The Secret Life of Groceries: The Dark Miracle of the American Supermarket
by Benjamin Lorr
In the tradition of Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore's Dilemma, an extraordinary investigation into the human lives at the heart of the American grocery store
The miracle of the supermarket has never been more apparent. Like the doctors and nurses who care for the sick, suddenly the men and women who stock our shelves and operate our warehouses are understood as 'essential' workers, providing a quality of life we all too easily take for granted. But the sad truth is that the grocery industry has been failing these workers for decades.
In this page-turning expose, author Benjamin Lorr pulls back the curtain on the highly secretive grocery industry. Combining deep sourcing, immersive reporting, and sharp, often laugh-out-loud prose, Lorr leads a wild investigation, asking what does it take to run a supermarket? How does our food get on the shelves? And who suffers for our increasing demands for convenience and efficiency? In this journey:
- We learn the secrets of Trader Joe's success from Trader Joe himself
- Drive with truckers caught in a job they call "sharecropping on wheels"
- Break into industrial farms with activists to learn what it takes for a product to earn certification labels like "fair trade" and "free range"
- Follow entrepreneurs as they fight for shelf space, learning essential tips, tricks, and traps for any new food business
- Journey with migrants to examine shocking forced labor practices through their eyes
The product of five years of research and hundreds of interviews across every level of the business, The Secret Life of Groceries is essential reading for those who want to understand our food system--delivering powerful social commentary on the inherently American quest for more and compassionate insight into the lives that provide it.