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How We Eat

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How We Eat

The Brave New World of Food and Drink

Simon & Schuster,

15 min read
8 take-aways
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What's inside?

The food industry is transforming and may render today’s grocery shopping experience obsolete. 

Editorial Rating



  • Visionary
  • Background
  • Engaging


How people purchase and eat food is undergoing a massive shift, writes Paco Underhill. Consumers increasingly crave local foods whose growing cycles they can predict and honor. They prefer open-air farmers markets, which allow them to connect with their communities as they restock their kitchens and to feel they’re purchasing nourishing ingredients that align with their ethics. These developments, combined with farmers’ responses to global threats such as climate change and digital technologies that expand shopping possibilities, mean supermarkets could soon find themselves obsolete.


Consumer demands for smaller, more local food options will disrupt supermarkets.

The typical supermarket shopping experience is probably not the most inspiring part of your day. Many supermarkets operate in strip mall-type spaces, featuring big box shops and a huge, crowded parking lot, designed to cram in as many cars as possible. Today, the experience of navigating already-crowded parking lots has become even more complex, as now many supermarkets reserve spaces for customers who bought their groceries online and are merely picking them up at the store. While you’re shopping, it’s doubtful you’ll see anything novel or compelling. But your shopping experience could change dramatically soon, as new consumer expectations and crises such as climate change reshape the future of food.

In an age when consumers can buy practically anything with the click of a button, people are gaining awareness of the life cycles of their food through digital technology. This growing awareness prompts many to demand more socially conscious and environmentally friendly options. Consumers will likely witness the disruption of supermarkets and the...

About the Author

Founder of the global research and consulting firm Envirosell, Inc. Paco Underhill wrote the books Why We BuyThe Call of the Mall, and What Women Want. He has written articles for, or been profiled by, titles including The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalThe Washington PostThe New Yorker, and Smithsonian Magazine

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