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(The Consumerist)   The reason why milk is located in the back of the grocery store? It's not as obvious as you think   ( consumerist.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Planet Money, grocery stores, shelf life  
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31054 clicks; posted to Main » on 28 Jul 2014 at 4:31 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-28 08:27:19 AM  

rooftop235: Land_of_the_Magic_Dragon: rooftop235: There is more conversation over the placement of milk than there is over the fact that milk causes cancer.

http://www.naturalnews.com/035081_pasteurized_milk_cancer_dairy.html

The hormones they are concerned about are found in every glass of milk regardless of source.

Yeah. Hormones are a big thing in early development in boys in and girls.
/Used to work at TG Lee and hung out with a couple of the lab folks who did QC on the amount of BGH that was in the tanks.
These days I do corporate events and doctors meetings. Pretty interesting how the chemicals in milk and other foods play out over twenty years.

/we will all have cancer.


The reason kids hit puberty faster isn't hormones. It's the thousands of calories that we eat compared to the amount are ancestors ate.
 
2014-07-28 08:34:41 AM  

Ker_Thwap: There's no excuse for a consumer not to be informed these days.

I won't shop Ikea, because I'm not cattle, to be forced through a maze.  When the grocery store puts up those little chains across the closed aisles, I'll unhook them and go the shortest route to the item I need, rather than being forced to detour through the dairy/bakery/produce maze.

I understand that the end displays and eye level shelves are set up with the highest profit items.  I'm not a slave to name brands.  I don't have a favorite player in Ford vs. Chevy.  I know that family size is no longer the same as economy size.

I walked out of a guitar shop the other day, because they didn't list the prices, and force you to ask for a price on every single one.  I know the purpose of the $400 blender isn't to be sold, but to make the $200 overpriced blender to look reasonable in comparison.

So TLDR version: If you can't walk to the back of a store, grab a gallon of milk, and walk to the register without being "tricked" into buying other items, you're a colossal fool.


You mean the chains they use to be a deterrent to shoplifters and also let the dummies know that the register isn't open?  I
 
2014-07-28 08:34:48 AM  

mr_a: And the reason that bread is always on the opposite side of the store from the milk is so the warm bread doesn't heat up the milk, right?


Actually, there is one store in my area that has the bread right next to the milk.

/Of course, it's a Dollar General, which doesn't have a walk-in cooler, so they can put their freezers anywhere they like.
 
2014-07-28 08:39:17 AM  

Doc Batarang: Radak: Yeah, I always figured it was at the back because of delivery access.

Now, department stores, on the other hand?  Those layouts are  evil.

Well they do department stores like that because of ghosts.


This actually explains quite a bit to me now.
 
2014-07-28 08:44:31 AM  
I just figured that was where they kept the cows...
img.fark.net
 
2014-07-28 08:45:54 AM  
Would have been intetesting if they'd discovered milk was lactated in the back of the grocery store. Considering how awful sour milk smells, no wonder it's mostly shelved in a pass-through fridge, leaving errant drips, spills and breaches refrigerated.
 
2014-07-28 08:45:57 AM  
Obama soured my milk and now I have to walk all the way to the back of the store to replace it.  Thanks, Obama!

/skim milk is the devil's work
 
2014-07-28 08:49:39 AM  
crispyclicks.com
 
2014-07-28 09:02:45 AM  

theflatline: You mean the chains they use to be a deterrent to shoplifters and also let the dummies know that the register isn't open? I


Yes, those chains.  I put them back when I'm done.  I suppose if anyone ever complained to me, I could just MOOO at them.
 
2014-07-28 09:08:24 AM  
Well, this is obvious except for one thing: most stores don't have walk-in dairy coolers these days. The products are sold from open front refrigerated racks and stored in walking coolers in the warehouse. They must be transported from the latter to the former, so the sales coolers can be placed anywhere. Yet, they are still always at the back and sides of the stores.
 
