There are about 320 000 food and beverage products available in the US and an average supermarket carries
30 000-40 000 of them!
According to Marion Nestle in her book, What to Eat, supermarkets want you to get confused by all this choice- it forces you to wander the aisle, picking up foods that aren't on your grocery list.
Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating, agrees: "The longer we end up lingering in a grocery store the more we end up buying".
This is why the the frozen foods are not at the entrance of the grocery store- if we bought them first, we'd rush through the rest of the grocery store and not buy as much.
As Nestle points out, supermarkets are businesses- not social service agencies providing food for the hungry.
Here are some other sneaky supermarket stunts:
Highest-selling products-preishables like meat, dairy, frozen foods- are generally against the back or side walls- no need to put them in front cause they know you'll seek them out. There's also the greatest traffic flow along the periphery.
Nearest the entrance are the high-profit articles- flowers, produce, freshly baked bread, sushi...
High-profit center-aisle foods are generally placed 60 inches above the floor, easily seen by adults. Products made to attract kids can be found at their eye level.
Store brands are generally placed to the right of high-traffic items since people read from left to right- that way the store brands get noticed.
Displays at the end of the aisles are generally saved for high-profit and heavily-advertised products- likely to be bought on impulse.
Aren't they sneaky?
Sources:Nestle, M. What to Eat. North Point Press, 2006.
Wansink, B. Mindless Eating: Why we eat more than we think. Bantam: 2006.