Supermarket Savvy: Carts, Produce & the Halo Effect

by Chris Bjorklund

To shop smart in supermarkets, it helps to be aware of the latest marketing strategies. Laurel Pallock with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Consumer Fraud Unit says some stores are experimenting with shopping carts that have embedded chips that slow them down in specific aisles. “It’s such a subtle thing that people won’t even notice as they’re moving, but they’ll still be lingering a little longer at certain products.”

Also, watch out for what’s known as the “halo effect” in a supermarket’s produce department. Ms. Pallock says because consumers associate fresh fruits and vegetables with good health and quality, manufacturers want their products placed nearby, even if it’s packaged food. “You shouldn’t be surprised if you see more items like cheese or vegetable juices close to the fresh stuff. Manufacturers want you to see the lettuce and then run over to buy the croutons.”