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What’s Shaping Your Grocery Shopping Habits?

These days, people are shopping more than usual throughout the year. It is no bad thing then to take a closer look at that shopping behaviour during this economic crisis.

Kate Martignie writes about how our social routines and our physical environments shape our grocery shopping habits and nudge us in our buying decisions. Once you see these influences at work in your life, you’ll be able to respond to them in more deliberate ways rather than just being prompted by them without realising it.

She intends our grandchildren to grow up connected to their food supply and liberated from the consumer economy. When they learn about the destructive mono-cultures and global-corporate supply chains that supplied the supermarkets we relied upon, they’ll wonder what we were thinking.

Reducing our supermarket reliance means we can spend less, live better, and tread more lightly on the earth. But food sovereignty at local and community levels has taken such a massive beating that it will only be re-built by a million small initiatives and shifts in our thinking, values, and habits.

She says:

We know that most of the stuff on supermarket shelves is not great for your health, and that it’s terrible for the health of ecosystems, farming communities, and local economies.

On top of that, we can see food prices rising as packets and bottles get smaller (or their contents do). And then there’s the skyrocketing cost of the fuel required for driving to the supermarket.

Quite aside from the questions of health and ethics, as food and fuel prices continue to rise it makes less and less sense to drive to the supermarket frequently.

Photo by Michael Burrows on

Items on supermarket shelves that our grandparents never heard of or imagined have become “necessities” today because of shared ideas that nobody is questioning.

Most of those shared ideas, if not all of them, were planted in the public psyche over the last 100+ years by clever, manipulative marketing.

Who runs the marketing campaigns? Profit-focused corporations. Not health-focused. Not ethics-focused. Profit-focused.

We supermarket customers for the most part are good, caring, conscientious people who don’t intend any of the unhappy consequences that come attached to our choices as consumers.

We’re just trying to get along, pay the rent or the mortgage, and raise reasonably healthy, happy, responsible kids.

We’re often unaware of the consequences of our buying choices, because this information is hidden. It takes extraordinary effort and diligence to continually work at parting the veil to get to the real story.

If you can, eat a decent meal before you go shopping. At least have a snack that wont spike your blood sugar and then leave you feeling hungry an hour later. The last thing you want to be feeling as you push that trolley along the aisles is hunger or light-headedness.

Feed the kids too! And/or consider having healthy snacks for them in your handbag that you can reach for if you need to. If your child has a snack to much on, especially an interesting one that they don’t get very often, their hands will be occupied and they’ll be less interested in snatching things off the shelves.

Martignie warns us that everything about the way supermarkets are laid out and the ways the shelves are packed is designed to prompt us to buy.

Understanding why supermarkets are set up the way they are enables us to avoid falling for the trickery quite so easily. And seeing how our behaviours are linked together in our routines enables us to tweak our routines to support the kinds of behaviour change we want in our lives.


Please come to read:

  1. Ditching the Supermarket
  2. 3 Strategies to help you spend less at the supermarket
  3. Strategy 4 – to Help Parents Spend Less at the Supermarket
  4. Strategy #5 – What’s Shaping Your Grocery Shopping Habits?

Here are two short videos, (each a little over 2 minutes) and a short read (less than 2 minutes) about how supermarkets are designed, from a consumer advocacy website called, who suggest that we “make healthy skepticism a habit” in this commercialised world.

  1. Are You Being Super-Marketed at the Grocery Store? – video
  2. The Untold Truth About Grocery Stores! – video
  3. The Low-down on Super-Marketing – short post


Kate writes at about Ditching the Supermarket, changing how we think to change how we live, and practical skills for sustainable living.

Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

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