Tag Archives: Environment

Global Cuisine in the Supermarket

Why do grocery stores still have an ethnic foods aisle? This seems out-of-date as an estimated 40% of Americans now identify as nonwhite. While some people think this is a racist label, others just find it confusing and makes it hard to find the foods they want.

The origin of the ethnic food aisle date back to the start of supermarkets in the early 1900s. Prior to the 1920s, shoppers visited several independent shops (butcher, baker, etc.) for different foods and supplies. In fact, some stores retrieved all items from the shelves for the consumer – the consumer didn’t shop, or roam down aisles looking for foods. A clerk did the shopping for them.

The first major self-service grocery supermarket was Piggly Wiggly in 1916, located in Memphis, Tenn. The growth of supermarkets and self-service shopping required that foods be organized by like items and tastes so they could be found in the store. Items needed for international cuisine dishes were therefore placed together so that the recipe items could be easily purchased.

Today, the ethnic food aisles seem to be a hodge-podge of items. There might be Chinese ingredients, fish sauces, Mexican spices, Korean noodles, African flour, and others all pulled together in a central place. Even in that format, many shoppers like the variety of the aisle, considering it a place to find new or unusual flavors.

Some stores such as Kroger have integrated global foods into every aisle and seen great success. Other stores prefer to keep items separate so that they can be highlighted differently.

What’s your opinion?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the evolution of grocery stores and shopping.
  2. Show a great video highlighting ethnic food aisle issues: https://youtu.be/4Q–YIt_0Hw
  3. For a longer exercise, divide students into teams and have them visit a local American supermarket. They can diagram aisles and take photos of shelves and foods.
  4. What are their observations about how and where more ethnic foods are stocked?
  5. How could ethnic foods be categorized in stores?

Source:  Business Insider; New York Times

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The Rise of Used Clothing Purchasing

There is no doubt that the pandemic changed shopping habits – both what we buy as well as how we buy. Work clothes such as suits and ties are trending down, and more relaxed and casual clothes are trending up. But that’s only part of the story. Sustainability in clothing is also on an upward trend.

To learn more about this, a survey by Adweek-Morning Consult surveyed 2,200 U.S. adults about where they buy clothing, and how they dispose of clothing they no longer want. Among the survey results findings was that 70% of Americans think sustainability is at least somewhat important when deciding how to get rid of unneeded clothing. And, 65% said that sustainability is at least somewhat important when selecting clothing to wear.

Other findings:

  • 79% have purchased used clothing at some point.
  • 20% buy used clothing most or all of the time.
  • 30% of Millennials buy used clothing most or all of the time.
  • 18% of Gen Z buy used clothing at least most of the time.
  • 72% of Gen Z and 74% of Millennials said sustainability was at least somewhat important.
  • 79% said they considered donating clothing as a sustainable option.
  • 59% felt selling clothing was sustainable.

While the numbers are promising, the proof is in the implementation for clothing companies. A recent agreement between Madewell and clothing resale platform thredUP aims to capitalize on this. Madewell (owned by J. Crew) will have a dedicated microsite the its website and will offer a curated selection of used (or ‘preloved’) Madewell jeans.

Old jeans can be brought to Madewell stores, which then assesses the condition of the clothes. If the clothing can live on, it is sold to someone. If the jeans are a little too worn to be sold, they are recycled into housing insulation through Blue Jeans Go Green. The lower price of Madewell jeans on the resales website also opens up sales to a market that is unable or unwilling to pay the high price of new jeans.

What did you buy lately?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What types of clothes do they buy? New or used? Where? Why?
  2. View thredUP’s 2021 resale report: https://www.thredup.com/resale/#resale-industry
  3. Show thredUP website: https://www.thredup.com/
  4. Show Madewell preowned site: https://madewellforever.thredup.com/
  5. Show Blue Jeans Go Green site: https://bluejeansgogreen.org/
  6. In teams, have students go to these websites and browse clothing items.
  7. Have them consider price, style, etc.
  8. Now that they have viewed resale websites, have their attitudes about buying and clothing changed?
  9. How can sustainability issues be addressed by other clothing manufacturers and retailers?

Source:  AdWeek

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Brands Embrace Earth Day 2021

The world’s first Earth Day events started in 1970; it was the 51st anniversary this year on April 22nd. Supporting environmental protection activities, Earth Day includes numerous events held around the globe. Last year more than 100 million people participated in what has been called one of the largest mass mobilizations ever! The climate demands our attention.

Many companies are using creative ways to get our focus on Mother Earth this year. Restaurant Panera is recognizing the growing use of biking during the pandemic and how Panera fits in by copying its signature bread bowl shape into a bicycle basket. The bike is olive green and the basket is bread-brown, making it easy to cart around foods and goods. Panera was the first chain to label its food to show carbon footprint as well as nutrition and calorie counts. According to the company “if every Panera customer ordered a Cool Food item on April 22 it would – compared to the average American diet – reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking more than 1,100 passenger vehicles off the road for one year.”

Another Earth Day event was burger chain Carl’s Jr. teaming up with Beyond Meat at one of Carl’s Jr. Los Angeles restaurant. It gave away free plant-based burgers and offered faux meat sandwiches for $5 via an email promotion. Carl’s Jr. already carries a Beyond Meat burger patty and has sold more than 12 million Beyond Meat burgers. The event was intended to draw in younger, flexitarian-diet customers. According to a University of Michigan research study, Beyond Meats “products need 46% less energy, generate 90% less greenhouse gas emissions than a standard beef patty, and have 99% less impact on water scarcity and 93% less impact on land use.”

How will you embrace the environment?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Quiz students on their knowledge of Earth Day: https://www.earthday.org/
  2. View video from the first Earth Day from CBS News: https://youtu.be/WbwC281uzUs
  3. Additional videos on YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkWeBkq4KGaN7N8PMWgfOLw
  4. Discuss the promotions being done by companies such as Panera and Carl’s Jr.,
  5. Panera video: https://youtu.be/uqcWXh2WqOc
  6. Beyond Meat’s site: https://www.beyondmeat.com/whats-new/go-beyond-this-earth-day/
  7. Students could also quickly research Earth Day news stories on their laptops and phones.
  8. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop an Earth Day advertisement for a product of their choice.
  9. What are the key messages?

Source:  Ad Week

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