So what else is new?Posted: May 25, 2010
I can’t truthfully say I’ve “lived” in the US, but I can say I’ve been there for long enough periods of time to know that Safeway sucks. Although I believe Whole Foods is WAAAYYY too expensive, I rather go there than Safeway.
Reasons why Whole Foods > Safeway
- Food @ Whole Foods appear to be REAL rather than filled with chemicals.
E.g. Safeway in-store baked bread is made from processed everything and chemicals vs. Whole Foods bread which is just made from whatever one usually uses to make bread at home. Safeway canned tuna is loaded with salt and other things; Whole Foods – it’s just tuna in water
- Food actually looks delicious at Whole Foods vs. Safeway. My boyfriend and I decided to walk to Safeway because it was close and pick up some ingredients for dinner. We walked out empty-handed because the food looked soo unappetizing. We made the longer trip to Whole Foods.
- Everything seemed / appeared to be processed at Safeway. There’s a reason why Whole Foods is called Whole Foods…
My only beef about Whole Foods: It’s bloody expensive. Hence the reason I like grocery stores here in Canada. I don’t have to go to Whole Foods and pay ridiculous prices to get real food – real and healthy food.
Why does the US have food and eating issues?
Below is an article based on a study recently conducted. There are a couple of issues I have with the study: short study length, small sample size, limited study breadth – only conducted in Seattle. But it’s interesting nonetheless AND I believe I read an article about how during the recent economic downturn in the US, obesity rates have increased as incomes decreased / became non-existent.
Pricey grocery stores attract skinniest shoppers
Obese customers far more common at low-cost markets; poverty a factor
The percentage of food shoppers who are obese is almost 10 times higher at low-cost grocery stores compared with upscale markets, a small new study shows.Researchers say the striking findings underscore poverty as a key factor in America’s growing girth.
In the Seattle area, a region with an average obesity rate of about 20 percent, only about 4 percent of shoppers who filled their carts at Whole Foods Market stores were obese, compared with nearly 40 percent of shoppers at lower-priced Albertsons stores.That’s likely because people willing to pay $6 for a pound of radicchio are more able to afford healthy diets than people stocking up on $1.88 packs of pizza rolls to feed their kids, the study’s lead author suggested.
“If people wanted a diet to be cheap, they went to one supermarket,” said Adam Drewnowski, a University of Washington epidemiology professor who studies obesity and social class. “If they wanted their diet to be healthy, they went to another supermarket and spent more.”
The findings held true for the three highest-priced grocery stores in the Seattle region, including Whole Foods, where an average market basket of food cost between $370 and $420, and obesity rates went no higher than about 12 percent.
By contrast, at the area’s three lowest-priced stores, including Albertsons, the same basket of food cost between $225 and $280, and obesity rates went no lower than about 22 percent.“Deep down, obesity is really an economic issue,” Drewnowski said.
His research team studied 2,001 shoppers in the Seattle area between December 2008 and March 2009, tracking their choice of supermarkets and comparing it with their education, income and obesity rates. They measured obesity by asking consumers to report their height and weight, then calculating body mass index. People with a BMI higher than 30 were identified as obese.
Drewnowski was quick to note that the study focused only on Seattle, which has an obesity rate much lower than the U.S. average of about 34 percent. He doesn’t claim that the same rates would bear out in other cities.
Wealthy shoppers usually thinner
But, he said, it’s likely that similar patterns might be found elsewhere: Wealthier people who shopped at higher-end stores would be thinner, while poorer people who shopped at cheaper stores would be fatter.
It’s not a matter of availability, Drewnowski said. All of the stores in his study stocked a wide range of nutritious food, including plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Instead, he contends it’s because healthy, low-calorie foods cost more money and take more effort to prepare than processed, high-calorie foods. In a separate study two years ago, Drewnowski estimated that a calorie-dense diet cost $3.52 a day compared with $36.32 a day for a low-calorie diet.
“If you have $3 to feed yourself, your choices gravitate toward foods which give you the most calories per dollar,” he has said.And the shoppers Drewnowski polled went out of their way to choose stores largely based on price or quality. Only about 15 percent of consumers regularly patronized the stores closest to their homes.
Whole Foods officials said they knew their shoppers were healthy, but that the low 4 percent obesity rate was surprising. Libba Letton, a spokeswoman, said the study confirmed their stores’ commitment to helping people achieve diets that support optimum health.
Albertsons officials declined to comment directly on the reported obesity rates at their stores, instead noting in a statement that they promote healthy choices, particularly through their “better-for-you food finder,” a program that tags shelves to identify foods that meet certain dietary needs.
Access to good foods isn’t everything
Drewnowski’s study was paid for by a three-year, $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. It raises sharp questions about an upcoming government effort, called the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, to spend $400 million starting next year to bring supermarkets to low-income areas. Some researchers have suggested that simply making nutritious foods available in so-called “food deserts” is the key.
But Drewnowski’s findings show that it might not be so simple, said Gary D. Foster, director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at the Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia.
|Seattle researchers ranked supermarkets according to the obesity rates of their shoppers at these Northwest and national grocery stores. A body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher indicated obesity.
— Whole Foods Markets: 4 percent
— Metropolitan Market: 8 percent
— Puget Consumers Cooperative (PCC): 12 percent
— Quality Food Centers (QFC): 17 percent
— Fred Meyer: 22 percent
— Safeway: 24 percent
— Albertsons: 38 percent