Benjamin LorrJan 1, 2024
The Secret Life of Groceries
The Dark Miracle of the American Supermarket
This episode of the New Books in Economic and Business History is an interview with New York writer Benjamin Lorr. Benjamin Lorr is the author of Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga, a book that explores the Bikram Yoga community and movement. His second book, The Secret Life of Groceries: The Dark Miracle of the American Supermarket (Penguin, 2020) is "an extraordinary investigation into the human lives at the heart of the American grocery store. The miracle of the supermarket has never been more apparent. Like the doctors and nurses who care for the sick, suddenly the men and women who stock our shelves and operate our warehouses are understood as ‘essential’ workers, providing a quality of life we all too easily take for granted. But the sad truth is that the grocery industry has been failing these workers for decades.
In this page-turning expose, author Benjamin Lorr pulls back the curtain on the highly secretive grocery industry. Combining deep sourcing, immersive reporting, and sharp, often laugh-out-loud prose, Lorr leads a wild investigation, asking what does it take to run a supermarket? How does our food get on the shelves? And who suffers for our increasing demands for convenience and efficiency? In this journey: