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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Supermarket Musings

Supermarkets are set up to get you to make impulse purchases. They use prominent displays for expensive items and big signs that look like sale signs to get you to think that perhaps the regular price is a sale price.

It's hard to wade through and come out happy on the other side. And it's hard enough in English (or whatever your first language is). In Hebrew, it can be quite the task. I have seen this - grocery shopping with people with a limited grasp of Hebrew is difficult and overwhelming. Thankfully, I am pretty comfortable in my 2nd language, so I don't often get tripped up at the supermarket. I try to come with a list and stick to it. Although, often my list has an under-developed category - like "whatever produce is cheapest", or something like that.

That drives my husband crazy when he has to do the shopping. He is totally like the couple in this Ynet video on changing Israelis grocery shopping habits. He buys whatever is on the list without looking at the price, as his goal is "get in and out as quickly as possible!" My goal is "get as much healthy food as possible without overpaying." I haven't yet figured out how not to overpay in this country of inflated prices. They are inflated by the importers, the stores, the transporters who have to pay 8 NIS for 1 liter of fuel to make deliveries... and it keeps going. Everyone wants a piece of my nonexistent paycheck. And I just want to feed my family and keep everyone nourished and healthy...

I noticed that Globes reported that Mega was the first store to raise prices on several items - that had been on special for Pesach - back to their regular prices. So I read the article. Here are the foods they mention by name that they used as a comparison: Taster's Choice instant coffee, Sugat Basmati or Persian Rice, Osem Ketchup, Nutella. They say 10 items were on the list, but these were the only ones that appeared in the article.

Seriously, how are we supposed to have any idea what the supermarkets are charging when the comparison shoppers look at items like this? This is not a normal, balanced shopping list for a family with kids. I know that milk is price-regulated, and some other things too, but even so, prices vary, as not all stores charge the maximum price! Wouldn't it be so much better to take a shopping list that REALLY reflects the way people shop (who buys instant coffee every week? Not me. Nutella? No way!)? I mean, the way people should shop? Things like milk, whole grain bread, basic dairy products, eggs, basic meats/poultry, legumes, grains, and rice (yes, they included rice) vegetables, and fruits? The extras like ketchup, nutella, and coffee are JUST EXTRAS. But we'll have to work on that. Israelis seem to think chocolate and coffee are the building blocks of healthy eating (and yes, I know, I too, am addicted to coffee... but not so badly...). I know that we eat a lot less meat and eggs than most people, so I think those items should be included in a comparison...

What do you think? Do these supposed price surveys mean anything to you? Do you think Israelis eat healthy food? I'd love to hear from you!

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