Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Grocery Debaucle

The bulk bins at Whole Foods, an important part of a natural food store
Electronic price tags at Whole Foods.

This weekend, I went to two uptown grocery stores, Whole Foods, a nationwide grocery chain, and Langenstein's, the epitome of a local grocery store, with just two locations, both in New Orleans. Whole Foods is a very sophisticated natural food store. They take pride in having high-quality, natural products available nationwide, unlike most other natural food stores, but still with an emphasis on local products. Most Whole Foods are fairly large, with a very large variety of products, and this Whole Foods is no exception. They have everything you could expect in a grocery store, from local produce, to organic pharmacy products to a full service deli and bakery. Whole Foods is very expensive in general, and so it generally caters to a higher income clientele (In New Orleans Whole foods is located Uptown and in Metarie).
Freshly made food at Whole Foods

Langenstein's is a very different kind of grocery store. Though they are a more upscale grocery store than some, Langensteins does not carry the same kind of products that can be found at Whole Foods. At Whole Foods, all product are naturally produced, and generally not the kinds of name brands you would find at Target or Walmart, such a Jif peanut butter or Clorox bleach or even Coca-Cola. At Langenstein's, it is possible to find all of these brands, which are thought to be less natural or "good for you." Whole foods and other "health food" grocery store instead carry organic brands and, in the case of Whole Foods, even have their own generic line, called 365. People usually think of Whole foods as being a very expensive place to buy groceries, which in comparison to a store like Target or Walmart is true. On the other hand, independent grocery stores such as Langenstein's or larger ones such as Rouse's can be nearly as expensive as Whole Foods. Whole Foods and Langenstein's cater to two different audiences, but both being very far uptown are somewhat similar in catering to a fairly wealthy shopper, despite their differences.

 The Lobster tank at Langenstein's

 Freshly made food at Langenstein's

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