December 22, 2004

Average Supermarket Size Decreases

"Driven by a robust growth in target market segments — such as natural/organic, ethnic and gourmet stores — the average size of a supermarket in the U.S. decreased to 34,000 feet in 2003, taking the size of new stores below 40,000 for the first time in 10 years, according to a new study by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI)," FMI announced.

Good news indeed. Yes, superstores can be useful, but having fewer, larger grocery stores means that more people have to get in their cars and drive, even just to pick up some bread and milk. And that's a pity.

Here in north Framingham, we've lost at least three food stores since I've been here -- the old Round-up in the Saxonville Walgreen's Plaza, Purity in Pinefield and most recently Countryfare in Nobscot. Being able to walk to a supermarket was an important plus when I bought my house, but now it's either walking to an expensive convenience store (with no meat or produce), or the car (more than half an hour each way isn't really practical).

I grew up being able to walk to two supermarkets and a deli, and my mom could send my sister & I out for milk, bread and sandwich meat beginning when I was fairly young. Kids lose something when they don't have that kind of independence to run errands themselves.

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