Sushi has been a staple in prepared foods sections of supermarkets since the early 1980s. This is also around the time prepared foods, or delis, became gourmet food departments in some supermarkets.
In the mid-80s, people were cooking less, and grocery stores were losing market share to gourmet and specialty stores.
Bernie Gelson of Gelson's Markets in California decided to confront this issue directly. His small chain of stores catered to upscale markets looking for ready-to-serve chef-prepared gourmet dishes. By 1984 the gourmet program was a huge success in all his stores.
Sushi was a logical step in the battle for prepared-food customers, and once again, Gelson's was among the first supermarkets to offer it by 1985. Sushi in supermarkets followed two and three years later by competitors Ralphs, Vons, and Bristol Farms.
Seeing sushi bars in supermarkets alongside pizza and other prepared food departments eventually became common across the nation.
DeCicco and Sons - Millwood, NY
Off The Wall has been a leader in imaginative supermarket-prepared food and sushi decor for over 40 years:
Rastelli's - Marlton, NJ
Key Foods - New York City, NY
Key Foods - Albertson, NY
Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace - Morris Plains, NJ
Gelson's - Calabasas, CA
Whole Foods - Paramus, NJ
Ahold Giant - Souderton, PA
DeCicco and Sons - Somers, NY
ShopRite - Bruckner, NJ