Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Why Safeway's blueberry pricing is a problem

It may seem mad to write a second post about the price of blueberries in Adams Morgan. Nonetheless, there's a point to be made.

To recap:

At Harris Teeter on Kalorama Road and Giant in Columbia Heights you can buy two pints of blueberries for $5.00 and $4.99 respectively, or about 15.5 cents per ounce.

The Safeway on Columbia Road was selling blueberries this weekend at two six ounce packages for $3.99 per package or 66.5 cents per ounce.

The latest:

Tuesday night the price of blueberries at Safeway was $6.99 per pint or 43.6 cents per ounce.

In sum, it will cost you $14 to buy two pints of blueberries at Safeway but if you shop at Harris Teeter or Giant you will pay $5 for two pints, a $9 difference.

One of the reasons why the eating habits of people is an issue in urban areas is because stores such as Safeway overprice the food products that people should be buying.

It's also why the idea of a 1 cent tax per ounce on soda was a bad idea.

The soda tax doesn't fix anything if the stores are discounting junk food (which I suspect) at the expense of healthy food. The margins are probably higher on junk food, and the stores know that people interested in buying blueberries, especially for health reasons, will bear the price.

Government can't really regulate pricing for food products. It can tax soda that has sugar in it but that doesn't encourage healthy eating habits, it just steers them away from certain kinds of beverages. Maybe a better approach is to ask more from our stores.

Safeway can do more to promote healthy eating by discounting, or at least pricing fairly, those foods that are essential or at least a contributor to good health, such as blueberries.

This is an issue of corporate responsibility, which is in short supply after the financial industry mortgage disaster and the BP oil leak.

If Safeway wants to do a little good, then it can set a price on blueberries that at least meets the competition.

1 comment:

  1. Just went to the Kingstowne Safeway and the price was $9.99! No kidding for a pint. Yes, they are good for me, but not that good.