2014-07-28 09:08:55 AM  

Ker_Thwap: There's no excuse for a consumer not to be informed these days.

I won't shop Ikea, because I'm not cattle, to be forced through a maze.  When the grocery store puts up those little chains across the closed aisles, I'll unhook them and go the shortest route to the item I need, rather than being forced to detour through the dairy/bakery/produce maze.


Ikea isn't a grocery story.  I go there maybe once a year so when I do go I kinda want to see most of their merchandise. There are shortcuts through the store for the terminally impatient however I don't think anyone has ever gotten a call "Hey honey, on the way home from work, pop into Ikea and pick up a Dagstorp and couple Flärdfulls for me."

No, the thing that is absolutely maddening at Ikea is the insanely long checkout lines.
 
2014-07-28 09:09:06 AM  

MaudlinMutantMollusk: Yes... it is that obvious


Nothing is obvious to a consumerist reader or editor.

Ashamed to have given them a click, especially to see the 'article' is just a summary of an NPR podcast.
Maybe next time they need content, they can just post a picture then write an article describing it.  Worth a thousand words, or less if you are lazy.
 
2014-07-28 09:11:00 AM  

timujin: Having not read the entire thread, just the first few comments, it appears that I'm not that only one who found the answer to be completely obvious.  Efficiency.  You find the milk at the back of the store because they load it straight from the cooler into the back of the chilled shelves.  The cooler needs to be in the back of the store to be close to where the food gets delivered.

/okay, sometimes, but rarely, the side


I learned from Cecil Adams that there are basically two reasons things are done: 1. It's the cheapest way to do it. 2. It's the way it's always been done, and it's too costly to overcome the transition.

With those principles, the only thing left is to find the details That make a mockery of uneducated common sense.

Sample question: Why do hot dog buns and hot dogs come in different numbers in the packaging
 
2014-07-28 09:11:30 AM  
Subby has obviously never worked in a grocery store, talked to someone who has, or even SEEN a person has worked in a grocery store. As far as entering one, I;ll go out on a limb here and say that he's been in two of them...

Big Ramifications: 99% of grocery chains have biatchin' in-store air conditioners pumping. You just about need a jacket to go shopping on a 90 degree day. Is this article SERIOUSLY SUGGESTING a "shelf filler" walking 15 extra meters to the front of an air conditioned store is gonna affect the quality of milk? Hahaha.

Stores either do it for  a]  the main reason suggested here: maximizes customer browsing or  b]  it's a heavy biatch to transport by hand and to stock the shelves, and we sell truckloads of it daily, so fark it, let's put in near the delivery dock.


Those "biatchin' in-store air conditioners" aren't keeping the general tempo at 35 degrees, now are they? Milk coolers sure are. It would take half an hour to offload a pallet of milk, and you'd have a lot of warm milk there. And yeah, when milk gets warm, it spoils.

Or, they can keep it in the back, where it is offloaded, and throw 10-20 gallons straight onto the cooled shelves every once in awhile.
 
2014-07-28 09:12:45 AM  

JackieRabbit: Well, this is obvious except for one thing: most stores don't have walk-in dairy coolers these days. The products are sold from open front refrigerated racks and stored in walking coolers in the warehouse. They must be transported from the latter to the former, so the sales coolers can be placed anywhere. Yet, they are still always at the back and sides of the stores.


It does make some sense to keep the refrigerated perishables away from the warmer areas of the store; i.e. the front doors.
 
2014-07-28 09:13:10 AM  
Pinnacle Point:

It's about time this got around to what truly matters.
 
2014-07-28 09:13:26 AM  

mike_d85: The Voice of Doom: mr_a
And the reason that bread is always on the opposite side of the store from the milk is so the warm bread doesn't heat up the milk, right?

