Since this trip to Italy is actually a six-credit masters course, we do actually have some lectures and work, and we have to turn in a research paper in August. While we’re here, we’re expected to do “observational research” related to our project. Since I’m comparing urban supermarket layouts in Italy to those in New York, I’ve been spending a lot of time poking around food shops.

I love looking around grocery stores in the States, looking at where certain things are placed in the shop, looking at labels and considering how packaging might influence someone’s decision to buy a particular item.

A few afternoons ago, a few classmates who are also doing research related to markets and I spent some time taking notes and photos in a local COOP and Essalunga. The fish and the frozen foods sections particularly interested me. I noticed that there are a lot more pre-packaged whole fish—in the United States, it’s, like, “Shrimps don’t have heads, what are you talking about?”

I also noticed a marked absence of frozen dinners. There were tons of frozen vegetables and some frozen bread and pizzas but what really stuck with me was the plethora of frozen fish. They even had frozen octopus!

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