SAN FRANCISCO -- The Real Food Co. of San Francisco here is showcasing natural and organic groceries in a fourth new unit recently opened on Fillmore Street.
In a time when price clubs and megastores seem to be pushing small operators out of food retailing, this independent, which is known for its natural and specialty foods, plans to keep its neighborhood markets small. While Real Food has historically focused primarily on shelf-stable items, the new store has added more prepared foods as well.
"This place was a long time coming," said Jane Allen, co-owner of the company with her husband, Kimball. "We had our eyes on the location for a long time," she said of the 4,998-square-foot location with 20-foot ceilings.
The new unit has six grocery aisles that stock a wide range of packaged goods, such as baby food, diapers, pet food, soy milk, nut butters, popcorn, rice cakes, pretzels, beans, soups, teas and coffees. Endcaps are largely used to showcase what's on sale.
Pasta offerings include DeCecco, DeBoles and Annie's Organic Macaroni and Cheeses, to name a few. Natural and organic pasta sauce selections range from Enrico's, Classico, Sutter Home and Timpone's to Millina's, Muir Glen and Seeds of Change.
During SN's visit, Crown Prince smoked oysters were selling for $2.39 for 3 ounces. Anchovies were available in a variety of brands, such as Crown Prince at $2.90 for 2 ounces, and Angelo Parodi at $2.75 for 2 ounces. Dried sea vegetables from Eden were selling for $5.29, while pickled sushi ginger from Buderim was $3.89 for 9.1 ounces.
In the back of the store is an intimate room where customers can browse for dried bulk foods, such as beans and grains. Bottled waters and beverages are also found here, as is the meat and fish counter.
The frozens section includes five doors devoted to ice cream, along with an additional seven doors stocking a wide variety of products, from chicken patties and vegetarian burgers to pizza and dinners and entrees.
Specials are promoted through a circular, which reads more like a newsletter: For example, the current issue profiles sales items and offers coupons, as well as Tips for Winter Wellness, Nutrition Notes on battling germs and advice about how to buy bulk.