Well, there are also the ovens which are responsible for the warm bread and having the oven next to the fridges is bad design even for the kitchen at home...
But going by most of the shops that are a step above Aldi, I would say it's because
a) the dairy fridges are on the back or the side as the article says and
b) they've put in little bakeries near the entrance so you can pop in to get fresh rolls/cake/bread or a sandwich or a coffee without going through the store and waiting in line at a register behind someone buying two weeks worth of groceries; also, the bakery staff are the ones who restock the shelf with fresh bread and rolls throughout the day.

-------

Also, how often does it really happen that someone just needs to get some milk?
Maybe it's more common in the US, but I've never seen someone just buying milk or just milk and bread.

Going from the "just getting one thing" angle it would make more sense to put cigarettes, beer and booze at the back; but then again, the crowd going for (just) those things aren't likely to buy something else t the same time, e.g. teenagers stocking up on beer and cheetos on their way to a party Friday night are unlikely to get the vegetables and toilet paper from their parents' weekend shopping list while they're there.

I'd say the opposite is true.  Slightly toasted people have poor impulse control, are easily distracted, and will obsess.  So walking to the beer section, someone might walk past the chip aisle and go "Aww man, Doritos would be awesome!" and grab them.  Or (and sadly I have done this) grabbing a sixer on the way home from the bar "Hey! We should grill out!  I know it's 2am, but f*ck our neighbors I want food and Waffle House isn't here!"


Counterpoint: having to keep an eye on drunks to prevent shoplifting and or things being broken, misplaced, etc.
 
2014-07-28 09:16:49 AM  
Congratulations to the many FARKers who came here just to post that they knew this already. I salute your genius.
 
2014-07-28 09:19:31 AM  
i291.photobucket.com
 
2014-07-28 09:20:17 AM  

Road Rash: JackieRabbit: Well, this is obvious except for one thing: most stores don't have walk-in dairy coolers these days. The products are sold from open front refrigerated racks and stored in walking coolers in the warehouse. They must be transported from the latter to the former, so the sales coolers can be placed anywhere. Yet, they are still always at the back and sides of the stores.

It does make some sense to keep the refrigerated perishables away from the warmer areas of the store; i.e. the front doors.


And yet they usually have coolers with soft drinks, water, ice cream, etc. at the check out counters.... The open coolers are a tremendous waste of energy, but they accept this, since customers don't like the inconvenience of having to open a cooler door, when they can just grab what they want.

Everything about a supermarket's layout is about marketing and the higher the margin on a product, the more prominently it will be placed and the more space it will get. End-caps are the holy grail of product placement.
 
2014-07-28 09:24:01 AM  

Ker_Thwap: There's no excuse for a consumer not to be informed these days.

I won't shop Ikea, because I'm not cattle, to be forced through a maze.  When the grocery store puts up those little chains across the closed aisles, I'll unhook them and go the shortest route to the item I need, rather than being forced to detour through the dairy/bakery/produce maze.

I understand that the end displays and eye level shelves are set up with the highest profit items.  I'm not a slave to name brands.  I don't have a favorite player in Ford vs. Chevy.  I know that family size is no longer the same as economy size.

I walked out of a guitar shop the other day, because they didn't list the prices, and force you to ask for a price on every single one.  I know the purpose of the $400 blender isn't to be sold, but to make the $200 overpriced blender to look reasonable in comparison.



I walk out of shops with this policy.

As much as I would sometimes like to make them pay for wasting my time by wasting their salesperson's time, I realize it is a policy set by management and go shop elsewhere. My time is more valuable. Those places tend to be too expensive anyway - while not delivering anything of significantly greater 'value' other than the store's brand name.

/why do restaurants in airports listcprices for the food, but not for the booze?
//irritating ...
 
2014-07-28 09:28:40 AM  
The gas stations in my area specifically advertise you should buy milk from them because they keep the milk close to the register, and in a much smaller store.

The commercial is basically like an infomercial.  "Don't you hate walking all the way to the back of the grocery store, then all the way back to the register? It's like you've walked a mile just for the milk! Come to kwik-e-mart."

