I was listening to NPR and was astounded at the solemn, breathless attention being paid to Marion Nestle. Among the other rubbish being propounded by Ms. Nestle, it seems milk winds up in the back of the store because of a corporate conspiracy. Be on guard and keep your precious bodily fluids pure!
I could tell Ms. Nestle, assuming her foil hat doesn't cover her ears, that based on my summer job at the non-profit base commissary, my conclusion is that milk and other high turnover perishables are in the back because they are closer to the loading dock and refrigerated storage rooms. In my case, I loaded the milk from the back of the shelves. The same efficiency goes into why the meats are sold in the back close to where the cutting goes on.
This is another example of how paranoia now passes for serious thought.
NPR : Nutritionist Tackles Serious Business of 'What to Eat': "Supermarkets dearly wish dearly wish they could expose you to every single item they carry, every time you shop. Terrific as that might be for your walking regimen, you are unlikely to endure having to trek through interminable aisles to find the few items you came in for -- and retailers know it. This conflict creates a serious dilemma for the stores. They have to figure out how to get you to walk up and down those aisles for as long as possible, but not so long that you get frustrated. To resolve the dilemma, the stores make some compromises -- but as few as possible. Overall, supermarket design follows fundamental rules, all of them based firmly on extensive research. -- Marion Nestle
* Place the highest-selling food departments in the parts of the store that get the greatest flow of traffic -- the periphery. Perishables -- meat, produce, dairy, and frozen foods -- generate the most sales, so put them against the back and side walls. "