The answer lies in the curious economics of the full-service supermarket. For instance, the Gelson’s by me offers, among other amenities, a hot bar, a salad bar, a bakery, a gelateria, a full-service deli and an olive bar, because we live in L.A. so why not. But how can it afford to put out all of this food fresh every day?
It can’t. Neither can Ralphs. Even Whole Foods’ notoriously inflated prices don’t offset that level of production. Instead, much like hunters who strive to use every part of the animal, grocery stores attempt to sell every modicum of fresh food they stock. Produce past its prime is chopped up for the salad bar; meat that’s overdue for sale is cooked up and sold hot.