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AIBU to think that there is no need for seperate aisle sections in supermarkets for different ethnic foods?

(77 Posts)
winterhill Sat 01-Dec-12 11:24:48

In our Tesco we have an Asian section and a Polish section but surely instead of having a special aisle for these foods it could be incoprporated in the types of food section eg all the spices together rather than having some spices together and then the Asian spices in a different place Same with things like Polish biscuits and breads Why can't they just be in the biscuit and bread aisle?

StrawberryTot Sat 01-Dec-12 17:12:17

World obviously not work. Damn you autocorrect!

Viviennemary Sat 01-Dec-12 17:18:56

I think it makes it easier to find. The whole point of how they arrange things is to make things easier to find for most people. But they will never please everyone.

anothercuppaplease Sat 01-Dec-12 17:22:58

Spices are much cheeper in the 'world food' isle at tesco. But they now sell Heinz ketchup, other posh brand ketchup, spicy ketchup, tesco's own ketchup, best range ketchup, value range ketchup, reduced salt sugar ketchup, Turkish ketchup, Polish ketchup, Caribbean ketchup, chinese catsup, .......

NotGoodNotBad Sat 01-Dec-12 19:02:23

I did have trouble on one of those "price-up-your-fruit-and-veg" machines (they seem to have disappeared now?) when trying to weigh an aubergine. Turned out to be listed under "Exotic". Who knew aubergines were exotic? confused I guess that's the issue really isn't it, whether customers can find things.

winterhill Sun 02-Dec-12 17:15:21

snuffalufagus* how would I know what other things from 'home' were available without searching the whole shop?*
By going to the biscuit section for McVities, The tea and coffee section for PG Tips, The sauce aisle for HP (or whatever) of course.

Chippyinto It doesn't bother me in a way that I feel uncomfortable just wondering about the segeration of foods when at the end of the day a spice is a spice and it seems mad going the Shcwartz for some spices and then have to traipse back 3 or 4 aisles because the one that you want is Asian or whatever. Same with breads, dried beans and so on.
However some of the comments make sense about the big brand names having a lot of clout about what goes where.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 18:45:46

notgood - according to Morrisons, fennel is 'exotic'. My mum worked out she'd been paying the price for white onions for it for months as the lad on the till didn't know what the heck it was.

I like the separate aisle but I'd also love it if they'd put nuts and stuff in one place - at the moment there are nuts in with fruit and veg, nuts with snacks, nuts with 'ethnic', and nuts with baking. All different prices. I know it's meant to make me crack and buy the expensive one by mistake but it's just so fucking annoying I end up buying none.

Btw, beetroot horseradish sauce is the business.

GhostShip Sun 02-Dec-12 18:48:36

Because it's easier to find? I love the aisle with all the polish foods on it, always something new I want to try. I think in time it might be integrated.

exexpat Sun 02-Dec-12 18:57:18

I think they do it so that they can grab business from the small Indian/Caribbean/Polish grocers by offering some of their core lines cheaper, while at the same time charging their other consumers ridiculous prices for tiny packets of rice, lentils, coconut milk etc because it doesn't occur to them to look in the World Food (or whatever it is called) aisle.

It also plays to the impulse-buy shopper: if you are, say, Indian, and go in for a 10kg bag of rice, and right next to it are some snacks you miss from home, then you are much more likely to pick them up than if you had to go searching the whole supermarket for them.

I know that's what happened when I went to import-specialist supermarkets in Tokyo, looking for specific exotic British things like teabags and baked beans - I'd always come out with lots of things I'd forgotten existed and hadn't intended to buy, just because I spotted them displayed next to the things I was looking for.

exexpat Sun 02-Dec-12 18:59:04

Oh, and as a vegetarian, I would hate it if supermarkets started putting veggie burgers and sausages in with the meat equivalents - I avoid those aisles as much as possible, can't stand looking at cabinets full of dead animals.

Himalaya Sun 02-Dec-12 19:01:23

I think they also do it because it is a whole section. Some stores have a polish section, Asian brands section, Caribbean section etc... Others don't depending on the area, so you don't have to go round asking do you have callaloo, do you have mighty malt etc .

It's amazing the price difference between lentils, dried apricots etc... In the whole food section and in the "ethnic" section. Anything that finds its way into the "cooks special ingredients" section seems to have a 500% mark up.

YuleBritannia Sun 02-Dec-12 19:17:48

It's not just ethnic foods. You will find the Free From foods are separate but that makes it easier to look for something that's dairy-free or egg-free or gluten free. I'd rather go to these shelves than look along a whole aisle for gluten free biscuits.

The same idea might be applicable to those from ethnic minorities. Apart from that, some supermarkets also have a World Foods aisle and you'll find ethnic foods there sometimes.

YuleBritannia Sun 02-Dec-12 19:25:26

Oh. And sometimes the assistants you ask for help sometimes don't know what you are talking about. Yesterday, I asked someone filling shelves in the stationery section where I could find lever arch files. She didn't know what they were. When I did find them, I found her again and demonstrated the parts: lever - arch - file. She said, "Well I learn something every day." Not food related but .......

