It is not true that you cannot find high quality ingredients and products in American supermarkets but it is true that you must pay for good quality and healthy foods here.
Organic and first quality produce is more and more in demand and you can easily find macrobiotic specialties, excellent bread, fresh meat, an endless variety of vegetables, and health food stores even whip up fresh meals every day that aren't half bad.
But health choices are increasingly costly, especially now with inflation skyrocketing and Americans still don’t have a food culture so many often eat huge amounts of highly processed food. There are so many obese people that those who are simply overweight seem normal.
Unfortunately not everyone can afford shopping at organic supermarkets and here in Texas many families shop at a widespread chain present in all American States which I prefer not to mention the name of.
This large chain has many branches all over Austin and everywhere in the States, it is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and most of its shops take up entire blocks.
I usually come to this chain to buy cleaning goods such as bathroom products or, at times, to buy last minute milk or candies but shopping here for food is tough…let me explain to you why.
These shops are the kingdom of junk food, quintessential junk food if you can call it so.
Some products are so weird and unbelievable for me that, just for fun, I have created a folder of pictures in my phone named ‘Junk Food’ and I am sending one or two pictures a month to my friends back in Italy to show them what America ‘may taste like’…
From my collection…
First of all, Americans are in love with pizza.
So much so that they have an entire aisle stocked with frozen pizzas but it’s hard to find a simple cheese pizza.
Reading the list of ingredients on the back of the package I am shocked: an endless list and not only when it comes to toppings.
I can confirm that most of the time the frozen pizzas are really bad, but the portions are huge and filling.
Pizzas with stuffed crusts, double and triple toppings, they drip fat and calories all over and most ingredients they sport are not natural ones.
Other than a small section for fruits and vegetables and a meat corner, everything in this chain is rigorously packed and canned.
There are cakes with an infinite shelf life next to cupcakes with fluorescent colors of all kinds.
Cereals for children also have fluorescent colors and I have seen also blue mayo, deep purple juice and even cookies with glitter!
Some syrups for pancakes are pure high fructose corn syrup and they are primarily bought for children.
Pasta is easy to find and pasta, whether it’s made in Italy or in the States, it is made of wheat so it’s ok but it’s hard to find a good sauce for it.
Most sauces have sugar has the first ingredient! Can you believe that?
A positive thing is that this big chain started trying to reduce food waste and leading the way in this matter. With a new line of produce renamed “I'm perfect”, fruits and vegetables with small dents, or unconventional shapes, found space again on the shelves in a country where produce for sale look all perfect and shiny.
The marketing move was part of a zero waste program which followed campaigns against food waste worldwide.