Here’s How Walmart and Trader Joe’s Are Killing Off an American Tradition

Fri, 13 Jun 2014 16:06:53 PDT

Every Friday morning for the past three years, Lori Peake and her friends have come to the deli in Dahl’s Foods in Ames, Iowa, to play bridge. The grocery store has welcomed their card playing, but last month, a local television reporter broke the news to the group: The store’s location, along with another Dahl’s in nearby Ankeny, will soon close.

The closure of Dahl’s is part of a larger trend: the decline of the traditional American supermarket. According to a recent study by Credit Suisse, the market share of standard grocery stores slipped from 30.7 percent in 2003 to 26.7 percent in 2013. Over the past 10 years, Americans have been taking their business elsewhere: mega discounters such as Walmart and Target.

The discount retailers, known for stocking canned goods alongside T-shirts and iPads, commanded 22.7 percent of the country’s retail food business in 2013. A decade ago, they only had 16.9 percent of the market. With a new scanner that lets a customer shop from the comfort of his or her own kitchen, Internet giant Amazon has become the traditional grocer’s latest competitor.

Massive corporations are not the only ones thriving. Quartz reports that high-quality chains such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have been taking small bites out of the food business as well, upping its share from 1.1 percent in 2003 to 2.8 percent last year. How about those who earn less? Low-income shoppers have driven the sales of “dollar stores” from 1.4 percent to 2.5 percent over the same span of time.

Last year Chicago saw the demise of Dominick’s, a beloved mid-price retailer that had been a staple in the city for nearly a century. Dahl’s Foods, which opened its first shop in 1931 in Des Moines, will continue to welcome customers at 11 other locations—but for how long remains to be seen. Let’s just hope that those who control the market can change the way we eat for the better

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Original article from TakePart