Newark has been a city of rebranding itself as a “Food Oasis” since it has brought businesses like Shop Rite and Whole Foods to the city. These two images show a snippet of what consumers are shopping for in both locations. Newark may look like an oasis on paper, but for citizens that live here or work in the city shows how financially inclusive Whole Foods is and the promotion of an unhealthy diet at ShopRite.
These two pictures above were captured by myself on Friday April 5, 2018 and I chose that date specifically because that is first of the month. Women who qualify for a WIC license are given the money to grocery shop for the month so there are usually a lot of people at supermarkets in the city of Newark and it is also payday for others that are not in the WIC program. Therefore, I captured the image on the Left at Shoprite to show what consumers are usually buying there and the image on the right is from Whole Foods to show the exact same thing. Ideally it is to enlighten city officials that even though these businesses chose to reside in Newark it may not be benefiting the community as much as it is benefiting the city’s image.
Now let’s analyze the people that are at each of these two locations. The image on the left shows an African American man waiting to be rung up in the cashier line wearing more casual clothing showing he may not work in an office setting The cart in front of the man appears to have a baby in the front turning around most likely looking at her mother or relative based on the bun that can be seen behind the man in the forefront. The women behind the register is also African American as well as the women at the end who is most likely the bagger. One can assume that the neighborhood is mostly an African American neighborhood which would be correct. The people that tend to shop at ShopRite are working class people who have families that live in the city of Newark since the demographic of the city is mostly black.
To the right the image at Whole Foods shows a different demographic of people. The people in this image that are standing in line are wearing dress shoes are wearing a shirt and a shirt and tie. Which can be assumed that they work at the businesses nearby the downtown area. The cashier behind the counter happens to also be black which shows that the surrounding neighborhood is still mostly African American. These images show that there are two different people that are shopping at these locations. Business people tend to gravitate towards Whole Foods while the working class residents of the city who have children are choosing to shop at Shoprite.
Another aspect of the image that should be analyzed is what consumers are choosing to buy. At ShopRite consumers are choosing to buy more products as opposed to Whole Foods. If we look at the cart for the man in at ShopRite he has chosen to buy frozen dinners, a jug of what looks like it might be Sweet Tea, cookies, grape jelly, bananas, oatmeal, bread, and cheese. Most of the things in his cart do not contain any nutritional value besides the bananas everything else is processed, full of salt and sugar, and full of preservatives. This shows that even though Shoprite offers more financially accessible products consumers are still choosing to eat poorly. In Whole Foods consumers are not using Whole Foods for their grocery shopping needs, but to pick up lunch. Everyone in line is holding a box that contains the food from the pre-prepared table that they made a lunch out of. So even though consumers are buying more at ShopRite they aren’t buying nutritional food and at Whole Foods business men and women come there for lunch, but not necessarily to do grocery shopping.
The last point I would like to make is what is on display for last minute purchase. At Shoprite the left side of the picture there is a fridge full of soda and energy drink that do not offer any nutritional value and it does not quench your thirst if you are thirsty. At Whole foods to the left of the picture there is a plant protein smoothie mix made of coconuts and almonds that are being displayed as a last minute purchase. Almonds are a great source for protein and is it a much healthier alternative to soda but it is marketed at $16.99 for smoothie mix. which only further proves that consumers that are not as financially secure will be more likely not to buy a protein smoothie and that Whole Foods is not economical for most people. Judging by how full it is the business people are not jumping to buy it either at that price.
Newark may be a food oasis on paper, but it is not financially inclusive across the wide incomes at Whole Foods and promotes an unhealthy diet at ShopRite for the people that live and work in the city. The city is in need of a source that provides healthy food for an economical price, but these two options that are boasted about lack one or the other. Whole Foods offers organic produce without preservatives but are very expensive while ShopRite is more cost effective but does not provide health conscious offers like Whole Foods does. Whole Foods is not even WIC certified since you cannot buy organic produce using the WIC card still barring many residents from the benefit of having a Whole Foods in their city. So even though these businesses are great for the city’s image it is not improving the health of the residents in the city.