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The New Supermarket: Not Your Mother's Grocery Store

Today's markets emphasize quality, variety, and convenience.

Convenience at the New Supermarket continued...

Supermarkets and food companies have answered this call for convenience by selling ready-to-eat items, like rotisserie chickens, deli salads, salad-in-a-bag (many even include the croutons and dressing), presliced apples, ready-to-bake or ready-to-eat pizzas, and prepared gourmet dishes. Many markets have help-yourself salad bars, fruit bars, olive bars, sandwich bars, and hot entrée bars.

Need to pack bag lunches in the morning? It's a snap with individually wrapped items like presliced fruit, cut-up veggies with dip, snack bars, and preportioned cookies and crackers.

Of course, the ultimate in convenience is one-stop shopping. And if you think about it, the modern grocery store is really 10 stores in one. When you enter a supermarket in most any city in America, it's like going to a sandwich shop, a Starbucks, a pharmacy, a restaurant, a bank, a bookstore, a bakery, a florist, a liquor store, and a movie rental store -- all in one place.

Prices at the New Supermarket

While all this quality, variety, and convenience often comes at a price, bargain shoppers don't have to be left out.

Some of the big supermarket chains now offer offering "premium" house brand items, with exotic flavors or organic ingredients.

And there's at least one supermarket chain whose focus is offering unusual gourmet food items at bargain prices. At Trader Joe's, $50 will buy you bags full of groceries. But you won't find many of the items sold there at other stores -- the vast majority are the Trader Joe's store brand.

This is a dream supermarket for college students or young adults, because it has lots of "hip" convenience items like Middle-Eastern-flavored veggie burgers and frozen Thai appetizers -- but with an eye on cost. Although the company is based in California, you can find Trader Joe's stores all over the United States.

Recipes Inspired by Supermarket Dishes

Here are some recipes inspired by some of the interesting prepared dishes I found in supermarkets near me:

Grilled Corn With Cilantro Butter

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as 1 cup vegetables with 1 tsp. fat

6 large ears of corn, husks removed
2 tablespoons whipped butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

  • Preheat barbecue to medium-high heat. Coat ears lightly with canola cooking spray.
  • Grill corn until tender and charred in spots (about 10 minutes).
  • Add the cilantro and whipped butter to a small cup and stir with fork to blend well.
  • When corn is ready, remove the ears from grill and spread a teaspoon of cilantro butter all over the outside of each ear.

Yield: 6 servings

Per serving: 156 calories, 4 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat, 1.8 g saturated fat, 1.2 g monounsaturated fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 7 mg cholesterol, 3.5 g fiber, 47 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 21%.

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