/their milk prices are actually less then the grocery store too.
//my favorite recent retail innovation is that Wal-Mart now displays Unit pricing on their stickers (ie price per ounce) which makes it easy to see what the best deal is. (it's not always the bulkiest container)
///was told their would be no math.
 
2014-07-28 09:34:38 AM  
Oh, that explains why the local grocery has it at the entrance side of the store, a bit further back. Lines up perfectly with the loading/unloading area.
 
2014-07-28 09:35:55 AM  
i like to place my kid friendly stuff low on the rack so they can badger their parents when they see it from the cart. I also sell more cake that's on sale if I put it by the meat section. I used to be key to be by dairy but not anymore. Perhaps it's because everybody that buys my cake tends to buy some sort of meat.
 
2014-07-28 09:37:14 AM  

cakeman: i like to place my kid friendly stuff low on the rack so they can badger their parents when they see it from the cart. I also sell more cake that's on sale if I put it by the meat section. I used to be key to be by dairy but not anymore. Perhaps it's because everybody that buys my cake tends to buy some sort of meat.


Well yeah. How can you have any pudding if you won't eat your meat?
 
2014-07-28 09:38:49 AM  
The highest gross profit in the grocery store comes from Fresh Products (produce, meat, bakery,etc). That's why they are at the enterance of the store. The store wants you to make all of your impulse buys in this part of the store to drive the GP. Milk is in the far corner because the margins are usually low, it is a staple product and makes the customer walk through the store, picking up impulse items along the way, and being at the back of the store, it allows the case to be filled from the back, reducing shrink through implementing FIFO controls on date-sensitive inventory.
 
2014-07-28 09:42:19 AM  

mr_a: And the reason that bread is always on the opposite side of the store from the milk is so the warm bread doesn't heat up the milk, right?


the in store bakery is at the entrance (or near the entrance) so that the smell of fresh bread will make you buy half the store... yes.  But, it's also because you don't put ovens near the refirgerators if you care at all about keeping cold stuff cold without ruining your bottom line witl electricity bills.
 
2014-07-28 09:43:47 AM  

Road Rash: Ker_Thwap: There's no excuse for a consumer not to be informed these days.

I won't shop Ikea, because I'm not cattle, to be forced through a maze.  When the grocery store puts up those little chains across the closed aisles, I'll unhook them and go the shortest route to the item I need, rather than being forced to detour through the dairy/bakery/produce maze.

I understand that the end displays and eye level shelves are set up with the highest profit items.  I'm not a slave to name brands.  I don't have a favorite player in Ford vs. Chevy.  I know that family size is no longer the same as economy size.

I walked out of a guitar shop the other day, because they didn't list the prices, and force you to ask for a price on every single one.  I know the purpose of the $400 blender isn't to be sold, but to make the $200 overpriced blender to look reasonable in comparison.


I walk out of shops with this policy.

As much as I would sometimes like to make them pay for wasting my time by wasting their salesperson's time, I realize it is a policy set by management and go shop elsewhere. My time is more valuable. Those places tend to be too expensive anyway - while not delivering anything of significantly greater 'value' other than the store's brand name.

/why do restaurants in airports listcprices for the food, but not for the booze?
//irritating ...


I like wasting their time. I just low-ball the fark out of them. I do the same to car places without a price.

"Name a price."
"$5"
"Name a real price."
"$5 is a real price if you sell it to me for $5."
 
2014-07-28 09:44:11 AM  
There was a grocery store by my house, called Knob Hill Farms, that at its time, was the largest grocery store in all of Canada (superstores didn't exist back then).  Instead of truck deliveries, it had a dedicated train rail going right into the store.  Me and my dad measured it once, and it took 1.2km of walking from the main doors to get milk and go back to the checkout.
 
2014-07-28 09:46:01 AM  
And now, this is all that remains of Knob Hill Farms:

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2014-07-28 09:47:22 AM  

TheMega: some grocery chains wouldn't have a small dairy cooler at the front of the store for people who need milk and are in a huge hurry

And they don't!

