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CNBC PRESENTS “SUPERMARKETS INC: INSIDE A $500 BILLION MONEY MACHINE”

Jennifer Dauble
Thursday, 13 Jan 2011 | 10:18 AM ET

CNBC ORIGINAL UNCOVERS JUST HOW MUCH THE SUPERMARKET INDUSTRY KNOWS ABOUT YOU…AND WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT THEM

One-Hour Documentary Reported by CNBC’s Tyler Mathisen Premieres on CNBC on Thursday, January 27th at 9PM ET/PT

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., January 13, 2011—The typical modern American supermarket stocks 48,000 items, each battling for precious shelf space. How do they get there? Why are they arranged the way they are? In the CNBC Original documentary, “Supermarkets Inc: Inside a $500 Billion Money Machine,” premiering on Thursday, January 27th at 9PM ET/PT, correspondent Tyler Mathisen goes inside the neighborhood supermarket and explores an industry that is using every device in its arsenal to learn as much as it can about you—watching, trailing and analyzing your shopping habits in ways you never imagined.

As a supermarket shopper, you are part of the largest and longest running psychological experiment in history. From the minute you enter the store, you are the target not only of old-fashioned salesmanship, but high-tech tools designed to track and entice you into buying more. Did you know that stores put milk at the end of the aisle so shoppers are forced to pass hundreds of other items on their way to get it -- or that the bakery and produce departments are often located near the entrance because they have the best aroma and are the most visually appealing? The competition is fierce and retailers are doing whatever they can to gain an edge in a cutthroat business built on razor-thin margins.

CNBC travels to Pittsburgh to go behind-the-scenes at a new upscale Giant Eagle Market District supermarket, three times the size of a typical grocery store. Mathisen speaks with the store manager and uncovers the stunning logistical ballet required to stock 65,000 products and run one American grocery store for one day.

With just 300 stores, Whole Foods may only be a fraction of the size and market share of some of its competitors, but its influence on the industry and its commercial success have been immense. CNBC goes inside this Austin-based company to show how its become the benchmark for the entire $500 billion supermarket industry – and follows the trail of salmon from the icy waters of Alaska to the Whole Foods fish department.

CNBC takes viewers to the frontlines: the supermarket shelves. The battle for space never ends, whether it’s an established brand of laundry detergent scrambling to keep its product appealing, or a start-up beverage maker fighting to squeeze in next to the Coca-Cola’s and Pepsi’s of the world. In every aisle of every supermarket, it’s the commercial equivalent of war—with the winner receiving a share of the 1.5 billion dollars Americans spend on groceries every day.

CNBC also profiles Cheryl Sommer, a passionate Santa Fe businesswoman running one of the few remaining independent, neighborhood grocery stores, struggling to survive in an industry crowded with huge supermarket chains and big box retailers like Wal-Mart.

For more information including slideshows and web extras log onto: supermarketsinc.cnbc.com.

Mitch Weitzner is the Senior Executive Producer of “Supermarkets Inc: Inside a $500 Billion Money Machine.” Wally Griffith is the Senior Producer. Liza Hughes and Bob Waldman are Producers. Ray Borelli is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Research, Scheduling and Long Form Programming.

CNBC’s “Supermarkets Inc: Inside a $500 Billion Money Machine” will re-air on Thursday, January 27th at 10PM ET/PT, Saturday, January 27th at 7PM ET and Sunday, January 30th at 10PM ET.

About CNBC:
CNBC is the recognized world leader in business news, providing real-time financial market coverage and business information to more than 340 million homes worldwide, including more than 95 million households in the United States and Canada. The network's Business Day programming (weekdays from 5:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. ET) is produced at CNBC's headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and also includes reports from CNBC news bureaus worldwide. Additionally, CNBC viewers can manage their individual investment portfolios and gain additional in-depth information from on-air reports by accessing http://www.cnbc.com.

Members of the media can receive more information about CNBC and its programming on the NBC Universal Media Village Web site at http://nbcumv.com/cnbc/.