— one which ultimately makes Berkeley Bowl a store unlike any other. Our goal is to provide the widest selection of groceries to the widest variety of customers while always maintaining the lowest, most competitive prices possible. This means that when you visit Berkeley Bowl you are confronted with something you simply do not see anywhere else. Throughout our store you’ll find major name brands amid less known natural and organic ones, together with gourmet specialty labels and a few local ‘mom and pop’ brands mixed in for good measure. This type of selection applies not only to the variety of brands we carry, but also to the wide range of products we offer. That is, in addition to regular everyday groceries we carry many household items and basic provisions.
In our opinion a grocery store should serve many ends, but first and foremost it should serve the practical needs of its customers. Furthermore, it need not reflect only the interests of one type of customer but instead should reflect the diversity of its surrounding community and all of its customers.
While it may be fairly obvious that we do not follow certain conventions, it is worth pointing out at least one particular way that Berkeley Bowl is different from other supermarkets. Although we do receive a majority of our grocery inventory from major distributors,we at the same time deal extensively with smaller, independent vendors. This is something that many of the larger stores do not do. We work with these types of vendors for several different reasons. For one, many of these companies are owned and operated locally. Secondly it gives us greater flexibility both in terms of cost and the variety of products available. The larger distribution companies may be able to keep their costs down because of the overall volume they handle, but they must subsequently then be able to absorb a much wider margin of loss. Smaller vendors, on the other hand, regularly pass manufacturer’s discounts and other special deals directly on to us. This allows us to maintain the lowest prices possible and even lower sale prices whenever the opportunity arises. Local, independent vendors not only help keep our prices down, but make it easier for us to tailor our grocery selection to the precise wants and needs of our customers.We work with vendors specializing in all sorts of eccentric foods. Typically it is because of them that we are always introducing new items and, likewise, are able to quickly fill many of the more unusual customer requests. Our commitment to working with independent vendors underscores how one major difference in our approach reverberates throughout our store.
Our immense selection is something you really have to see to believe. But we would like to highlight a few points of interest. As mentioned above, we combine major name-brands with natural, organic, locally produced and specialty items. So, for instance, Campbell’s soup is joined by Health Valley’s full-line as well as broths from Pacific and Imagine. Cheerios, Fruit Loops and Grape Nuts share an aisle with Kashi, Envirokidz, and Barbara’s cereals. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is just a few shelves removed from Annie’s Homegrown Macaroni & Cheese. Bread from Oroweat and Wonder is delivered fresh daily as are the many varieties from Alvarado St. and Santa Cruz. Skippy peanut butter accompanies locals Food Mill and Living Tree and their full lines of nut butters. Knudsen’s vast assortment of juice peacefully coexists with Ocean Spray, V-8 and Snapple. In with the frozen foods, Stouffers and Lean Cuisine reside a few doors down from Garden Burgers, Bocca’s meat alternatives and frozen dinners from the likes of Gloria’s, Amy’s and Ethnic Gourmet. And the list goes on...
Overall, we feature a particularly strong selection of the better known natural and organic lines such as Muir Glen, Newman’s Own, Kettle Chips.We also have many gourmet items, again providing as much selection as possible. For example, we carry chocolate from both Scharffen Berger and Michel Cluizel.
Throughout our store you’ll also find a variety of terrific products under our own Berkeley Bowl label. The private label enables us to package certain products, the same quality as their brand-name counterparts, at a much lower cost. Our apple juice, tortilla chips and olive oils are among our most popular items. cut, and deli-style cheese can be found on our “Cheese Island,” directly across from our deli.
We realize many folks are caught off guard when shopping at Berkeley Bowl. For some there are too many items they don't recognize while others are bothered that certain common brands are conspicuously absent. When trying to strike a balance between polar opposites there are sure to be skeptics. But it really is our goal to maintain a positive balance for all of our patrons. If there is something you think we really should have let us know. Even when we can't give new products permanent homes right away we can sometimes make a special order just for you. Stop by customer service for details. Also, be sure to check out our Monthly Specials page and see all of our current deals. And once again thank you for shopping Berkeley Bowl.