Been in stores from Fl to NY, to VA to WY.. Dakotas to TX.. WI to NV.. even up in Canada;  have NEVER seen a store do this. Always at the back of the store, yet the meat section - which oddly enough is also in a cold, refrigerated cooler or display, is ALWAYS much closer.
Of course the meats are closer to the deli, so when the meat expire and go bad, they snatch up the bad stuff, take them to the deli and make "fresh" meals to sell at 3 times the price it would have sold when fresh. (two can play the BS game)

The fake media BULLSHIAT they come up with...


Branchburg, NJ Shoprite.
Bridgewater, NJ Wegmans.

Both have gallons of milk right next to the registers (although the ShopRite seems to be doing an experiment, and sometimes that small cooler has other stuff than milk in it...
 
2014-07-28 09:48:47 AM  

rooftop235: There is more conversation over the placement of milk than there is over the fact that milk causes cancer.

http://www.naturalnews.com/035081_pasteurized_milk_cancer_dairy.html

[stealherstyle.net image 500x333]


Exagerate much?

That's not quite what the study was saying...
 
2014-07-28 09:53:17 AM  
This is basically the reason why most of America does not get Braum's Milk.
 
2014-07-28 09:54:00 AM  
There is no news here.  About the only thing I could add that also makes sense is that the coolers should be as far away from the front door as possible.  Every time you open the door, you are letting the cool air out, and warm air in.  Obviously the air nearer the front door is not as controlled as the air at the far back.
 
2014-07-28 09:56:45 AM  

robohobo: Doc Batarang: Radak: Yeah, I always figured it was at the back because of delivery access.

Now, department stores, on the other hand?  Those layouts are  evil.

Well they do department stores like that because of ghosts.

Who goes to department stores anymore? So many online options, many without ridiculous taxes. Seriously, Craigslist alone has so so many desperate folk, and you can find just about anything.


Some folks are tactile. They want to hold it, try it on, see it in person.

I think there will always be physical stores...
 
2014-07-28 09:57:36 AM  

JonnyBGoode: In other news, water is wet.

[img.fark.net image 267x189]

Film at 11.


This has to be my favorite Ric Romero pic.
 
2014-07-28 09:58:06 AM  

TheMega: some grocery chains wouldn't have a small dairy cooler at the front of the store for people who need milk and are in a huge hurry

And they don't!

Been in stores from Fl to NY, to VA to WY.. Dakotas to TX.. WI to NV.. even up in Canada;  have NEVER seen a store do this. Always at the back of the store, yet the meat section - which oddly enough is also in a cold, refrigerated cooler or display, is ALWAYS much closer.
Of course the meats are closer to the deli, so when the meat expire and go bad, they snatch up the bad stuff, take them to the deli and make "fresh" meals to sell at 3 times the price it would have sold when fresh. (two can play the BS game)

The fake media BULLSHIAT they come up with...


I live in Ohio. Most of the Kroger's around here have a cooler up front with 2%(real milk) in gallon size near the front door.
 
2014-07-28 10:05:09 AM  

rooftop235: There is more conversation over the placement of milk than there is over the fact that milk causes cancer.

http://www.naturalnews.com/035081_pasteurized_milk_cancer_dairy.html


Get outta here ya PETAnazi milk hater!!
 
2014-07-28 10:06:28 AM  

fusillade762: ginandbacon: Every once in a while I'll be reaching in to grab some cream and someone will be back there stocking my shelf and I almost infarct.

[25.media.tumblr.com image 720x405]


Came for Tina, leaving satisfied
 
2014-07-28 10:07:46 AM  

TheGogmagog: MaudlinMutantMollusk: Yes... it is that obvious

Nothing is obvious to a consumerist reader or editor.

Ashamed to have given them a click, especially to see the 'article' is just a summary of an NPR podcast.
Maybe next time they need content, they can just post a picture then write an article describing it.  Worth a thousand words, or less if you are lazy.


