By Michale Hemmingway, Quilt staff
DATELINE: SATICOY STREET
Customers shopping for groceries in a local West Valley supermarket are mystified by a large section of Aisle 4 dedicated to beverage pods, or K-Cups.
The area measures approximately eight feet long by six feet tall and represents forty-eight square feet of “facing,” a retail industry term for the front edge of a shelf where packages are lined up to represent a largely solid wall of available product.
Shoppers at Food 4 Less, a warehouse-type discount supermarket located at Winnetka and Saticoy, in the bustling Winneticoy neighborhood, generally glance at the overwhelming display with a brief look of befuddlement before pushing their carts along to find the significantly less expensive, more cost-efficient coffee products they’ve always bought.
“Forty-eight square feet of shelval space is enormous in the grocery business,” says Dr. Morris Detzer, Pierce College Winnetka professor of supermarketological studies. “The section in question actually has a dozen shelves, which translates into 96 linear feet of retail real estate. Considering the economic demographics of the area where this particular store is located, it’s amazing they’d dedicate so much space to K-Cups.”
'K-Cup' is the trademarked name for small individual plastic ‘pods’ filled with ground coffee or other mixes used by the Keurig brewing system — a high-end beverage machine popular among homeowners with granite counter tops, oversize kitchen islands and subway tile backsplashes — that forces water through the pod to produce hot drinks at the touch of a button.
|Food 4 Less's breathtaking K-Cup display. Click to see actual size, almost. Staff photo.
“I only sold one box of hot chocolate [K-Cups] in all the time that section’s been there,” admits cashier Isabela Martell. “And the lady came back later and returned it because she thought it was something else.”
“You told us and we listened,” says Brendan Hirsch, director of Dubious Marketing Decisions at Kroger, Food 4 Less’s parent company. “We’ll be removing the K-cup section next quarter and replacing it with something better suited to our largely Hispanic working class customer base.
“Get ready for row after row of cauliflower rice-infused, ube-flavored, chia-speckled, kambucha-brewed coconut molasses, Winnetka! Yes — sold in Mason jars!”