Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Grocery Game Of Chicken

We're on food overload here at Columbia Talk. We're newly minted Costco members, and made our first foray to Trader Joe's. We're trying to stay loyal to our neighborhood Food Lion and still have a hankering for the produce at Produce Galore and MOM's. Then there's David's Natural Market, a rebate check to cash from BJ's, dog treats to pick up at Target and Wal-Mart, and our monthly visit to Lets Dish.

And Wegmans is not even here yet!

Something has got to give. But it made us wonder: Why is a low-margin, fiercely competitive business like the grocery business suddenly so hot? Perhaps the chains are learning something from Perdues of the world. People will pay you more for the parts they want than they will for the whole chicken. Specialize in a segment of the market, say organics or bulk products, and you can steal part of a mainstream grocer's most profitable customers.

At least until we all get too tired of hitting five different stores for the food -- and prices -- we want.

1 comment:

Young at Heart said...

This seems similar to having to go to several big box stores to purchase items you used to be able to find in one department store.

I wonder if this phenomenon could be related to the fact that food is one of the few items people generally don't buy online. Maybe as online shopping really takes hold, retailers are concentrating on areas they feel are least likely to be impacted by online shopping.