By David Mattson
The places that sell food in State College make a ruthless play for students’ money. Take a walk down College Avenue and there are a few stores that sell food, but only Mc Lanahans and the Krishnan Indian Grocery Store will sell a variety of fresh produce. Their offerings are usually limited and overpriced when compared with supermarkets which face competition. As is, they are the only brick and mortar stores within a walking distance acceptable to most students and can thus charge a premium. For those who own a car or are willing to ride the bus, the more reasonable Giant, Walmart, and Wegmans are in reach. These large retailers have almost every food item necessary for cooking the basics while keeping low costs due to their sizes. The amount in a supermarket may be a disadvantage to a student trying to keep a healthy diet as it’s far too easy to walk in and then proceed to empty the chips aisle into your cart. Instead, I would augment or even circumvent the supermarket with this two-pronged alternative.
Bears. Another disadvantage of the grocery store.
State College Farmer’s Market
The farmers market in State College provides fresh, locally grown produce at prices frequently lower than that of the supermarkets. The advantages of a farmers market are many. The farmers can make larger revenues by selling directly to consumers, the environmental cost of moving produce is cut by large amounts, and more money is kept within the local area. I would suggest picking up fruits, vegetables, and meat for the week at the market from one of the 21 vendors. Unfortunately, it’s only open on Tuesdays and Fridays in May-November. This means that you’re out of luck for the Spring semester and will have to shop at a supermarket for these things. While there’s nothing wrong with buying from a supermarket, if a farmer’s market is available, less expensive, and more convenient then it should be the first choice.
Tuesdays & Fridays 11:30am to 5:30pm
State College, PA 16823
May – November
There is also a Market on North Atherton which may be harder to get to for many students: The Market is open every Saturday at the Home Depot parking lot from 10am-2pm. May-November.
The Internet is hugely useful for the communication of millions of people with each other and as consumers, we can use it to our advantage as a place where direct competition happens in real time. What this means is that I can order a box of 36 Pop-Tarts for $6.53 and have it delivered for free within two business days instead of paying $10.47 and gas money to get the same thing at Giant.
The only light in the room is beaming into your face as you try to decide between cinnamon and strawberry Pop-Tarts. Shit just got real
Amazon gives students free two-day shipping on most of the items in its catalog via Amazon Prime and combined with the savings over supermarket prices, there isn’t much of a reason not to buy packaged food anywhere else. For more balanced choices, here are a selection:
(If you combine these with fruit, you’ll be sexy all day)
Lots of the Amazon choices can be put on a recurring schedule, so it will automatically reorder the item for you if you can’t be bothered with such things. If you get too trigger happy, you may want to start hiding from the UPS deliveryman/person. 4 packs of muesli and cases of noodles start to add up.