We all know why milk and bread is found at the back of food retail store? It’s because they’re two things that everyone needs more often that almost anything else. By putting it at the rear of the store you get ‘dragged’ past hundreds of other items to tempt you to pick up, pay for, and take home. I had a meeting with the CEO of one of the worlds largest food retail stores this month who suggested that most retail purchase is impulse. If that’s true then bread and milk at the back is a clever thing (from a retail point of view – all it does for the customer is cost money)
There’s more science to store layout than we know, and maybe would like to know. Like why fruit and vegetables are the first thing you encounter when logically they should be the last? And why baskets should be at the back of the store and not the front (the subject for a follow up post) If we knew some more of the science we’d probably enjoy our shopping experience less.
Have you noticed a shift in the food retail shopping frequency of younger people? I have. My grandmother would shop once a month. My mother once a month and once a week. My wife and I (the ‘I’ is important because more and more men are shopping) almost daily. My kids? Time will tell. I’m generalising here, but there is a definate shift in how often people shop that is directly related to age. There are a number of factors, but for this post I’d just like to leave it as generational.

My point however is to ask what food retail stores are doing about this? Are the even noticing it? One would think they have the systems. But I’m not convinced. I’m not convinced because they haven’t moved the bread and mil from the back to the front. If they understood or noticed the shopping frequency shift then surely they would have made the move by now? Perhaps they’re hoping that today’s younger set will change their shopping patterns? I don’t think so. If one considers the rise in ‘garage shops’ then you begin to understand how big the Xer market is. I have no evidence to back this up, but I’d suggest that if you want to know who ‘owns’ Gen X from a food retail perspective, then it’s the local garage shop. Bread and milk are easily accesible. And so are a host of other little bits and pieces Xers might need for dinner and breakfast, and if they’re planning long term, then for lunch the following day as well.
Something as simple and basic as bread and milk will take Xers from bigger stores where it’s kept way far in the back, to smaller more convinient stores where the back is the front (or close enough if you stretch a little)
Food for thought? I think so!

TomorrowToday Global