With the explosion of large scale stores like Whole Foods and Farmer’s Markets in just about every different neighborhood, it is clear that the movement to eating more healthy food is becoming important to people in America. The new buzz word all around is “organic” food, mostly from the way it’s grown and produced. It’s clear that most households want to watch their health and wallets, but are more than willing to pay premium money today for food that they think is better for them. Restaurants have almost overused the term farm-to-table, giving us the indelibly etched picture in our minds that what’s on our plate got here from something directly down the street or in the backyard of the restaurant.
Recently, I had a chance to interview one of the owner of the restaurant Bocado in West Midtown, Brian Lewis, and he made a very interesting comment to me during our lunch. He said, “Ted, the food in the middle sucks!!” I’ll provide some context in a minute, but if you tasted the difference between the fried chicken, slaw, and pickle sandwich at Bocado and one a Chick-Fil-A you would notice a monumental difference. Chick-Fil-A may have a lower priced sandwich, but price isn’t always everything. The fried chicken sandwich was simply more tasty and delicious than a Chick-Fil-A sandwich and worth every penny for the lunch.
So, why does the food in the middle suck? Most grocery stores are positioned in the shape of a rectangle with anywhere from 10 to 20 aisles running through the rectangle. You may or may not have noticed, but the really healthy food that you can buy at the grocery store is always on the exterior of the rectangle. Your fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, chicken, fish, and more are all around the edges of your shopping path. If you were able to stick to doing all of your shopping by just walking the rectangle, it’s highly likely that your cart would end up with a much higher amount of healthy food. Could this strategy help you eventually save money in doctor bills, life insurance, and much more in your life?
Remember, that grocery stores were built by some of the smartest marketers in the world. They have programmed us to move ‘right’ when enter the store. That’s why you generally see the freshest stuff first such as baked goods and produce when you enter the store. Most of the time, the necessities around the rectangle are all the way on the opposite side of the store, forcing you in a counterclockwise pattern like a mouse in a maze. Unfortunately, all of the crap you don’t need to eat is right there in the middle of the store. The chips, the sodas, and pretty much everything in a box that the grocery store wants us to fill our cart up with while we make our way through the supermarket. They are even smart enough to put that fattening candy at the checkout counter just to tempt us one more time.
The Your Smart Money Move to make here is remembering that pretty much anything that is in a box probably isn’t too good for us. Every once in a while, we can enjoy something processed and preserved with all sorts of chemicals, but if you stick the borders of the store you are more likely to get the best food for you and avoid what sucks in the middle! Remember, I love discounts and deals as much as the next person, but getting good food on your table can help you potentially be more healthy day to day and put you in better shape for your future!
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