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Revival of Country Store : Supermarkets Displaying Healthful Foods

April 30, 1987

Responding to renewed interest in wholesome, healthful foods, supermarkets are reviving the displays of the old country store stocked with bins of staples and fresh foods, according to Cherry Bell, a registered dietitian with the Dairy Council of California.

Bell believes the abundance of nutrition research and information linking good nutrition to lowered risk for disease has sparked the trend toward more healthful eating.

"Even though diet is just one factor in diseases such as cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis, consumers are aware that diet is something they can control," Bell said. "Supermarkets are responding accordingly to consumer demands for fresh, more nutritious foods."

Markets stock bins full of staples such as dried beans, peas, nuts, whole-wheat flour and bran, much as the country store of days past. Alongside are today's popular pastas and an array of other complex carbohydrates recognized as important parts of a balanced diet, Bell said.

Produce departments have doubled and tripled in size as markets stock a greater variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Meat counters feature leaner cuts and more closely trimmed meats, whereas fish is stocked fresh daily and live seafood has taken up residence in saltwater tanks.

"Yogurt and low-fat milk are other good examples of reduced-fat products in high demand," Bell said. "Most women know that adequate calcium intake is important in reducing the risk for osteoporosis, so there is an increased demand for calcium-rich foods."

Many supermarkets now have their own bakeries and feature whole-grain breads and bran muffins. Delicatessen sections offer lower-fat items such as turkey pastrami and bologna and low-fat cheeses to meet consumer demands for foods that are lower in fat.

A tip for health-conscious shoppers: Nutrient-dense foods like dairy products, meats, dried beans and peas, eggs, fruits and vegetables and whole-grain breads and cereals are generally found in the outer aisles of the supermarket, whereas processed foods and foods that contain more fat or sodium than they do nutrients are more often found in the inner aisles.

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