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    CNBC ‘Supermarkets Inc.’ Documentary Set to Air Jan. 27

    Giant Eagle, others to be featured in segment probing “$500 billion money machine.”

    Giant Eagle’s flagship Market District store in suburban Pittsburgh – which was profiled as Progressive Grocer’s Store of the Month in its April 2010 issue -- and Whole Foods will be among the featured supermarkets profiled in an upcoming CNBC documentary -- “Supermarkets Inc: Inside a $500 Billion Money Machine” -- set to air will air on Thursday, Jan. 27  at 9 p.m. ET.

    Correspondent Tyler Mathisen is the host of the segment, which the business and financial news network says will analyze “the typical modern American supermarket [which] stocks 48,000 items, each battling for precious shelf space. How do they get there? Why are they arranged the way they are?” Mathisen “will go inside the neighborhood supermarket and explore an industry that is using every device in its arsenal to learn as much as it can about you—watching, trailing and analyzing your shopping habits in ways you never imagined.”

    During the segment, CNBC travels to Pittsburgh to go behind the scenes of Giant Eagle’s Market District store in Robinson Township, Pa., which CNBC describes as being “three times the size of a typical grocery store. Mathisen speaks with the store manager and uncovers the stunning logistical ballet required to stock 65,000 products and run one American grocery store for one day.”

    CNBC will also visit 300-store retailer Whole Foods, which the network says “may only be a fraction of the size and market share of some of its competitors, but its influence on the industry and its commercial success have been immense.” The network says it “goes inside this Austin-based company to show how it’s become the benchmark for the entire $500 billion supermarket industry – and follows the trail of salmon from the icy waters of Alaska to the Whole Foods fish department.”

    The segment will also take “viewers to the frontlines: the supermarket shelves. The battle for space never ends, whether it’s an established brand of laundry detergent scrambling to keep its product appealing, or a start-up beverage maker fighting to squeeze in next to the Coca-Cola’s and Pepsi’s of the world. In every aisle of every supermarket, it’s the commercial equivalent of war—with the winner receiving a share of the 1.5 billion dollars Americans spend on groceries every day.”

    A press release promoting the documentary also sets the program up for supermarket shoppers as being a part of “the largest and longest running psychological experiment in history. From the minute you enter the store, you are the target not only of old-fashioned salesmanship, but high-tech tools designed to track and entice you into buying more. Did you know that stores put milk at the end of the aisle so shoppers are forced to pass hundreds of other items on their way to get it -- or that the bakery and produce departments are often located near the entrance because they have the best aroma and are the most visually appealing? The competition is fierce and retailers are doing whatever they can to gain an edge in a cutthroat business built on razor-thin margins.”

    Also profiled in the segment will be Cheryl Sommer, “a passionate Santa Fe businesswoman running one of the few remaining independent, neighborhood grocery stores, struggling to survive in an industry crowded with huge supermarket chains and big box retailers like Wal-Mart.”

    For more information including slideshows and web extras, visit supermarketsinc.cnbc.com.

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