant Eagle Express last year that is about one-sixth the size of its regular stores. It has gas pumps, wireless Internet and flat-screen televisions in a small cafe, a drive-through pharmacy and an expansive delicatessen that offers sushi, rotisserie chickens and ready-to-heat dinners.

'It’s perfect,' said Dusty McDonald, a 29-year-old bank teller who was buying breakfast sandwiches recently for her co-workers at the Giant Eagle Express. 'It’s on my way to work. It only takes me 10 minutes to get in and out.'

The opening of smaller stores upends a long-running trend in the grocery business: building ever-larger stores in the belief that consumers want choice above all. While the largest traditional grocery stores tend to be about 85,000 square feet, some cavernous warehouse-style stores and supercenters are two or three times that size."

In some respects, it seems boutique-y. In others, it just sounds like they're trying to compete with gas stations.


Polar Donkey said...

It is weird how gas stations are becoming the focal point of American culture. You've got Tiger-marts that are like little mini-grocery stores, but now (at the Mapco at Poplar and Belvedere) the mini-grocery store is a restaurant too. Is this a sign of economic errosion? Also, troubling is fact that at a time when we should be shifting resources away from the automobile, it feels like we are pour our remnants into automobile culture.

Anonymous said...

The CA must have got hold of a shrink ray to use on their ever-shrinking newspaper.

marycash said...

PD: Looks like I'll have to make a trip to the Poplar/Belvedere Mapco. There's nothing I like better than gas station food. I think it's all the salt.

Anonymous: Ouch!

Anonymous said...

well hey, Mary, I'm just waiting at some future date to get nothing from the CA but a monthly bill instructing me to go to their website for the "news." Unfortunately for me, my wife and I are hooked on actually reading a physical newspaper every morning with coffee. Would that the Flyer could go daily!

marycash said...

Maybe one day ...

like next Wednesday. But then we'll go back to being weekly again.