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Survive & Thrive in the Supermarket Jungle

Do you know how to get in and out of the supermarket in record efficient time - even with kids? 

Here is my complete guide to making food shopping quick and stress-free! 

Beware: your bank balance and health is at risk, every time you set foot in your local supermarket!

Have you ever wondered why potato chips and soft drink are in the same aisle? or Why milk is located at the rear of the supermarket? Mmmmm.

In this article, I’ll reveal the hidden secrets and sneaky tricks of the lucrative supermarket industry. Then provide you with skills to survive and thrive when you enter this potentially deadly environment.

The placement of products and where they are situated throughout the store is the result of careful research and manipulative, strategic planning. Everything from the location of the entrance, the layout of the store, how wide the aisles are to even the choice of music played and lighting used. It’s all designed to coax us into spending more time and money than what we originally contemplated.

Supermarkets without a doubt, provide us with an extremely useful service but keep in mind, supermarkets don’t care who you are or how healthy you want to be..

The main objective is to make us spend as much as possible.

Let's say, you want to buy rice cakes. As you approach the aisle, notice how they are stacked right next to the sweet biscuits. You are distracted by a special promotion on your favourite indulgence.

When you go into the danger zone prepared there's none of this...

Save $5.00 if you buy 3! Hey, what value! Easily tempted? I’m sure you’ve seen hundreds of similar examples.

So how do we avoid falling victim to the supermarkets’ clever time-traps and techniques that make us buy things we don’t need?

Supermarket Combat Techniques

Put on your khakis and camouflage face paint, we’re going to engage in some supermarket hand-to-hand combat.

Spellbinding fresh produce

Fresh fruit and vegetables are the first thing we see when we enter the jungle. Fruit and vegetables are considered to be attractive to look at, so this is why supermarkets place them directly at the front of the store. It draws us in. The colours, textures and flavours are a lot more appealing then jars or food in tins.

Selecting produce is a totally tactile, engaging experience. We pick produce up, turn it over, smell it, or squeeze it, some instances taste’s the most captivating place of the supermarket. By performing these simple acts forces us to think more about what we need to buy.

Beware - if you don’t have your list of exactly what you need, this section can really slow you down, and you know what that means - spending more time then what you had planned and possibly more money!

Supermarket Combat Technique #1

Keep in mind, this section is designed to slow you down. Itemise and make a list of the produce you need before hand and stick to it. Hint: go for what is in season -it’s the freshest and cheapest.

You fill up my senses...

The colours, sounds and smells; our senses are so manipulated! What we smell, see and hear when inside the supermarket are very precisely orchestrated.

Just past the brilliant display of colours in the fresh produce section is the bakery. The delectable smell of freshly baked goods is enough to rattle the cage of the most dedicated. Smell and hunger go hand in hand. Hungry in the supermarket is like an invisible assassin that will easily take down your best intentions.

Here’s another sneaky trick that lures us into complacency, the easy listening, catchy tunes played as background music. Research shows, listening to familiar tunes relaxes and soothes which makes us linger! Increased time spent in-store which can lead to unnecessary spending!

The TCB Shopping List Creator makes it so easy - simply select your recipes & add to groceries

Supermarket Combat Technique #2

Ensure you never enter this jungle when you're hungry. Hint: Eat before before you go and you will buy only what you need.

Beware the eye-level ambush

Products are categorized into sections; confectionery, soft drink, health foods, cereals etc. Careful planning goes into where individual items/products are actually placed on the shelf. Top selling products are always placed directly at eye-level.

Shoppers don’t like to bend or stand on their toes to obtain their items, and those products we see before us are not necessarily the best, most healthiest choices either. In fact, healthier choices may even go unnoticed.

Supermarket Combat Technique #3

Scan the shelves, look above and below eye level. The upper and lower shelves may have items that are considerably cheaper, healthier even both.

The dangers of wandering alone

Product-placement is the way of the supermarket jungle. Key items are strategically placed or even hidden, to make you look, search and possibly buy more!

Let’s say you simply have to go to the supermarket for some necessities, bread, milk, eggs. Where are the essentials usually located? At the rear of the store. That means you have to venture down the aisles to get to your destination. Or even worse, wander up and down aisles trying to find what you need. That’s dangerous. It means there’s a higher chance that you might impulsively decide to buy something else.

With each, the recipe's ingredients becomes an organise shopping list complete with subcategories.

Supermarket Combat Technique #4

Get to know your local jungle err...supermarket! Maybe even note the product categories of each aisle. Using your supermarket list note the aisle for coffee (tea, sugar, and milks are always close by) etc. Hint: the perimeter of the supermarket is where you’ll find 90% of what you need - produce, dairy, eggs, meats, frozen veg, breads.

Hidden land mines: Marketing promotions, offers & specials

When we see a special sometimes we can’t but help stock up, simply because 1) it’s our favorite brand, 2) it’s habit to buy or 3) we switch brands for a better deal.

You know those displays at the beginning or end of every aisle? They’re not there because a 16-year-old staff member got bored and decided to stack 300 tins of Milo into the shape of a 3-d hexagon! No these works of art are carefully crafted and paid for by food manufacturers. That’s right, food companies pay more for the right to display their products at the end of the aisles. Do we really have a chance?!

Supermarket Combat Technique #5

Ask yourself some tough questions.

When faced with a potential enemy (a special offer or in-store promotion)
a) Will this help or hinder my environment for success?
b) Is it a known killer that has a history of murdering my good intentions and undoing all my good work?
c) Does the food fit in with my MP meal construction plans?

Cue Kenny Loggins..... into to the danger zone!

When you do finally venture up to the frontline (the checkout as civilians call it), it really does take you right into to the danger zone! (Gotta love Kenny Loggins.. and if you don’t know that one, ask your mum, she’ll know). 

The check out is the danger zone. It’s full of flying shrapnel. Items such as magazines to flick through while you’re waiting, then toss it into the trolley. Not to mention all the candy, gum, video’s, cold drinks and chocolate that have been strategically placed at eye level for the kids.

The longer you stand on the front line, the stronger the chance you will take shrapnel (make an unnecessary purchase).

Note: you can scale up or down the servings/people so the amount of each ingredient adjusts accordingly.

Supermarket Combat Technique #6

If you are one that readily identifies with taking shrapnel on the frontline, go for the checkout that is confectionery and magazine free. Alternately, the self-serve express lanes are great. Simply scan and pack your supplies and you’re outta there.

Supermarket Combat Technique #7

Save yourself so much time by using my great Shopping List Creator – one click turns your tcb recipes into a customised shopping list, you can scale up or down ingredients to suit servings.

Make sure you never go food shopping without it

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