Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America Paperback – May 29, 2018
Enhance your purchase
Explore your book, then jump right back to where you left off with Page Flip.
View high quality images that let you zoom in to take a closer look.
Enjoy features only possible in digital – start reading right away, carry your library with you, adjust the font, create shareable notes and highlights, and more.
Discover additional details about the events, people, and places in your book, with Wikipedia integration.
The Amazon Book Review
Get new book recommendations every week. Read it now.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
About the Author
- Publisher : Abrams Press; Reprint edition (May 29, 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1419729535
- ISBN-13 : 978-1419729539
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #296,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
My only criticism is that the middle third of the book goes into a Michael-Pollanesque discussion about healthfulness of natural foods and avoiding the food-like substances. I agree with the line of reasoning, but I've heard it already -- from Michael Pollan. Thankfully, the third portion of the book returns to the fascinating, often-nerdy aspects of what makes the local supermarket tick.
The book afforded me a great deal of insight (and appreciation!) for something that I used to take for granted.
Regardless, I generally enjoyed this book. It sheds some insight into the history and evolution of supermarkets and food, with an emphasis on food. Ruhlman talks to nutrition experts, organic farm ranchers, food buyers, and others.
What this book does a mediocre job of covering is the business aspect of supermarkets. Instead of getting anecdotal information from talking to many people affiliated with the smaller Heinen's chain, I would have liked to learn more about the supermarket industry in totality. Heinen's practices are interesting; how do they compare to Kroger and Safeway? How do they compare to stores that are even smaller? What about Aldi and Whole Foods? In the outset, it is stated that supermarkets earn a poor return on investment. Why is that? Certain departments are major money losers. Why? Heinen's supposedly places a lot of value on hiring good people. What goes into that hiring process and how do they foster a certain kind of culture? Why did Heinen's expand into Chicago and why didn't they expand elsewhere? How do sales margins vary for different products and product types? Ruhlman leaves the reader to wonder a lot of things.
Ruhlman discusses some of the history of the retail food business going back more than a century. Twentieth-century giant A&P rose and eventually fell, and change in the industry has been constant—Walmart and Whole Foods have been drivers of change in recent decades. The author focuses on Heinen's, a Cleveland-area chain, and recalls their history in Northeast Ohio. "Grocery" notes how competition between stores and chains of stores affect decisions of individual grocers.
Healthy eating is en vogue in some quarters in America today, and the author describes how chains such as Heinen's make room for healthier products on their shelves to compete with other retailers. Ruhlman talks with the consultant physician for Heinen's on a trip through the store, discussing the poor eating habits of many in the last forty or so years and how they contribute to food-related illnesses, focusing much attention on the detrimental effects of excess sugar.
Ruhlman has chapters in the book about the meat, produce, and frozen foods departments, looking at the operations of each. The author also notes how food producers get their products on grocery store shelves and looks at the forces likely to change grocery stores in the near future, including the rising market for prepared foods, hydroponic farming, and the impact of Amazon.com.
The book closes by discussing the opening of a new Heinen's location in downtown Cleveland and just what the opening of a sizable grocery store can do for such an urban area. This volume even goes over how groceries should be properly bagged and debunks some of the myths about how grocers supposedly try to trick customers. "Grocery" is a thorough look at a topic some might wrongly think mundane, and those of us who worked in a grocery store at some point during high school or college would find the book an especially good read.