Not only that, they still farked it up... The verdict of the Planet Money show was that it was both reasons - to keep the milk cold and to get people to walk through the store. The Consumerist couldn't even summarize someone else's work without farking it up.

Planet Money is an excellent series. I'm a regular listener, and it's not only educational but entertaining as well. Well worth a few minutes each week.
 
2014-07-28 10:09:09 AM  
Turkey bowling.  You can get a nice long throw from meat to dairy.
 
2014-07-28 10:25:49 AM  

durbnpoisn: There is no news here.  About the only thing I could add that also makes sense is that the coolers should be as far away from the front door as possible.  Every time you open the door, you are letting the cool air out, and warm air in.  Obviously the air nearer the front door is not as controlled as the air at the far back.


Very sensible - I would have traded it for the inverse recently - one of the coolers at the grocery "went bad" - it was emitting some small amount of smoke and smelled like......burning plastic with a hint of diesel and metal and caused an immediate sharp head pain.
The floor staff seemed quite unconcerned ("yeah, we know, someone's gonna fix it") but the smell remained for days - I guess lack of ventilation

The same store also seems to attract birds who fly in and can't get back out
 
2014-07-28 10:33:19 AM  

moeburn: And now, this is all that remains of Knob Hill Farms:

[upload.wikimedia.org image 850x637]

And this is all that remains of it's founder.


scontent-a-lga.xx.fbcdn.net
 
2014-07-28 10:35:10 AM  

TheMega: some grocery chains wouldn't have a small dairy cooler at the front of the store for people who need milk and are in a huge hurry

And they don't!

Been in stores from Fl to NY, to VA to WY.. Dakotas to TX.. WI to NV.. even up in Canada;  have NEVER seen a store do this. Always at the back of the store, yet the meat section - which oddly enough is also in a cold, refrigerated cooler or display, is ALWAYS much closer.
Of course the meats are closer to the deli, so when the meat expire and go bad, they snatch up the bad stuff, take them to the deli and make "fresh" meals to sell at 3 times the price it would have sold when fresh. (two can play the BS game)

The fake media BULLSHIAT they come up with...


My local Wegmans does it. Milk, eggs, and a few other things that people normally have to head back to the dairy section at the back of the store to get, right near the checkouts.
 
2014-07-28 10:38:16 AM  

katerbug72: moeburn: And now, this is all that remains of Knob Hill Farms:

[upload.wikimedia.org image 850x637]


And this is all that remains of it's its founder.

[scontent-a-lga.xx.fbcdn.net image 453x604]

/goddammitsomuch
 
2014-07-28 10:59:18 AM  
not sure if this has been answered or not, what about over seas in Germany they stock their milk at room temperature.
 
2014-07-28 11:07:24 AM  

Flab: mr_a: And the reason that bread is always on the opposite side of the store from the milk is so the warm bread doesn't heat up the milk, right?

the in store bakery is at the entrance (or near the entrance) so that the smell of fresh bread will make you buy half the store... yes.  But, it's also because you don't put ovens near the refirgerators if you care at all about keeping cold stuff cold without ruining your bottom line witl electricity bills.


The two supermarkets I frequent have the bread baking far from the front door, but near the deli counter, which also needs to be kept cold-so not sure energy conservation is really all that important.

Bottom line- whatever store I go to, and whatever the arrangement, if there are more than 3 things on my shopping list, guaranteed that I will cover the whole store to get them.
 
2014-07-28 11:10:41 AM  
Nah, that's actually pretty obvious.
 
2014-07-28 11:26:06 AM  

moeburn: There was a grocery store by my house, called Knob Hill Farms. . .


1.2 km to get to the milk and back?

img.fark.net
 
2014-07-28 11:31:57 AM  
I don't mind walking to the back of the store. shiat, if a person goes to a huge supermarket just for milk, then they deserve the walk. Grab a handbasket and grab a few things you're gonna need anyway.
 
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