Product Placement in the Supermarket

I am confused and a bit annoyed. What is up with the product placement in supermarkets? Here are some examples. The section that has the Ba-Tampte pickles and mustard should have the sauerkraut. It doesn’t . It has another brand. I happened on the sauerkraut in a totally different section of the store. The Kerrygold Butter - they now make one in 2 sticks instead of one “brick.” The two sticks are with the butter. Again, by chance, I found the one I wanted - with the cheese. I don’t get it. And these stores are getting to big to schlep around looking for things. Why can’t they all be together? :unamused:

Gwenn, you’re up against three possibilities in general.

One is that it is perfectly legal (except for alcoholic beverages) to pay for product placement (better position on the shelf – eye-level, instead of one the bottom; aisle/department; etc.).

Two, different ideas of where certain items should be. For example, some items that might be in the “Ethnic” section, or the “Kosher” section, turn up in the “regular” mix – e.g.: a mustard might be in the Kosher section, or it might be with the rest of the mustards . . .

And finally, simply sheer stupidity (e.g.: butter placed in the cheese section).

I’ve found myself similarly annoyed at a new Wegmans in my neighborhood. You’d think all the eggs would be in the same space, but that’s just not so. Organic eggs are in one refrigerated space, “family packs” in another, and “regular” eggs in a third. Same with water/club soda/seltzer. Flavored water is by itself. Flavored seltzer is with the sodas. Plain water is in a different place. Club soda is with the mixers. All in different aisles. I’m thinking that it’s all a ploy to get customers to walk down as many aisles as possible.

It is. That’s also why supermarkets periodically change the location of most folk’s regular purchases, so they can’t just go on auto-pilot to Aisle 17 for the sugar.

Many years back, I had a brief period of employment as a pen-pusher with a company which had retail supermarkets as part of its business. One of my tasks was to read the trade press to glean information about our part of the business but you got to read the general stuff, as well.

Except that while the Ba-Tampte pickles and mustard were together, the sauerkraut, also kosher was with the Clausen pickles - clearly not!!

I’ve tried to decipher the system in my local supermarket, but I think figuring out one of the Google algorithms would be simpler. You can find cheese in four places: with the kosher dairy stuff, with the non-kosher dairy stuff, with the sliced meat, and with the produce.

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You’ve just proved my point . . .

Yes I did. And boy am I tired from searching for stuff at the market!!!

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Don’t get me started on the long-life milk. That’s the only milk I buy, and it seems like every supermarket categorizes it differently from every other supermarket, and then also re-categorizes it from one month to the next.

When you arrive at the supermarket, ask the Manager for the location of items on your list if you don’t already know where they are. Tell them you aren’t willing/able to go on a scavenger hunt. Sometimes they are actually interested in customer feedback about product location, but depending on corporate policy, they may or may not have authority to change placement.

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Of course they want to drag you to all aisles to see more packaged foods.

That’s why shopping the produce section is much easier.

I remember when stores had maps/flyers at the entrance. Some even had an interactive touch screen where you could look up what you needed.

If someone will explain why barley is placed with canned/boxed soups instead of with other grains, I will die happy.

A store manager told me it was because people only use barley for soups and don’t eat it …
Same manager told my DIL that “… he was sure he’d seen the SPTT but couldn’t remember where it was”. My then-non-cooking DIL then called me to ascertain where she might find this elusive ingredient from one of my recipes. “Darlin’ that means salt, pepper to taste” I told her.


My local supermarket also groups snack foods by manufacturer. So if you want to compare the price of potato chips, you have to search out the Lays display, the Wise display, the Herr’s display…none of which are in in the same aisle. By the time you’re done with that, you’ve probably burned enough calories to not feel guilty about eating the chips.


there is an entire industry dedicated to selling their “research” on how to get/fool/trick/exasperate customers into buying more stuff, or the higher margin stuff. which is complimented (NOT!) by mega-corps giving discounts/rebates/i.e. bribe money to (typically) chains for “best placement.”

I wrote my own computer program for “shopping list” - it has multiple locations and it “stores” the aisle (further refined as F/M/R - front-middle-rear.) on screen it’s alpha sorted, when printed it comes out in location order - which I can control so that the Produce, Deli, Bakery, Meat, etc., sections print out in the proper strolling order. my point is - yeah, they keep changing stuff and no, it’s not my imagination cause I’ve on it on the computer.

I could list a few zillion examples - but we all know that, so I’ll skip it…

what bugs me even more is the increasing-increasing encroachment of displays and free-standing racks in the aisles. the store manager knows me by first and last name, I’ve hammered on him that much. it’s not his doing/fault - it’s a “headquarters said” thing - I’ve been researching the commercial building code restrictions on number of people and minimum clear egress paths. he may need to ring up headquarters and tell them their new MBA has garnered him a couple citations…


Safeway, a Left Coast chain, receives its marching orders from corporate. Period. They have no right to change anything.

All the chains here are the opposite of that. All potato chips, corn chips, etc. are in a group.

That particularly drives me crazy in the wine aisle. Those stacks of cases with bottles on the top takes an already congested area and makes it impassable.

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[quote=“catholiver, post:16, topic:3757”]
All potato chips, corn chips, etc. are in a group.
[/quote]Yes, that’s the way that makes sense. One of the big drug store chains around here (I think it’s Walgreens) started grouping all the toners & moisturizers & like that by brand, necessitating a few laps around the store to find one I liked. Why I do a lot of my shopping online these days, reason #377.


That all makes sense, just as all of the sweetened breakfast cereals are usually eye-level with the kiddies being pushed in grocery carts. And I’m sure there’s much more about product placement that’s less obvious but just as strategic.

Now I’ve not found that so at all. Maybe that’s an English thing.

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