Oh and in a C&A (I will always remember this) I was in the men's department and asked an assistant where the waistcoats were. She didn't know what a waistcoat was.

Finding dariry-free and egg-free Easter eggs is a nightmare in Sainsbo's but Morrison's is good for them. Just saying ........

kim147 Sun 02-Dec-12 19:57:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

anothercuppaplease Mon 03-Dec-12 10:26:09

The problem for me is that you would find, say, 5 locations for hot sauce. In the regular spice section, in the Indian food section, in the Japanese food section, in the Caribbean section, in the Polish section. I once spent 15 minutes going through all those to find the hot chilli sauce I wanted. That doesn't make sense to me. Put all the hot chilli sauces together!

KenLeeeeeee Mon 03-Dec-12 10:29:41

My local supermarket just call it "World Food" which is very hmm to me. What is everything else in the shop classed as? Martian Food?

That said, I do like rummaging in those aisles for the bargains on spices and stuff. We got a massive bottle of soy sauce for just over a pound, and it was twice as big as the more expensive well-known brand.

sashh Mon 03-Dec-12 10:31:30

Why can't they just be in the biscuit and bread aisle?

Because they can charge different prices for essentially the same thing.

Next time you are in tesco pick up some cotton wool and Qtips in the baby aisle, then go round to the beauty isle. You will find the same products with slightly different packaging and in the beauty aisle it is more expensive.

Blu Mon 03-Dec-12 10:50:35

OP, do you consider this to be a political discussion or a consumers shopping convenience discussion?

There have been 'chinese' sections for ages where the stir fry sauces are next to the dried egg noodles and the prawn crackers.

In terms of convenience I prefer it this way, if I want chilli sauce it will be a bit different depending on whether it is Indian, chinese or thai chilli sauce.

It's useful to have the 'Free From' section where the gluten free stuff is with other allergy-friendly produce rather than alongside the bread and cakes, and I imagine people find it handy to have the Kosher and Halal shelves.

Presumably supermarkets do what their customers find most conducive to filling their trolleys, in which case market research will have suggested that in terms of mass preference YABU.

Or is it getting under your skin as in 'why can some people have their own shelf, harrumph?' ?

Blu Mon 03-Dec-12 10:51:39

Sash makes a v god point! Always worth checking the Caribbean shelves for red beans at lower prices, and the Indian shelves for dried pulses.

winterhill Mon 03-Dec-12 11:01:37

OP, do you consider this to be a political discussion or a consumers shopping convenience discussion?

No, not political at all.
I like cooking but don't like shopping much. I get fed up of traipising round a supermarket with a shopping list of new things I want to try - at the moment I'm doing a lot of Eastern European vegan menus, my last phase was Mexican.

I go to the, say dried beans section and think what I want isn't there and by chance find it on a different aisle or by my red lentils and find it somewhere else, aisles away, cheaper. I get it is a marketing ploy but stilll annoying.

You used the example of chilli sauces. Would it be so wrong if you went to where they sell chilli sauces all the different types of sauce would be there? It makes sense to me!

Theas18 Mon 03-Dec-12 11:07:15

I agree it'd make it a heck of a lot easier to find the cheapest option- eg cheap lentils are in " asian" rather than " wholefoods" sections!

Also I want to try polish mayo but it's it's not stacked with the hellmans I come out thinking " I mean to get that"!

winterhill Mon 03-Dec-12 11:14:09

My way of shopping now has been to go straight to the Asian supermarkets. I've been able to get everything I need cheaper than Tesco,Lidl or Aldi and still get Warburtons bread and PG Tips!

exexpat Mon 03-Dec-12 11:17:39

Ah, but supermarkets don't want you to be able to find the cheapest option easily - why else do you think they change their prices so often and do so many confusing promotions of 3-for-2, BOGOF, "half-price" (from an artificially inflated price only available on their website for three weeks), "big pack, better value" (but actually more expensive than buying smaller single packs) etc etc.

They may have lots of advertising slogans about helping you save money, but in reality that is the last thing they want to do. So having similar but very differently priced things in separate aisles makes much more sense for them. You didn't think supermarkets were actually arranged for customer convenience, did you? If so, why do they have the delicate, crushable fruit & veg as the first thing you walk through on your way in to the store? It's all about consumer psychology...

winterhill Mon 03-Dec-12 11:25:06


Yeah I know supermarkets aren't going to do anything to make shopping easier for us! I remember doing about supermarket psycology nerly 30 years ago at college!!
Still annoying!!!

SouthernComforts Mon 03-Dec-12 11:58:22

In my local Asda there is a world food aisle. Then there is a seperate fridge for halal meat. I love the world food aisle (I buy all my spices and rice there because for some reason it's a lot cheaper than than elsewhere in the shop)

samandi Mon 03-Dec-12 12:36:43

YANBU. It's quite annoying. You pick up rice from the rice section and then have to go to two other sections to check if it's cheaper there. Rice is rice for heaven's sakes. Coconut milk is in four different places. The prices change from week to week so you have to go to four different places to see which is cheaper. Same with fajita wraps, three different aisles.

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