The grocery industry has been set on its ear by the recent economic crisis, as shoppers seeking to wring more from their food budget abandon the upscale markets such as Fresh Market in favor of price-first merchants like Wal-Mart. Playing to the shifting buying habits is upscale grocer Wegmans, which has announced it will lower prices on hundreds of items.

Wegmans, with 72 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland, states that it will eat the cost of lowering prices on items on which is has locked-in contracts with its suppliers, the culprit in the delay between commodity price drops and the price on the shelf. The price cuts will be seen first in its house brands, over which it exercises more control.

Wegmans finishes near the top of Fortune Magazine's annual list of the 100 best companies to work for, and claims a "nearly telepathic level of customer service," a claim that brings many amusing possible scenarios to my mind, none of which I can share here. The company pledges that "Every Day You Get Our Best." It might want to add the word "Price" to that pledge, if it intends to lure back the WalMart shoppers.

Thanks, The Consumerist



Combatting the Rising Price of Food

    While most food outlets are raising their prices to combat rising food prices, Wegmans supermarket chain is actually lowering prices, trying to keep customers buying.

    Wegmans

    There is evidence that shoppers are willing to buy more if the price is right. Sales of deep freezers are up more than 7 percent from last year as shoppers nationwide are re-embracing the deep freezer, stashing bulk-sized purchases as they work to combat rising food prices.

    M. Spencer Green, AP

    New freezer models, like this Frost Free Chest Freezer by Electrolux, are making it easier for people to organize and use bulk purchases, which save them money when shopping for food.

    Electrolux

    Stand-alone freezers retail for between $399 and $799, and new ones are energy efficient. This model from Electrolux won four of the European Commission's five energy efficiency awards, known as Energy+.

    Electrolux


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