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A New Kind of Dollar Menu

A New Kind of Dollar Menu

article_produce.jpgFast food restaurants have laid claim to the dollar bill for years, enticing consumers with calorie-laden burgers, tacos, chicken strips and other gut-busters for a mere buck. With the economy in the tank, they’re pushing deals like this with extra panache.

So it’s good to see a supermarket retailer fight back with healthy, wholesome produce. Fresh & Easy, the small-format chain on the West Coast that seems to be hitting its stride, just introduced $0.98 (ok, so I rounded up) produce packs. Officials noticed an increase in the number of canned fruits and vegetables being sold in their stores, and saw an opportunity to boost fresh sales while also sending a strong message.

The program includes a selection of six seasonal offerings every day. Right now the specials include 2 pounds of yellow onions, a three count of apples, and 1 pound of Baja Classic tomatoes.

Considering the staggering imbalance of government subsidy payments in our food systems — where a cheeseburger receives much more of a financial leg up on its way to the table than does a head of broccoli — offering deals on produce is certainly fresh, but not so easy (sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

But pocketbook issues cannot erase the continuing need to promote healthy foods. Obesity and chronic disease rates are as high as they’ve ever been, and the recession has got people cutting corners. Unfortunately, their diet is often one of the first things that get chopped.