By Khadijah Hussein
This summer, MAP youth employees had the opportunity to participate in an audit of local food stores with the UB Food Lab.
Hi, my name is Khadijah Hussein and I am a freshman at International Preparatory School # 198 at Grover. Today I’ll be writing a blog about my impressions and experiences during the summer of 2013 food store audit. Before I begin, I will simply explain what we did during the audit. During the audit, we went to different stores, wrote about what we saw, checked the prices for the products, whether there were healthy products or not, and much more. So, I guess basically we went to see different stores, wrote down the facts, and shared our opinions about them. The stores I audited were a convenience stores, 7-11, a grocery store, Aldis, and a big box store, Target. We went to different locations, Springville, Williamsville, and in this area, Buffalo. Some of our other co-workers went to different places but I can’t exactly remember where.
One very interesting store we audited was 7-11. We saw that in 7-11 there wasn’t so much of the food that we ware looking for to complete our project. We were looking for bread, and were supposed to find white and whole wheat bread. I think the whole wheat bread was missing. Frozen dinner meats were also missing, we only found beef. After the audit of 7-11, our group leader, Jordan, asked us our opinions, what we liked and didn’t like, and what was something new that we learned, that we didn’t know before. We all had an opinion about the freshness of the food. Each of us explained that the healthy food wasn’t as fresh as at other stores, and the most questionable things we each asked is why were most of the healthy foods missing, like whole wheat bread and frozen dinner meats.
In another conversation that took place after the audits, we all sat together as a program to share our experiences about the stores we each went to. One of our youth co-workers, Aweso, shared his story about the banana. Aweso said that one banana at Target was 70 cents. He shared that one fact because he thought that it was weird that when he went to another store, like Tops, that banana would cost up to 20 to 30 cents less than at Target, the big box store they went to. I personally think that, that banana shouldn’t cost that much money because basically it is just a small banana, and it also didn’t seem as fresh as the bananas at the other stores. I think it costs that much because first, to begin with, big box stores really aren’t for food. A big box store, like Target, is meant to shop for clothes, and when you get hungry and there is a banana for 70 cents there, Target probably knows that you won’t leave the store to go to another store just to buy a cheaper banana when there is already one there just for a couple cents more.
My overall thoughts about the audit was that it was a really interesting experience for myself and probably for the other people that I work with. I don’t think though that big box stores, like Wal-Mart, K-Mart, or Target, should sell bananas for that much money because it’s not fresh enough for it to cost that much, and my co-workers agree.