The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

On the shelves

November 9, 2022

According to a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey, 87% of households acquire food from large grocery stores in a typical week and purchase almost two-thirds of their calories from supermarkets. 

The food grocery stores provide consumers plays a significant role in the nutrition we receive in our daily diets and affects the quality of the products purchased. These products come from vendors that sell their items to grocery stores to stock their shelves. 

“We are constantly negotiating with vendors to offer lower prices on high-quality and healthy items. We also ensure the quality of our food by conducting temperature checks, checking expiration dates, and doing a product inspection before we put them on shelves,” said Bill Go, store manager of Lunardi’s market located in Belmont, Calif.

The regulation of food available to shoppers guarantees each product is up to standards. The United States Food and Drug Administration has over 3,000 agencies responsible for regulating the retail food and food service industries. They inspect over 1 million food establishments that feed people around the country, including grocery stores, restaurants, cafeterias, and more.

A large sector of customers is those with dietary preferences or restrictions. According to a study by the Vegetarian Times, 7.3 million Americans are vegetarians, and another 22.8 million follow a vegetarian-inclined diet. These people may have a challenging time acquiring the food that fits their preferences, which is why grocery stores continue to invest in new products to sell in stores.

“Vendors who study consumer preferences and needs always suggest new products for us to carry they think will benefit customers,” Go said.

Once a vendor proposes a new product to sell in stores, grocers decide whether to approve it or not. If approved, it will soon become available for shoppers to purchase. The abundance of new, innovative products keeps the food at grocery stores exciting and allows consumers a variety of choices.

Grocery stores have also been trying to shift to more environmentally friendly practices regarding food and store regulations. Lunardi’s has been one of the first in the industry to implement solar power as its primary lighting source. According to Lunardi’s website, the Burlingame store uses a direct current system to fuel its fluorescent lighting system. The Walnut Creek store has an inverter that converts energy into alternating current. 

Go explains another way they are protecting the environment, specifically food waste.

“Along with using solar power as our main light source, we also partnered with local churches and food banks to donate our foods that are not up to our standards. This eliminates overall food waste and gives food to those in need,” Go said.

The USDA states that food waste is estimated at 30% to 40% of the food supply in the United States. Small efforts such as donating food that would otherwise be wasted all contribute to helping the environment.

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