Supermarket Stretching

Great news from Maine: In her Diner’s Journal blog, Julia Moskin wrote about a local grocer that finds a way to use up most of what it stocks. Oh, those frugal Mainers!

Moskin’s reported details on Rosemont Markets, a kind of outtake from her piece on Portland’s food scene, seem so obvious in hindsight:

When the local concord grapes on the shelf are past their prime, they go into the commissary kitchen and come out as Zippy Grape Jam. Bananas turning brown? They are peeled, dipped in chocolate, and sold frozen — and local kids eat them by christaface via creative commons

Quite a few supermarkets do some repurposing. Many places–even Costco!–turn rotisserie chicken into chicken salad. But I’ve not seen any store do it as creatively as Rosemont (and I’d love to hear about some of their other tricks).

There are many, many opportunities for supermarkets to use goods they won’t sell. For instance, stuff that’s reached its “sell-by” date. With more and more grocers making prepared foods, hopefully this trend will flourish. It would seem to be in a market’s bottom line interests to stretch their foods. 

Yet, repurposing does require time from one or more of the store’s workers. The three other barriers that prevent most places from doing so (and must be overcome): 

1. Lack of imagination

2. Lack of time/effort

3. The fear of anything not perfectly fresh and the subsequent banishment to the trash. 

(Hat Tip: Serious Eats and Diana Foss)

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