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Required Reading

Berkeley-based food thinker Michael Pollan used his last book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” to examine how we Americans get our food. This time, he’s looking at the food itself. His latest book, “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” is hot off the presses at Penguin.

You might not think retailers — all food industry types, actually — need to read these types of deep-thought, meditative books, but they should. Not only are their customers reading it (purchased from their very own in-store book sections, perhaps?), they’re using Pollan’s logical, even-minded insights to reconsider how they eat. In turn, that influences how they shop.

Pollan’s philosophy is evident on the cover of his latest tome, when he writes: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Translated, it means buy authentic, simple foods, found in the perimeter departments, preferably produce. Great. No problem. That’s what many shoppers are trying to do already. What Pollan does here, in his own inimitable way, is reinforce that desire with a grounded, logical argument that appeared in earlier stories he did for The New York Times Magazine.

So far, it’s getting strong reviews, so it’ll likely do as well as Omnivore did when it was published in 2004. If Oprah even mentions it, however, watch out. Better get your copy now.